Claiming private rights because of an excellent constitutional legal: The fresh illustration of gays during the Costa Rica

Bruce Meters. Wilson, Claiming individual legal rights owing to a good constitutional courtroom: The exemplory case of gays into the Costa Rica, International Record of Constitutional Laws, Frequency 5, Matter 2, , Pages 242–257,


When you look at the 1989, a freshly written Constitutional Court (Sala IV) instantaneously became an incredibly active court, stop more 160 several years of Costa Rican official laziness. The latest magistrates’ procedures breathed new lease of life to your Constitution, concluded judicial deference to help you picked authorities, and therefore transformed Costa Rican governmental lifetime. Simultaneously, the Sala IV magistrates thought the fresh role away from guardians away from constitutional legal rights, giving increase about what can often be named a rights wave. The article sheds light with the sudden benefit of the forty-year-old Constitutional document as a consequence of a study of the fresh new institutional regulations and you can methods below that your brand new Courtroom works, also it examines the fresh accomplishments and failures of a single of the country’s extremely marginalized organizations during the trying to safeguards of its constitutional legal rights on the Court.


Inside 1999, Costa Ricans distinguished the Constitution’s fiftieth wedding. 1 The benefits of Constitution in these 50 years is continuously divided in to two distinctive line of episodes, pre and post the brand new 1989 production of good constitutional chamber away from the latest Supreme Court (Sala Constitucional or Sala IV). 2 Ahead of 1989, the new constitutionality from lawmakers’ tips is actually hardly challenged, and political figures sensed their “ability to legislate is actually natural,” allowing them to routinely forget constitutional constraints on their powers. step three Although not, the fresh detailed individual and you can societal liberties terms of one’s Structure have been hardly ever treated by the Supreme Legal. cuatro What out-of Sala IV magistrates keeps breathed new life with the Constitution and you may turned Costa Rican government, 5 as the Sala IV features routinely heard and you can favorably felt like private legal rights claims. It’s generally decided one, while the 1989, Costa Rica has received a judicial revolution- much more particularly, a good “rights” revolution-who may have encouraged people and you may communities away from nearly all market regarding society to show into the Court to possess redress. 6

While the magistrates of Finest Judge previously deferred for the preferred branches out-of regulators, they now behave as productive guardians of one’s Structure. Overall Sala IV magistrate, how to delete flirtymature account Eduardo Sancho, place it: “It’s important understand the latest Sala IV significantly less an institution designed to become at provider of your own professional department, but slightly the opposite: to safeguard the fresh new liberties of individuals.” seven Brand new magistrates enjoys daily and you may decisively governed within the instances of individual liberties states, seem to in favor of politically poor and you will socially ines Sala IV conclusion on cases filed from the several of the most weakly planned, politically and you may socially marginalized people in Costa Rican community. Just before doing so, they covers this new judicial organization structure before and after this new manufacturing from Sala IV to explain the new origins of your Court’s heightened judicial activism and you may, in particular, this new renewed benefit presumed by constitutional provisions just like the the fresh chamber was a student in procedure.

step 1. Away from official inactivity so you can official activism

Towards very first 160 numerous years of liberty, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court behaved like other almost every other Latin-american courts, running on the belief the procedures of the preferred branches regarding government were constitutional unless of course they were egregiously and you can however or even. 8 As with other countries in the area, Costa Rica’s constitutions incorporated costs of legal rights that were mainly overlooked and you can, more often, just “parchment traps, useless facing governmental fuel.” 9 For a long time there is certainly big dispute among branches off bodies regarding the official review. It wasn’t up to 1938 that the Best Courtroom depending its “official supremacy within the constitutional things.” 10 However,, such as most of the remainder of Latin The usa, new constitutional guarantees out-of private rights afforded little cover resistant to the caprices off governmental managers, particularly for marginalized some one. 11