Two different chambers of Spain's Supreme Court, the Penal and the Contentious, have a decision each this Thursday on two highly important questions: Oriol Junqueras' immunity as an MEP as granted him by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the suspension of the removal from office of Quim Torra as a delegate of the Catalan Parliament, if not as president. In both cases, the decisions should come down on the side of the Catalan politicians' defence. In the first matter, it's a textbook topic that the rulings of the European court have to be complied with and, in the issue of the president, there's been an usurpation of functions by the Central Electoral Commission, as reflected well by the six members who presented a dissenting vote against the seven who moved forward with Torra's banning from office.
However hard it may be for the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court and its president, Manuel Marchena, the CJEU's decision leaves them no leeway and Junqueras should be able to be present in the European Parliament's plenary session next Monday in Strasbourg alongside fellow MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín. It's obvious it's an enormously hard pill to swallow for Marchena and the rest of the court that sentenced Junqueras to 13 years in prison since the slap in the face for the Spanish justice system is significant. This circumstance, and the fact that depending on how the different legal statements develop the whole trial and sentence of the Catalan independence movement could be annulled, is leading legal journalists to think that the Supreme Court won't pay any attention and will find some formula to prevent Junqueras' release.
If that ends up being the decision, it will be a new error and an opportunity to put things right. Because the next step will be for the European Parliament to address the CJEU, indicating that the Supreme Court's contempt decision alters the composition of the chamber: this will take the conflict up a notch and could end up with warnings to the Supreme Court or the Spanish government itself. Marchena's got a stone in his shoe and the sooner he gets it out, the better.
In the case of president Torra, the Contentious Chamber will tackle the topic for the first time after the bewilderment caused by the Central Electoral Commission's resolution. The logical thing would be for the Commission's ruling to be suspended and many legal scholars indicate that will happen. In any case, the dejudicialisation of politics will be a slow path since it's been used over the last few years to solve the Catalan conflict. One cannot be too optimistic since the new coalition government between PSOE and Podemos, with the backing of Esquerra, PNV and EH Bildu, won't have an easy time penetrating into an area in which the right has for many years fiercely held onto the best positions to make sure it changes as little as possible. In other words, not at all.