The magistrate of the Constitutional Court Juan Carlos Campo has decided to refrain from participating in the deliberation and resolution of two matters in which he may have a personal interest or in which he intervened as Minister of Justice —a position he held between January 2020 and July 2021— and that they are now pending a decision in the guarantee court.
These are the appeals presented by the PP against the decision of the president of Congress, Meritxell Batet, not to allow, in February 2022, that the popular deputy Alberto Casero correct his vote in favor of the labor reform, and the challenge of Vox on the "law of only yes is yes".
Campo is one of the four new Constitutional magistrates, all from the progressive sector, who are studying in which matters they could be reasonably challenged by the parties to anticipate this situation.
The abstention of the former head of Justice is the second that occurs since the renewal of the court.
Before the same decision was made by magistrate Laura Díez, former adviser to La Moncloa, who will not participate in the deliberations on the question of unconstitutionality raised by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) on the law and the decree-law of the Generalitat that have paralyzed the introduction of 25% Spanish in the classes of Catalan schools.
She, too, will not intervene in the PP's appeals against said regulations.
The Constitutional Court faces a first battery of challenges against its new progressive majority
Both Campo and Díez had already been challenged.
The first, by Vox, in parallel to the unconstitutionality appeal against the reform of the Criminal Code to suppress the crime of sedition and modify, lowering the penalties, that of embezzlement.
The second, at the request of the Assembly for Bilingual Education (AEB) and also by Vox, always in relation to the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia that ordered the use of Spanish in said percentage in the Catalan educational system.
Díez was vice-president of the Consell de Garantíes Estatutàries of the Generalitat and intervened in the reports in which this advisory body considered that the linguistic regulations applied to Catalan schools were fully constitutional,
The allegations of this political formation against the former Minister of Justice Juan Carlos Campo argue that he rejoined the National Court after his departure from the Government, and that in his performance as a magistrate of said judicial body he always refrained from intervening in the proceedings in which he appeared. Vox as part.
Therefore, the letter states that "the same reasons for the abstention carried out in the jurisdictional venue should be carried out before this Court, in the appeals raised by the 52 Members of the Vox parliamentary group."
This approach allows us to think that said party will reiterate its initiatives for recusal in various processes.
Another allegation by Vox is that Campo "cannot be considered impartial (...) due to his personal relationship as a couple with the President of the Congress of Deputies", Meritxell Batet.
The processing of the Vox challenges has corresponded to the magistrate of the conservative sector Ricardo Enríquez.
His work will consist of studying the grounds for each demand for the withdrawal of the challenged magistrate, and then making a proposal to the plenary session.
For now, the next plenary session is going to limit itself to deciding whether the abstentions of Díez and Campo are accepted or not.
The progressive magistrate María Luisa Segoviano has also been challenged for having stated in some statements that "the issue of self-determination will have to be seen."
Court sources affirm that a good part of Vox's allegations have little chance of prospering.
Another thing is that there are magistrates who have decided or decide in the future to abstain of their own free will.
The same sources emphasize that the abstentions of the new magistrates at the beginning of their function are normal.
The president of the Constitutional Court, Cándido Conde-Pumpido -also challenged by Vox for having been described in various media as "Moncloa's candidate"- has been refraining from matters that came from the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, of which he was a part before accessing the guarantee body.
And Judge Concepción Espejel applied the same criteria with those from the National Court, her previous destination, where she was president of the Criminal Chamber.