Thursday, January 27

The Constitutional Court studies formulas to prevent challenges by the ‘procés’ from hindering its start

The constitutional Court (TC) newly renovated has already done public the agendas of what will be their first deliberations, scheduled for next week. However, the cascade of challenges presented against the magistrates appointed at the proposal of the PP, Enrique Arnaldo and Concepción Espejel, for its alleged “ideological bias” in the face of matters that have to do with the pro-independence ‘process’ in Catalonia, they can complicate your start. At the moment, the date or the method to address this issue has not been decided, although several scenarios are opened.

Sources of the guarantee body recognize The newspaper of Spain that the court presided over by Pedro González Trevijano It has not yet decided whether the challenges will be resolved in an extraordinary plenary session or will be included as an ‘addendum’ at an initial moment of its own Plenary session on December 15, a session that includes several resources related to the ‘procés’, although none of special relevance.

Both in the act for Constitution Day in the Congress of Deputies and in an interview this Tuesday on the ‘Cadena Ser’, García Trevijano has indicated that the TC will decide on the challenges “in due time and form”, and that regarding the first it will be decided “immediately”, without giving more details. The sources consulted assure that, in any case, that the TC will find the formula to avoid its paralysis.

Fraudulent challenges

This can go by rejecting ‘flat’ the challenges. The sources consulted indicate that it is necessary to assess whether the movements of the defenses have aiming to paralyze the Tribunehim, leaving him without a ‘quorum’ – the law requires that there are at least eight magistrates They decide on a matter. These types of challenges, such as those directed against all or most of the Tribunal, are considered fraudulent and, generally, they are inadmissible ‘ad limine’.

The processing of objections takes time, since an examining magistrate must be appointed and all parties are given a hearing, therefore another option would go through delay for the moment the points that may be affected to a subsequent plenary session, in early 2022, as the resolution of any of them is not urgent.

At the moment they have challenged Arnaldo and Espejel both those convicted of the ‘procés’ Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa as the expresident fled Carles Puigdemont and the three former counselors on trial who remain with him outside of Spain. Late last Friday they were joined by the expresident Quim Roast.

Can the president decide?

The challenges filed by the defense of Puigdemont, who exercises Gonzalo boye and also the one presented by Torra by the same lawyer not only affect the new conservative magistrates, but also the president himself to decide on one of the challenges, that of Arnaldo. This represents a further complication in the laberint that seems to have become the start of the new court.

This is how the appellants have included it in separate ‘otherí’ of their writings in which they expressly request, that González Trevijano leaves and thus avoid participating in the present recusal incident in relation to Arnaldo “for their close friendship”, which means that, according to this part, the president is “incurred in cause of abstention” provided for in the law to decide whether or not to set aside the new magistrate.

As proof, Boye points out, according to the writings to which he has had access El Periódico de España, the prologue that the current president of the Constitutional Court wrote for the book Constitution time. Limits, checks and balances of power, written by Arnaldo, and published this year by the Ramón Areces University Publishing House.

At least eight magistrates

Therefore, the danger that seems to loom over the organ is that of falta of ‘whose’ to resolve even for the challenges themselves. Right now there are two judges separated from the causes the procés, the conservative Antonio Narváez and Cándido Conde-Pumpido, belonging to the progressive wing of this body.

Both withdrew on their own initiative after being challenged by the independence leaders in relation to paths lectures both delivered in 2017, in full effervescence of the ‘procés’, and that according to the convicts showed a predisposition against him. Logic would point out that they could not decide on the challenges of their colleagues either.

If we add these two magistrates to the new challengers – if the latest challenges are admitted – there would be four sections to decide on the process, which places the TC at the limit of the ‘quorum’ indicated by law. The problem is that it has one more absence, the conservative Alfredo Montoya, on leave for several months due to a health problem.

In this way, if the requests of the lawyers of the leaders of the procés are successful, the court would find itself unable to decide on this matter today. Even to decide on challenges.

Business of the first plenary session

According to the agenda already made public officially by the TC, the plenary session on the 15th includes topics such as an appeal by deputies of Citizens in the Parliament of Catalonia against the decision of the Board of this body that claimed in September 2019 the amnesty of the independence leaders; as well as another of the PP against the fund approved by the Government for cover the bonds what the Court of Accounts to the damned.

Among the issues that could be affected by the challenges, and that it is not ruled out that they will finally be delayed to another session, is, in the section called ‘filing of records’, an appeal presented by the former vice president of the Generalitat of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras and others presented by the president of Ómnium Cutural Jordi Cuixart against decisions taken in their day against them by the Supreme Court.

There is also a petition by Puigdemont against several records of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court regarding his procedural situation and the European arrest and surrender orders and international.

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