The Constitutional Court, one step away from the progressive majority, when the reform on its renewal is approved

The reform proposed by the PSOE to unlock the renewal of the Constitutional Court (TC) has been approved this Thursday in the Congress of Deputies. The Plenary has given the green light by 180 votes in favor, 146 against and 7 abstentions to the modification of the Organic Law of the Judiciary (LOPJ) to return to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) its ability to make appointments while in office , but only those corresponding to the TC in order to guarantee the renewal of the highest constitutional body within the deadline.

The procedure has had the support of United We Canwho initially rejected the initiative for not being agreed upon and considering it insufficient. ERC, PNV and EH-Bildu have also voted in favor, as well as other minority groups and allies of the Government. The PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have voted against. The PSOE has managed to carry out the consideration of the bill as the processing in a single reading and in this way it has been approved this Thursday without the need for it to go through a presentation or commission.

Thus it is reformed article 570 bis of the Organic Law 6/1985 (LOPJ): “The proposal for the appointment, by a three-fifths majority, of the two Magistrates of the Constitutional Court whose designation corresponds to the General Council of the Judiciary, which will have to be carried out within a maximum period of three months from the day following the expiration of the previous mandate”.

This reform highlights the need to guarantee the renewal of the Constitutional Court on time, as it is the highest constitutional body of the Spanish State. In this way, even if the CGPJ is in office and cannot, therefore, make appointments, it is guaranteed that it can make the two that correspond to it for the TC at the same time as the two magistrates that the Executive must appoint.

New majority of 7 to 5 for progressives

The 12 magistrates of the TC are renewed by thirds every nine years. On June 12, the mandate of Pedro González-Trevijano, current president of the TC, the president with the shortest history, since he was appointed in October 2021, ended. This, along with the curator Antonio Narvaezwere appointed by the Government of Mariano Rajoy and now they will have to be replaced by other magistrates appointed by the Executive of Pedro Sanchez.

The term of the vice president has also expired, the progressive Juan Antonio Xiolnamed along with the conservative Santiago Martínez-Varesin 2013 by the CGPJ.

The two new magistrates appointed by the Government, plus another progressive member chosen by the CGPJ, which normally appoints a conservative magistrate and another with a more progressive tendency, will manage to reverse the current conservative majority, passing to represent seven to five in the voting.

The CGPJ itself, in office since December 2018, has criticized the reform and in a text agreed upon in the Extraordinary Plenary Session two days ago, and considers a “contradiction” the fact that it is alluded to in the statement of reasons for the proposal of PSOE law that the purpose is to avoid the difficulties that the current text entails for the renewal of constitutional bodies when “The Court of Guarantees is as much a Constitutional Body as are the Courts and Tribunals, served by judges and magistrates who are members of the Judiciary”.

The text approved this Thursday will be sent to the Senate so that it can be carried out definitively next week. The reform sets a maximum term of three months for the CGPJ to appoint the new judges of the Constitutional Court. As the term began to count on June 12, the day on which the mandate of a third of the magistrates expired, the time limit ends on September 13.


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