The Italian constitutional Court


This brief publication originates from the need to “dispel the mystery” and “bring closer” to the citizens a fundamental institution of the system of protections established in the Italian Constitution, as explained by President Cesare Ruperto in his Presentation to the first edition, released in 2002.
The publication of a communications tool that allows the Constitutional Court to make itself known also to a non-legal audience and to the general public was a fruitful idea. This slim booklet, written by Valerio Onida and over time enriched with contributions by several others, has been the fertile seed of a tree that, in the meantime, has grown and borne ever more fruit.
Several years have passed since the first edition and the Constitutional Court’s public communication efforts have evolved greatly, also thanks to the potential offered by new technologies. The attention paid by the media to the Court’s work has become more assiduous and incisive, the sign that there is widespread knowledge of the impact of the institution’s decisions in social and individual lives.
In recent years, the Court has opened its Palazzo, receiving ever more numerous groups of students and citizens of all ages, to sit in public hearings, to meet the judges, or even simply to visit the seat of constitutional justice. However, most importantly, the Court has left the building, to know and to let itself be known directly by citizens, undertaking a “viaggio in Italia” (“Voyage through Italy”) for some years now and that is widely documented on the Court’s Internet website.
All these developments have not made any less current the original need to reach all citizens, and especially the younger generations, with material that is comprehensible and easy-to-read, but that at the same time can provide a faithful and exhaustive image of the Constitutional Court and its multiple activities. The experience gained over these years shows that narrating the work of the Constitutional Court also furthers knowledge of the Constitution itself and of the values it lays at the foundation of civil co-habitation. The meaning of the Constitution is spread, and awareness of it is revived. This task, which is a collective task that engages the entire Republic – citizens, social groups and all institutions – cannot avoid calling upon, first and foremost, the Constitutional Court, because constitutional values are not simply transmitted inertly from one generation to the next, but, rather, live and die in the living history of the society that appropriates itself of them continuously, day after day.