COVID-19 Lockdowns Unconstitutional, Spain’s Highest Court Rules

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that the country’s stay-at-home COVID-19 lockdown policy was unconstitutional.

The decision was highly contentious, as the 11 magistrate ruling was split six to five, according to The Associated Press. The ruling is in response to a lawsuit the right-wing Vox party filed against the government for imposing lockdowns that began March 14, 2020.

The lockdowns were implemented in the midst of a COVID-19 surge that left hospitals crowded. When the lockdowns went into effect, Spaniards could not go outside to exercise for six weeks, the AP noted. The government has since slowly repealed COVID-19 public health precautions.

While many of the public health provisions enacted by the government due to COVID-19 were upheld, the court decided that Spain’s lockdowns that kept people in their homes except for short trips for goods, commutes and other business activities were unconstitutional, the AP reported.

The ruling claimed that these lockdowns violated Spanish citizen’s basic rights, which means that a state of emergency declaration by the Spanish government did not justify the lockdowns, according to the AP. If the Spanish government had declared a state of exception, the six magistrates argued in their decision, then the lockdowns would have been permissible because a state of exception allows for the suspension of some basic rights. (RELATED: Running Without The Bulls? Hundreds Flock To Pamplona Streets Even After Centuries-Old Tradition Canceled)

The Constitutional Court reportedly did not make it clear whether or not this ruling will open up the government to new liabilities or lawsuits, the AP added. In total, more than 81,000 have died from COVID-19 in Spain, according to Worldometers.