Constitutional interpretation represents one of the most basic powers of jurisdictional activity and is configured as the determination of the meaning of a normal or a rule of law with respect to a specific case, as well as the maintenance of legal certainty within the framework of the rule of law.
The interpretative activity encompasses many factors that must be taken into consideration by the operators of justice, in this sense, the interpretation must be carried out taking into consideration the meaning of the words themselves, the context in which such work is being carried out, as well as, if applicable, the historical context.
This type of interpretation is an activity exercised mainly by the Constitutional Courts, which are entrusted with the task of giving meaning to the norms. of a constitutional nature in order to protect and preserve the Constitution and its norms, as well as the fundamental rights of individuals, and the exercise of acts of control of constitutionality over the acts of the Public Power and, consequently, to safeguard the Rule of Law.
It is necessary to emphasize that the importance of constitutional interpretation stems from the preponderance of the Constitution in the domestic legal system, since it is considered as the primordial norm and hierarchically as the supreme norm.
For its part, it should be mentioned that the interpretation work in constitutional matters consists of multiple principles that serve as the basis for its development, among which the following are mentioned:
- Principle of the unity of the ConstitutionThe text must be understood as a unit, which implies that the interpretation of a provision must consider the rest.
- Principle of integrative effectivenessThe Constitution must also be seen as a driving force for the formation and maintenance of political unity, and therefore its reading must be directed towards finding solutions that reinforce that unity as a political norm.
- Principle of efficiency or effectivenessThe interpretation made must be aimed at optimizing and maximizing the effectiveness of the constitutional norms without impairing their content.
- Pro Principle–Homine: The interpretation must be in the development and benefit of the fundamental rights of individuals.
In Venezuela, constitutional interpretation, based on the provisions of Article 335 of the Constitution, corresponds to the Supreme Court of Justice as the highest and final interpreter of the Constitution, through various procedural means, such as constitutional protection, control of constitutionality, among others.
Regarding the appeal for constitutional interpretation, considered as an action carried out by the interested party with the purpose of clarifying doubts about the scope of the constitutional norms.
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, which is the competent judicial body by constitutional mandate and based on the powers developed in the Organic Law of the Supreme Court of Justice, to make interpretations on the scope of the constitutional norms and principles, which are also binding for the Chambers of the Supreme Court of Justice and other jurisdictional bodies.
Keys to the interpretation appeal in Venezuela
In this regard, Duque Corredor establishes that the constitutional interpretation recourse has certain limits on its nature as an action and on the effects of the decision.
Regarding its nature as an action or lawsuit:
- The plaintiff is required to provide a current and legitimate interest arising from a specific situation.
- Another aspect to be considered is the existence of any ambiguities, contradictions or doubts of constitutional norms in a specific situation.
- Demonstrate the need for the Constitutional Chamber's intervention.
Regarding the effects of the decision:
The decision on the appeal for constitutional interpretation must only be on the scope and content of a constitutional rule or principle. The binding nature applies only to the constitutional rule and principles interpreted.
Milangela Tachón Scopazzo, specialist in Constitutional Procedural Law.
- Duque Corredor R. 2008. Constitutional Law and Public Law Topics. Legis. Colombia.
- García de Enterría E. 2006. La Constitución como norma y el Tribunal Constitucional. Editorial Aranzadi. Spain