Claiming private liberties compliment of a good constitutional court: The fresh new example of gays in the Costa Rica

Claiming private liberties compliment of a good constitutional court: The fresh new example of gays in the Costa Rica

Bruce M. Wilson, Stating private legal rights because of a great constitutional courtroom: The newest illustration of gays inside the Costa Rica, International Diary from Constitutional Legislation, Volume 5, Issue 2, , Profiles 242–257 ,


Into the 1989, a newly composed Constitutional Legal (Sala IV) immediately became a very active court, finish more than 160 numerous years of Costa Rican official inactivity. The new magistrates’ methods breathed new way life to your Constitution, concluded official deference in order to decided officials, and consequently turned Costa Rican governmental existence. On top of that, the newest Sala IV magistrates thought the fresh new role out of guardians away from constitutional liberties, giving rise from what is usually also known as a rights wave. The content sheds light into sudden value of the 40-year-dated Constitutional file owing to a study of brand new organization laws and regulations and you will actions under that the fresh Legal works, and it examines the fresh new success and you can downfalls of one of nation’s extremely marginalized teams in trying safety of the constitutional legal rights regarding the Courtroom.


Inside the 1999, Costa Ricans famous its Constitution’s fiftieth wedding. step one The fresh significance of your own Composition during these 50 age are on a regular basis divided in to a couple of collection of attacks, before and after the brand new 1989 creation of an effective constitutional chamber from new Finest Court (Sala Constitucional or Sala IV). 2 Ahead of 1989, this new constitutionality regarding lawmakers’ measures are hardly challenged, and you can political figures felt the “ability to legislate are pure,” allowing them to regularly ignore constitutional limits to their powers. 3 not, brand new comprehensive individual and you can public legal rights arrangements of your own Structure was rarely addressed by the Best Judge. 4 The actions off Sala IV magistrates features breathed new way life on Structure and you will transformed Costa Rican government, 5 since Sala IV possess consistently heard and you can absolutely decided individual liberties claims. It is commonly consented you to definitely, since the 1989, Costa Rica has already established a judicial revolution- way more specifically, a beneficial “rights” revolution-who has encouraged someone and you may organizations from virtually every business out of community to make towards Judge for redress. six

Since the magistrates of the Supreme Court before deferred for the common branches out-of government, they now work as energetic guardians of your own Composition. All together Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, place it: “It is necessary to learn brand new Sala IV not as an enthusiastic business created to become during the provider of the manager branch, but a bit the opposite: to protect new liberties men and women.” eight The magistrates possess on a regular basis and you can decisively ruled into the cases of personal liberties says, frequently in favor of politically weakened and you can socially ines Sala IV conclusion toward cases recorded of the some of the most weakly prepared, politically and you may socially marginalized people in Costa Rican community. Before doing so, they talks about the fresh judicial institutional framework before and after brand new development regarding Sala IV to spell it out the latest roots of Court’s heightened judicial activism and you may, particularly, this new restored relevance believed because of the constitutional arrangements because new chamber was at procedure.

step 1. From judicial inactivity so you’re able to judicial activism

On basic 160 several years of independence, Costa Rica’s Best Courtroom behaved like other almost every other Latin american process of law, operating on the belief your steps of well-known branches from government have been constitutional except if they were egregiously and obviously if not. 8 As with remaining portion of the area, Costa Rica’s constitutions integrated costs off liberties that have been mainly neglected and you will, more often, merely “parchment traps, ineffective against governmental strength.” 9 For a long time there is certainly big disagreement among the many branches from bodies regarding the judicial review. It was not up until 1938 the Ultimate Legal mainly based its “official supremacy in constitutional matters.” 10 However,, as in much of the remainder of Latin The usa, the latest constitutional promises from individual liberties afforded nothing safety up against the caprices of governmental executives, specifically for marginalized people. 11