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Asunción de la Iglesia, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Navarra, Spain

An unprecedented crisis

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 10:48:36 +0000 Published in La Razón (Madrid)

It is difficult to find in the years of the 1978 Constitution a scenario of institutional erosion and crisis of legitimacy such as the current one. The Constitutional Court has not emerged unscathed from this general context, quite the contrary. And in this context the triple resignation should not be surprising, even if it is attenuated with the excuse of the expiration of the mandate.

I understand that far beyond the magistrates -on whom the generalization does injustice- the responsibility for this matter reaches many levels.

The crisis is very serious because the Constitutional Court is the finishing touch of our constitutional democracy. Its role is that of "guardian of the Constitution" against the legislator, it watches over the distribution of competences in a complex and open territorial model and, through the processes of amparo, it is responsible for the protection of the fundamental rights and liberties of the citizens. As such, it is an extraordinarily delicate part of the system, particularly when it has the last word on political decisions at the limits of the Constitution.

A considered judgment does not admit the demolition of its work over the years. The dogmatic construction and the pacifying effect of the sentences has been given in many cases. However, in others, the same cannot be said: controversy has preceded and followed some sentences, often encouraged by the very division of the Court. Today, recovering the prestige of the institution is a priority for our democratic system.