Claiming individual liberties courtesy a great constitutional courtroom: The fresh new example of gays within the Costa Rica

Claiming individual liberties courtesy a great constitutional courtroom: The fresh new example of gays within the Costa Rica

Bruce M. Wilson, Saying private legal rights courtesy a great constitutional legal: The new exemplory instance of gays during the Costa Rica, Internationally Diary off Constitutional Law, Regularity 5, Matter 2, , Pages 242–257,


In 1989, a recently written Constitutional Judge (Sala IV) immediately turned an incredibly productive courtroom, conclude more than 160 several years of Costa Rican official inactivity. The latest magistrates’ actions breathed new life for the Constitution, concluded official deference so you’re able to opted for officials, and consequently switched Costa Rican political life. On top of that, the fresh new Sala IV magistrates believed the fresh new character from guardians of constitutional legal rights, providing rise as to what often is referred to as a legal rights revolution. The article sheds light toward sudden importance of your own 40-year-old Constitutional file as a result of a study of new organization rules and you may methods under that your brand new Legal works, therefore explores new accomplishments and downfalls of 1 of the state’s really marginalized groups during the trying to coverage of their constitutional liberties on Court.


In the 1999, Costa Ricans known their Constitution’s fiftieth anniversary. 1 The advantages of your own Structure on these fifty decades try frequently split into a couple of type of episodes, pre and post the brand new 1989 creation of a beneficial constitutional chamber of the fresh Finest Courtroom (Sala Constitucional or Sala IV). dos Ahead of 1989, the brand new constitutionality out of lawmakers’ methods try hardly challenged, and you will political figures considered the “capability to legislate is pure,” letting them regularly forget about constitutional limits on the efforts. step three Although not, the new thorough personal and personal rights terms of Constitution was seldom handled of the Finest Legal. 4 The actions of Sala IV magistrates possess breathed new way life to the Constitution and you can turned Costa Rican government, 5 just like the Sala IV features consistently heard and favorably felt like private legal rights says. It’s commonly consented you to, due to the fact 1989, Costa Rica has experienced an official revolution- way more especially, an effective “rights” revolution-who has encouraged some one and you may communities out of virtually every field out of neighborhood to show on Legal to have redress. six

Because magistrates of Supreme Judge in the past deferred towards well-known branches away from authorities, they now act as effective guardians of the Composition. In general Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, put it: “It is important understand the fresh new Sala IV a lot less an enthusiastic facilities intended to be in the services of the manager part, but quite the opposite: to safeguard this new liberties of people.” eight The newest magistrates possess on a regular basis and you will decisively ruled inside cases of personal liberties states, apparently in favor of politically poor and you may socially ines Sala IV choices towards instances submitted by several of the most weakly planned, politically and you can socially marginalized members of Costa Rican people. Just before doing this, it discusses the fresh judicial organization construction before and after this new manufacturing from Sala IV to describe new roots of your own Court’s heightened judicial activism and you may, specifically, the revived significance believed from the constitutional terms since the the newest chamber was in operation.

1. Out of official inactivity so you’re able to judicial activism

To your first 160 several years of independence, Costa Rica’s Supreme Courtroom behaved like other almost every other Latin-american courts, running on the belief the steps of your own prominent branches from government was indeed constitutional unless of course they were egregiously and of course if not. 8 Such as remaining area, Costa Rica’s constitutions integrated expense of legal rights that have been largely ignored and, more frequently, just “parchment traps, useless facing political energy.” 9 For decades there was big dispute one of many branches away from government regarding the judicial comment. It wasn’t up until 1938 that Best Court created the “judicial supremacy from inside the constitutional issues.” 10 But, as in most of with the rest of Latin America, the fresh new constitutional promises regarding personal legal rights afforded absolutely nothing protection from the caprices off political executives, particularly for marginalized anybody. eleven