Health pass and bioethics law: will the Constitutional Council spoil the government's summer?

POLITICS – The ax will come from the Sages of the rue de Montpensier. The Constitutional Council, seized by Jean Castex and several left-wing deputies, has planned to make its conclusions on the extension of the health pass next Thursday, August 5. Either the last thorny step for this contested tool, presented by Emmanuel Macron as the best weapon to stem the fourth epidemic wave of Covid-19.

In the meantime, the government is gradually going into “vacation” mode, but without being able to forget a health crisis which leaves no respite. Spokesman Gabriel Attal has already warned that “this truce will not really be one”. This Wednesday 28, at the end of the last Council of Ministers, he specified that the executive was awaiting the opinion of the constitutional judges to promulgate its eruptive text. Objective: application on Monday, August 9.

But between now and this crucial decision for the future of the health pass, the Wise Men will not be idle. They plan to vote on two other emblematic texts of the majority. What to finish plumbing the summer of the government, already constrained by the resurgence of the virus?

Bioethics and anti-terrorism law

The obstacle course begins this Thursday, July 29. The Constitutional Council must give its conclusions on the Bioethics law, which will open up access to assisted reproduction to all women. If the judges are not brought to rule on this new right as such, they were seized by several Republicans and the UDI on two controversial measures contained in the text and affecting research on embryos.

Next will be the law relating to the prevention of acts of terrorism and intelligence, Friday July 30. On this text, which brings into common law the emblematic but experimental provisions of the law “internal security and the fight against terrorism” (Silt) of 2017, the Wise Men were seized by Socialist senators. With the hope, for them, of seeing several of the often contested provisions, be censored, such as the perpetuation of the technique known as the algorithm: an automated processing of connection data and Internet browsing, thanks to the cooperation of suppliers access, in order to identify risk profiles.

Parliamentarians also target the Micas, individual measures of administrative control and surveillance. With the new government doctrine, they are likely to be extended to two cumulative years for certain inmates convicted of terrorism who have served their sentence. A provision that the institution of the rue de Montpensier had already challenged – in an admittedly different version – a year ago, in August 2020, deeming unconstitutional the essentials of a first anti-terrorist bill.

It passes or it breaks

In addition to these two texts, the most awaited opinion is therefore that on the extension of the health pass at a time when the mobilization of “anti” is not weakening. Preceded by Jean Castex, who himself seized the Wise Men about his famous new “law relating to the management of the health crisis”, the left oppositions in the National Assembly ask the judges to look into four articles in particular. The most important, those concerning the extension of the pass to daily activities, the extension of the state of health emergency or the compulsory isolation of positive people.

To sum up, they criticize, on the one hand, the conditions for examining the text in Parliament, deemed to be “extreme”, harming its “sincerity”. And on the other, “disproportionate attacks” on freedoms, with the restrictions on access to shopping centers, places to eat or long-distance travel in sight.

A political opposition, heard by the Wise Men on Thursday, which finds a certain echo in the street, but not only. Beyond the latest demonstrations against the health pass, which brought together more than 160,000 people in France (according to the authorities), a figure rising over a week, many lawyers or institutions express their concerns.

Several hot spots

The Defender of Rights is one of them. In a severe notice, published Tuesday, July 20, Claire Hédon highlights “ten alert points” and regrets “the extent of the infringements of fundamental rights and freedoms” by the text. She wonders in particular “on the choice to grant to public and private companies a form of police power, ensuring themselves the controls of the possession of a ‘health pass’ for people wishing to access their service” .

According to her, the restrictions on access to public transport as well as to goods and services are “likely to undermine the freedom to come and go and to hamper the daily life of many people, even though a large part of the population. young and / or precarious people have not yet had access to vaccination ”.

In detail, several key provisions could, according to specialists, raise the question of their “proportionality”, a key criterion in this case. The obligation of the pass in shopping centers, to go to the hospital (except in emergencies) or to have a drink on the terrace, will be particularly scrutinized. “The interference with the freedom to come and go and the privacy of unvaccinated people can be disproportionate to the health interest, since it is possible to walk in the street without wearing a mask” , underlines, for example, Annabelle Pena, professor of public law at the University of Toulon in L’Opinion, on the last point.

Not enough to start very calmly this August for the government. Especially since after this text, it is the one called “separatism” which will pass through the sieve of the Constitutional Council. As the political adage goes, the conclusions of the Sages, it always flies in a squadron.

See also on Le HuffPost: “The freedom where I owe nothing to anyone does not exist”, launches Macron after the protests

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