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"The pro-independence leaders rose up against the national sovereignty that resides in the Spanish people by making an appeal to a fraction of the Catalan people, in a challenge to the unity of the nation, to decide the future of the common state". This is one of the sentences that the new president of the Constitutional Court, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, uttered on 23rd November, 2017, in the Congress of Deputies, a few weeks after the independence referendum of 1st October of that same year held in Catalonia. He has assumed the presidency of the Constitutional Court not only as a reward for this and other statements that at a certain point led to his recusal from the court in the appeals presented by the imprisoned leaders of the independence process convicted by the Supreme Court, and also by the president in exile, Carles Puigdemont.

But if it is good to know what newspaper records hold in order to confirm that nothing will change in the Constitutional Court and that the label of "progressive" that is awarded to Conde-Pumpido has a lot to do with the fact that he was chief public prosecutor during the two legislatures when José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero led the government. In Madrid, the labels of conservative and progressive are awarded like this: if you have worked with the Socialists (PSOE) you are a progressive and if you have worked with the People's Party (PP) you become a conservative. It is a formula to identify them used by the media, or a way to distinguish between them when labels are required because, in the end, they are all rather conservative on an ideological level. And the subject over which they are truly solid and seamless is the unity of Spain and the defence of the repressive path taken against the Catalan independence movement. Their positioning is the same over the monarchy: as satirical magazine El Jueves recalled a few hours after the election of the new court president, Pumpido was the prosecutor who ordered the seizure of the magazine in 2007 over a cover in which the then-prince and princess, Felipe and Letizia, were portrayed having sex. An insult to the crown, he said. Another question will be the position that the new court takes with respect to the expired one when it has to pronounce on the so-called "social laws" that are in its inbox - abortion, euthanasia, labour reform, among more than a dozen pieces of legislation - which are now much more likely to fall on the side of Socialist positions than those of the PP.

If there was any doubt about how Pumpido would approach the presidency, in his first words after being elected by six judges' votes to five, he wanted to make it clear that "the Constitution does not allow secession, independence or self-determination". Pumpido thus cut off at the root a much more ambiguous comment by another member of the court, a judge who has just joined the body, and who on January 3rd had declared that "The self-determination matter will have to be looked into. Issues are not always presented in the same way." María Luisa Segoviano opened herself to considering a path to the independence of Catalonia and already set off such a chain of reactions against it that she has been left speechless while also prompting the new president of the Constitutional Court to reaffirm the commitment to the unity of the Spanish nation in his very first statement as president of the body.

In short, another example of the politicization of everything that affects the Spanish courts, even if the Constitutional Court is not strictly speaking a court. No one will expect someone who has been chief public prosecutor for eight years under the Socialists to behave differently now, in another place. But since we have taken it for granted that it is the parties - those of the regime, of course - that make and break things as they see fit, little else needs to be said. Then come the tears and the discrediting in Europe. But while some might consider it as another issue altogether, it is in fact the real root of the problem: the politicization of justice and its eternal putrid odour.