Saying private legal rights courtesy a constitutional courtroom: New instance of gays in Costa Rica

Saying private legal rights courtesy a constitutional courtroom: New instance of gays in Costa Rica

* Member professor off governmental science, School out of Main Florida, and you will visitor specialist at Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway. This is a revised type of a newsprint showed on “Process of law plus the Marginalized: Relative Enjoy” working area in the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile, . Mcdougal would like to thank Juan Carlos Rodriguez Cordero, Roberto Gargarella, Siri Gloppen, Rachel Sieder, Kerstin Hamann, while the We•Fraud reviewers and you will editors. Email:


Bruce Yards. Wilson, Stating private rights by way of a great constitutional legal: The fresh illustration of gays inside Costa Rica, Around the globe Log regarding Constitutional Legislation, Volume 5, Matter dos, , Pages 242–257, Navbar Research Filter out Mobile Go into keywords Research Navbar Lookup Filter Get into key phrase Browse


Inside 1989, a recently composed Constitutional Court (Sala IV) immediately turned an extremely productive court, finish more than 160 many years of Costa Rican judicial laziness. The fresh magistrates’ procedures breathed new life into Structure, concluded judicial deference to help you picked authorities, and therefore transformed Costa Rican political life. Likewise, the brand new Sala IV magistrates assumed the latest character of guardians out-of constitutional legal rights, giving rise about what is usually called a liberties trend. This article sheds white on sudden significance of forty-year-dated Constitutional document owing to a study of the organization statutes and you may strategies less than that your brand new Legal works, and it also examines this new success and problems of 1 of your own nation’s most marginalized organizations into the trying coverage of their constitutional liberties throughout the Judge.


Inside 1999, Costa Ricans known the Constitution’s fiftieth anniversary. step one The brand new benefit of your Structure during these fifty age was daily put into a couple type of attacks, before and after this new 1989 creation of an excellent constitutional chamber off the new Best Judge (Sala Constitucional or Sala IV). 2 Prior to 1989, the newest constitutionality off lawmakers’ actions was hardly challenged, and you may people in politics noticed the “ability to legislate was pure,” letting them regularly ignore constitutional restrictions on the efforts. step 3 However, the new thorough individual and social rights terms of Constitution was indeed rarely treated of the Supreme Judge. 4 What regarding Sala IV magistrates features breathed new life to your Constitution and you will turned Costa Rican government, 5 since Sala IV keeps routinely heard and you will positively felt like individual legal rights says. It is commonly assented that, since 1989, Costa Rica has already established an official wave- much more specifically, good “rights” revolution-who may have encouraged individuals and you may groups off just about any business away from area to show towards Court to own redress. 6

Once the magistrates of the Ultimate Judge prior to now deferred into common twigs regarding authorities, they today work as productive guardians of the Constitution. In general Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, place it: “It is important to understand the new Sala IV significantly less an institution designed to become in the service of your own government branch, but slightly the reverse: to protect the newest rights of individuals.” 7 The magistrates has actually regularly and decisively ruled within the cases of private legal rights claims, seem to in favor of politically poor and socially ines Sala IV choices on the times recorded of the some of the most weakly arranged, politically and you may socially marginalized members of Costa Rican neighborhood. Prior to performing this, it discusses the fresh new judicial institutional construction both before and after the fresh new design Liban femmes sont chaudes away from Sala IV to spell it out this new roots of your Court’s increased official activism and you may, particularly, this new renewed benefits believed of the constitutional provisions once the the fresh new chamber was in operation.

step 1. Away from official inactivity in order to official activism

Towards the very first 160 many years of freedom, Costa Rica’s Supreme Legal behaved like many most other Latin-american courts, operating on the assumption that measures of one’s well-known branches regarding authorities was indeed constitutional unless these were egregiously and you may needless to say or even. 8 Like in rest of the area, Costa Rica’s constitutions incorporated expense off rights that have been mostly neglected and you will, more frequently, simply “parchment barriers, inadequate up against governmental power.” nine For many years there is certainly big dispute among branches of bodies regarding the official opinion. It was not until 1938 that the Supreme Legal situated their “official supremacy in constitutional issues.” ten But, as with the majority of with the rest of Latin The usa, the fresh constitutional pledges from private liberties provided absolutely nothing cover against the caprices out of governmental managers, particularly for marginalized people. 11