The progressive bloc of the Constitutional Court halted yesterday in extremis the attempt to suspend the vote that it had planned in the Congress of Deputies to move forward with the processing of some amendments presented by the PSOE to reform the system of election of the court itself and reduce crimes of sedition and embezzlement. They managed to get the president to postpone the plenary session to next Monday after presenting a request for adjournment in writing.
The eleven magistrates that make up the plenary session were urgently summoned by the president, Pedro González-Trevijano, the day before to study the very precautionary measures requested by the PP and in any case stop the planned vote in the Lower House. According to court sources consulted, the rapporteur for the matter, the conservative Enrique Arnaldo, was in favor of agreeing on the measures. The conservatives met first thing in the morning, set their criteria and were willing to go to plenary session and vote. With two hours of delay the meeting began, but it was there when the five progressive magistrates gave a coup de effect. They were not going to sit down to discuss or vote on the very precautionary measures requested by the PP. In his opinion, the matter was complex enough and with too many edges to take sides without prior debate. So they delivered a brief to the president asking for a postponement. And González-Trevijano conceded it.
Inside the court, what happened yesterday was experienced in the opposite way. The conservative sector believes that the progressives boycotted the plenary to allow voting in Congress. It is true that a part of the progressives see an "unprecedented barbarity" that can interfere in a parliamentary process, something that had not happened before.
The only thing the court technicians have found is a precedent for suspension, but not from a legislative procedure, but from parliamentary initiatives, which have a different range. Regarding the Catalan disconnection laws and the decisions that were adopted in 2017, the difference is that it was treated as an execution of a previous sentence since the court had already warned that any parliamentary initiative aimed at the right to self-determination was unconstitutional.
Progressives defend tooth and nail that a decision of this type cannot be taken lightly. It was not until Wednesday night that they received the documentation. To this is added the writings presented by PSOE, Unidas Podemos and Vox, and the challenges raised regarding the president and another magistrate, Antonio Narváez, since both must be replaced by those proposed by the Government and the reform processed could affect them.
Yesterday, reports from lawyers were requested, with different meanings. The crux of the matter is interference in the legislative process and the limits of constitutional jurisdiction. In 1985, the prior control of constitutionality in the legislative procedure was abolished due to the risk of undesirable interference. Progressive sources explain that with the very precautionary measures of the PP this is precisely what is intended.
However, it is necessary to analyze whether there is damage to the appellant, in this case to the PP, and if this is irreparable enough to have to agree on extremely precautionary measures, which means that the court intervenes without listening to any of the parties due to the urgency and the exceptionality it entails.
These types of measures are designed to prevent an act that, if executed, its consequences are irreparable.
Plenary resumes on Monday. The first thing that will have to be analyzed is whether the very precautionary measures continue to make sense once the vote has been held in Congress.
The other option is that the parties be notified so that they can take a position on possible precautionary measures. Another issue that the magistrates must address first of all is whether González-Trevijano and Narváez should be removed from the debate as the proposed reform affects them directly. Once this is resolved, the debate will be around the alleged damage that the parliamentary process entails for the PP and Vox and if this is of such a dimension that the resolution of the unconstitutionality appeal cannot be expected. In the event that the measures are estimated, yesterday's vote would be annulled from the admission of the amendment in the Justice Commission.