Council of State rejects Sgarbi's appeal: museums remain closed

No dice: the museums will remain closed. In fact, the Council of State rejected Sgarbi's appeal, objecting to the argument of public health protection.

The Council of State has ruled on the appeal of Vittorio Sgarbi, represented by lawyers Gino Giuliano and Carlo Rienzi and with an address for service at the headquarters of Codacons, on the closure of museums: after the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, in turn, had rejected the appeal of Sgarbi and Codacons, the well-known art critic and historian had decided to appeal to the highest level of administrative justice to make his case.

In fact, Sgarbi believed that the elements of reasonableness were lacking to establish the lockout of cultural venues, and the TAR had objected to an argument also discussed on these pages, in the interview with constitutionalist Enrico Grosso, namely the prevalence of the interest of public health. However, Rienzi had let it be known that there would be an appeal to the Council of State because, according to the plaintiffs, the state’s discretion should be “reasonable, limited and proportionate. In the face of 34 mega-bookstores open in Rome where there are crowds, the 21 Roman museums where few people would enter with strict measures are being kept absurdly closed.”

Extinguishing the hopes of Sgarbi, but also of all those who consider the indiscriminate closure of cultural venues excessive, came the third section of the Council of State, in decree number 07255/2020, published on December 17 and signed by President Roberto Garofoli. According to the Council of State, the dpcm that imposed the closure of museums is “an expression of a high degree of discretion because it is the result of a very delicate comparison of public interests that are all very important,” and “there does not emerge at the state the manifest unreasonableness of the Authority’s decision to temporally limit the enjoyment of museums and other places of culture.”

According to Palazzo Spada, there is a “most important public interest” that led to the closure of the museums, and in the face of the protection of public health, “the ordered temporary sacrifice of the antagonistic interest relied on by the appellant, whose particular importance cannot be overlooked, does not appear to be affected, on the basis of the summary assessment proper to the one-court precautionary phase, by manifest unreasonableness.” The Council of State does, however, open a small glimmer for the future, noting that “it will be the task of the Authority to assess in the future, hand in hand with the monitoring of the progress of the pandemic situation, the adoptability of measures that may in some way balance the public interests that come to the fore.”

The Council of State decree is not appealable. No comment on the matter has yet come from Sgarbi and Rienzi.

Council of State rejects Sgarbi's appeal: museums remain closed
Council of State rejects Sgarbi's appeal: museums remain closed

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