February 26, 2021

Members opposed to the reform that will limit the Judicial Power propose taking it to the Constitutional


The sector of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) contrary to the reform that will limit its functions when, as now, the mandate has expired, it assumes that it already has little room to paralyze this initiative and proposes, in any case, to take it to the Constitutional Court once approved, which is expected for next March. This Tuesday the Bureau of Congress rejected a second time give a hearing to the governing body of the judges on this reform and He asked for “respect” for his resolutions.

The Judicial Power accuses PSOE and United We Can of breaking the

The Judicial Power accuses PSOE and United We Can of breaking the “separation of powers” by expressly taking away powers

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After this new refusal – which they describe as “tricky” and “poor in arguments” -, critical members acknowledge that they can no longer propose new initiatives to revoke the emergency procedure and that they are given a voice before approving the reform and hope that they will move file legal parties and associations. They do open the door to, when approved, file a conflict of powers before the court of guarantees, understanding that the Congress of Deputies would have invaded their powers in the matter of appointments. According to the Organic Law of the Constitutional Court, the CGPJ can make use of this procedure if it considers that the Government, Congress or Senate have adopted “decisions assuming powers that the Constitution or organic laws confer” on the governing body of judges.

The proposal of PSOE and United We Can – which supports the reinforced majority of the investiture – intend to restrict the ability of the CGPJ to appoint judges with expired terms, as this body has been doing for more than two years. There are already 68 since December 2018, when his term expired. The last ones, last week and some more are planned for the February plenary session. Two of them in the Supreme Court, where appointments are up to the maximum retirement age, set at 72 years.

European bodies

The Professional Association of the Magistracy (APM), majority in the career and conservative, asked Congress to formally notify it of the Board’s agreement by which it denied for the first time to give a hearing on the reform to the associations, the CGPJ and the Venice Commission – the advisory body of the Council of Europe in charge of ensuring respect for the rule of law in judicial reforms – to “be able to exercise” the appropriate actions. This group of judges defends that the reform projected by the Government partners goes in the “opposite direction” to the sense set by the European Union in matters of judicial independence and “undermines the foundations of the rule of law” and is considering going to the European authorities .

The Popular Party is also debating this possibility. This Tuesday, the parliamentary spokesperson for the Conservatives, Cuca Gamarra, affirmed that the way in which this reform is being processed generates a “deterioration of the democratic quality that may have consequences” in the European Union because “European policy is marked by the respect for the separation of powers “.

The decision of the Board of Congress represented a new clash between both powers of the State. The governing body of the Chamber reminded the CGPJ that only its members – deputies or parliamentary groups – have the capacity to request the reconsideration of their decisions and asked for “respect” for their resolutions. It was the response to a harsh statement in which 16 of the 21 members of the CGPJ – the eleven conservatives and four progressives plus the president, Carlos Lesmes – had accused the PSOE and United We Can of breaking the “separation of powers” for taking away powers of form express and asked Congress to reconsider the procedure through the emergency route and without hearing this reform.

The parliamentary initiative of the Government partners has also split the CGPJ in two. The five members who disagreed with the decision to ask the Board to reconsider its decision signed a private vote in which they accused the majority of the CGPJ of align with the PP and violate the separation of powers. In his view, the body exceeded its powers with an agreement that involves “a gratuitous, unfounded and improper confrontation in constitutional terms.” The text, written by Álvaro Cuesta, was joined by Clara Martínez de Careaga, Pilar Sepúlveda, Rafael Mozo and Concepción Sáez. They all belong to the progressive sector of the institution.

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