The Constitutional Court overturns the confinement of the first state of alarm at the request of Vox

The confinement of the population decreed by Pedro Sánchez in March 2020 was adopted outside the Constitution. That is the fundamental conclusion of the sentence adopted this Tuesday by the Constitutional Court, in response to the request of Vox that sought a total censorship of the main tool applied by the Government of Pedro Sánchez for the control of the pandemic in Spain.

The estimate of the Vox resource is partial and does not affect the limits that the Government imposed on wakes and funeral ceremonies to limit the spread of the virus during the first wave of the same or other measures. The unconstitutionality that marks the resolution refers specifically to the decision adopted by the Government that forced citizens to confine themselves to their homes.

The magistrate Pedro González Trevijano has succeeded in having his censorship proposal partially and minimally imposed in a court divided six against five. Trevijano took over from Fernando Valdés, who resigned from his post after being prosecuted for an alleged crime of mistreatment. While the first presentation proposed to endorse the constitutionality of the measure, the second says the opposite. The ruling clarifies that by itself it does not open the possibility of patrimonial claims against the state due to the effects derived from the state of alarm, but court sources consulted by assure that the consequences of the decision for the Government are, as of today , impossible to foresee.

The decision has been adopted by a divided court and it has taken two long meetings to find an agreement that has not been produced. The vote of the magistrate Encarnación Roca has been the one that has tipped the balance towards the claims of the conservative sector of the court that sought to censor the constitutionality of the mechanism applied by Pedro Sánchez to control the advance of the virus.

The Constitutional Court relies on a technical argument to overturn the legal roadmap that allowed the Government to limit rights and freedoms with the intention of controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The speaker concludes that the figure of the state of alarm was not applied correctly and that the executive should have opted for the declaration of the state of emergency. Be that as it may, the Constitutional Court concludes that the confinement adopted at the worst moment of the virus’s expansion was applied outside the law. The decision also represents the first major victory for Vox in the Constitutional Court.

The legal debate that has resulted in the victory of Vox concludes that the Government should have promoted the state of exception, another measure regulated by the Constitution but whose activation mechanism differs from the roadmap chosen by the Government. While the state of alarm is decreed by the executive and subsequently extended as long as Parliament deems it, the emergency state requires that its first activation be voted on in the chamber. The progressive sector of the Constitutional Court has unsuccessfully defended that the state of exception would not have served to fight the pandemic, among other things because its maximum duration is 30 days without the possibility of extension.

Five private vows

Against the decision finally adopted, five individual votes have been announced. One of them will be signed by the president of the Constitutional Court, Juan José González Rivas. The rest will bear the signatures of progressive magistrates Juan Antonio Xiol, María Luisa Balaguer, Andrés Ollero and Cándido Conde Pumpido.


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