Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The Spanish Constitution of 1978 had to deal with the issues that emerged with the advent of a democratic regime following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. Political pluralism, the relationship between church and state, and the official language of the Spanish state were among the dilemmas facing the Constitutional Commission. Yet the historically sensitive issue of the autonomy of the Spanish regions proved to be the most troublesome. Title VIII of the Constitution provides a political compromise in resolution of this issue although scholars and politicians, including some constitutional draftsmen, have criticized the ambiguity of this title.

This study focuses on article 149, paragraph 1, section 8 of the Spanish Constitution and the legislative powers granted therein to the autonomous regions in matters of civil law. Not only should it provide some insight into one of the most perplexing clauses of the founding document of post-Franco Spain, but, moreover, it should prove to be an enlightening case study of the interaction between politics and law in the uneasy relationship between Madrid and the present and aspiring autonomous regions of Spain.