The Spanish Constitutional Crisis

Today I have a blog post out at Verfassungsblog on ‘The Spanish Constitutional Crisis: Law, Legitimacy and Popular Sovereignty in Question’. In it, I try to disentangle the current debate on how to approach the Catalan quest for independence. In particular I question the frequent turn to Spanish constitutional law as the yardstick for assessing questions around the independence referendum on 1 October. The Spanish constitutional order is only one of different legal orders at play in the conflict, and it also faces serious legitimacy challenges, due to its history and its lack of responsiveness to democratic claims from regions and minorities within Spain. Instead of merely insisting on constitutionality, we need to demand a politics of recognition in which the different parties conduct a meaningful dialogue on their future relation. If the Spanish government keeps refusing to enter such a dialogue, it will lose its claim that Catalans should channel their grievances inside the Spanish constitutional order – and a declaration of independence would appear increasingly justified.