Claiming personal rights thanks to good constitutional court: New example of gays within the Costa Rica

Claiming personal rights thanks to good constitutional court: New example of gays within the Costa Rica

Bruce Yards. Wilson, Claiming personal liberties using an effective constitutional judge: The brand new illustration of gays when you look at the Costa Rica, Around the world Log out-of Constitutional Law, Frequency 5, Issue 2, , Pages 242–257,


During the 1989, a freshly created Constitutional Judge (Sala IV) quickly turned an incredibly productive court, ending more than 160 years of Costa Rican judicial inactivity. The fresh new magistrates’ methods breathed new life for the Structure, ended judicial deference so you’re able to decided on authorities, and consequently transformed Costa Rican political lives. At the same time, the brand new Sala IV magistrates presumed the role off guardians of constitutional rights, providing go up as to the is usually known as a rights revolution. This article sheds light for the abrupt benefits of one’s forty-year-dated Constitutional file using a study of the latest institutional rules and you will steps under which the the latest Legal operates, also it examines the latest accomplishments and you can problems of one of nation’s extremely marginalized organizations inside seeking cover of its constitutional liberties in the Courtroom.


Inside 1999, Costa Ricans distinguished the Constitution’s fiftieth wedding. step 1 Brand new importance of your own Structure during these 50 ages try continuously split up into a few line of attacks, before and after the fresh new 1989 creation of an effective constitutional chamber away from the latest Ultimate Courtroom (Sala Constitucional or Sala IV). 2 Ahead of 1989, the brand new constitutionality from lawmakers’ steps are rarely confronted, and you can political figures felt their “ability to legislate is absolute,” allowing them to regularly disregard constitutional limits to their powers. step three Yet not, the brand new detailed personal and personal liberties provisions of one’s Constitution was in fact hardly ever handled by the Supreme Court. 4 What off Sala IV magistrates provides breathed new life toward Composition and transformed Costa Rican politics, 5 because the Sala IV have consistently read and you can absolutely decided personal rights says. It is generally assented you to, just like the 1989, Costa Rica has had a judicial revolution- significantly more specifically, good “rights” revolution-having recommended anybody and communities from just about any market off community to show on the Courtroom to own redress. 6

While the magistrates of one’s Best Courtroom before deferred into the prominent branches out of regulators, it today become active guardians of one’s Structure. As a whole Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, place it: “It’s important to learn new Sala IV less an institution created to feel at provider of your government part, however, slightly the opposite: to guard the brand new liberties men and women.” seven The fresh magistrates keeps on a regular basis and you will decisively governed from inside the cases of personal legal rights states, appear to in support of politically poor and socially ines Sala IV decisions towards circumstances submitted by the some of the most weakly arranged, politically and you may socially marginalized members of Costa Rican area. Just before doing so, they talks about new judicial institutional design pre and post the latest design regarding Sala IV to spell it out new sources of the Court’s heightened official activism and you will, in particular, new renewed value presumed from the constitutional provisions just like the new chamber was at procedure.

1. Off judicial inactivity so you’re able to judicial activism

To the earliest 160 many years of freedom, Costa Rica’s Ultimate Judge behaved like internet other most other Latin american courts, operating on the belief that strategies of your own well-known twigs from bodies was constitutional until they were egregiously and you may however or even. 8 As with remainder of the region, Costa Rica’s constitutions provided debts away from rights that have been mostly ignored and, more frequently, just “parchment barriers, ineffective up against political power.” 9 For decades there can be significant dispute among the many twigs from authorities concerning official remark. It was not up until 1938 your Finest Legal situated the “judicial supremacy in constitutional things.” 10 However,, as in a lot of with the rest of Latin The united states, the newest constitutional promises regarding personal liberties provided absolutely nothing shelter contrary to the caprices from governmental executives, specifically for marginalized anybody. eleven