The Spanish Constitutional Court has ruled that the lockdown was illegal, or better said that the State of Alarm should not have been used for it.
This has come about because the far-right party, Vox, decided to question the Government’s decision before the Constitutional Court, even though – and this is worth mentioning – they and every other party voted in favor of it back in March when the Lockdown was imposed.
To explain the Spanish judicial system, Spain has two top law courts; ie, courts whose decisions are final and against which no appeal can be lodged – they are the ‘end of the line’ in law suits.
The Supreme court and the Constitutional Court are equal in judicial hierachy but differ in that the Constitutional Court has no legal ladder below it, as the Supreme Court does; ie, First Instance, Court of Appelation and regional Supreme courts. The Tribunal Constitucional only and exclusively deals with cases where a citizen’s constitutional rights have been affected.
The Constitutional Court has been trying to deliver a sentence on this for months and even now the judges were split down the middle.
Now, if the Government is guilty of transgressing the Constitutional Rights of Spanish citizens then every party that voted in favor shares, equally, that guilt… including Vox.
The voting went like this: five judges, two conservative and three progressive voted that the lockdown was constitutional. Amongst those five was the vote of the Head Judge, Juan José González Rivas. Five judges, all conservatives, voted that it was not. This meant that it was a draw so the Deputy Head Judge cast her vote in favor of the anti-constitutional verdict.
The repercussions are enormous, truly so. For instance, the 1.2m fines issued during thos 98 days for breaking the curfew, etc are null and void. So, does the State have to give the money back? In fact, there could be a veritable deluge of legal suits against the Government.
Those that haven’t paid the ends yet, will not have to pay them, that is for certain, but those who paid… therein lies the question.
The Constitutional Court has only issued a summary of their multi-page court sentence, so we do not know what is included in the full document – it could include a clause that would not allow individuals to sue the State.
What the Government should have used, considers their Lordships, is a Exception status and not an State of alarm.
One thing is very clear; the Spanish Government cannot order another lockdown using an State of alarm if things get out of hand with the Delta Variant or any other variant that is waiting in the wings.
Editorial Comment: thanks a lot VOX! And where the hell are the eye-rolling emoticons when you need them? Furthermore, Do the maths there and you will see that much like the Spanish Supreme Court, the Constitutional one is dominated by conservative judges; ie three progressive and eight conservative.