Saying individual legal rights because of an excellent constitutional court: The latest instance of gays for the Costa Rica

Saying individual legal rights because of an excellent constitutional court: The latest instance of gays for the Costa Rica

Bruce Meters. Wilson, Claiming individual rights as a result of an excellent constitutional judge: The latest exemplory instance of gays in the Costa Rica, Around the globe Diary of Constitutional Rules, Volume 5, Question dos, , Profiles 242–257,


Within the 1989, a freshly created Constitutional Court (Sala IV) quickly turned a highly energetic court, finish over 160 years of Costa Rican official inactivity. The fresh new magistrates’ actions breathed new lease of life into Constitution, finished judicial deference so you’re able to select authorities, and consequently switched Costa Rican governmental lifestyle. At exactly the same time, this new Sala IV magistrates believed brand new role from guardians away from constitutional legal rights, offering increase from what is commonly also known as a rights revolution. This article sheds light on the sudden importance of one’s 40-year-old Constitutional file as a consequence of a study of the newest organization regulations and actions significantly less than that the the fresh new Courtroom operates, and it explores the fresh success and disappointments of just one of your nation’s extremely marginalized organizations during the seeking to protection of their constitutional legal rights about Judge.


Inside the 1999, Costa Ricans known the Constitution’s fiftieth wedding. step one The new advantages of your Composition during these 50 decades try daily divided in to one or two distinctive line of periods, pre and post the brand new 1989 creation of an effective constitutional chamber off the fresh new Supreme Courtroom (Sala Constitucional otherwise Sala IV). 2 Just before 1989, the fresh constitutionality out-of lawmakers’ measures are rarely confronted, and you can politicians believed the “capability to legislate is natural,” letting them consistently disregard constitutional restrictions to their vitality. step three Although not, new detailed individual and you may personal legal rights provisions of the Structure were rarely treated from the Supreme Courtroom. 4 What regarding Sala IV magistrates keeps breathed new way life with the Composition and you can turned Costa Rican government, 5 since the Sala IV features consistently read and you may absolutely felt like personal rights states. It’s extensively agreed that, just like the 1989, Costa Rica has experienced an official revolution- way more specifically, a beneficial “rights” revolution-who has got encouraged individuals and organizations from nearly all market off neighborhood to show with the Judge to own redress. 6

Since magistrates of your own Best Legal in earlier times deferred to the common twigs out-of regulators, they today work as effective guardians of Constitution. Overall Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, place it: “It is important to learn the fresh Sala IV much less an institution created to getting at provider of exec part, however, slightly the opposite: to safeguard the rights men and women.” seven The magistrates enjoys daily and you may decisively governed in instances of private legal rights claims, appear to and only politically poor and you may socially ines Sala IV decisions toward times recorded by the a few of the most weakly arranged, politically and you will socially marginalized people in Costa Rican community. In advance of performing this, it discusses the brand new official institutional structure both before and after new creation out-of Sala IV to explain the fresh sources of your own Court’s increased official activism and you can, specifically, the latest renewed importance believed because of the constitutional arrangements as the the new chamber was in operation.

1. Of official inactivity in order to judicial activism

Into the basic 160 numerous years of versatility, Costa Rica’s Supreme Courtroom behaved like many almost every other Latin-american courts, running on the belief that the tips of your own well-known twigs off regulators was indeed constitutional until these were egregiously and you can naturally otherwise. 8 As in remainder of the area, Costa Rica’s constitutions integrated debts out of liberties which were mostly neglected and, more frequently, merely “parchment traps, ineffective against political power.” nine For a long time there clearly was big argument among the twigs away from authorities about the official remark. It wasn’t until 1938 the Best Judge established its “official supremacy from inside the constitutional matters.” ten But, as with much of with the rest of Latin The usa, the constitutional guarantees away from personal legal rights afforded nothing defense up against the caprices out of political professionals, specifically for marginalized people. 11