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I·CONnect

Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and ConstitutionMaking.org

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Patrick Yingling, Reed Smith LLP

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in comparative public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the comparative public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Comparative Public Law,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments on whether the country’s ban on euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  2. Justice Edwin Cameron of South Africa’s Constitutional Court spoke recently about the symbolism and importance of the high court’s art collection and the need to preserve it.
  3. Pakistan’s Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence for Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), who was convicted of blasphemy for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed while working in a field with several Muslim women.
  4. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America’s second most-populous state.
  5. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that an Arizona law that acted to deny bail to individuals in the U.S. illegally and charged with a range of felonies was unconstitutional.

In the News

  1. Shiite muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was convicted of sedition and other charges in Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court and sentenced to death, raising fears of unrest from his supporters in neighboring Bahrain.
  2. The president of Spain’s Catalonia region called off an independence vote that was scheduled for November 9.
  3. Uber Technologies Inc. challenged a French court ruling that deems one of its fastest-growing services to be illegal in France, escalating a fight amid the car-hailing company’s broader battles in Europe.
  4. The Nigerian House of Representatives voted to make 71 amendments to 1999 Constitution.
  5. The French Conseil d’Etat suspended the Ministry of National Education’s decision to abolish aid based on merit to non-beneficiary students. [Link in French]

New Scholarship

  1. Elisa Arcioni, Section 53 of the Constitution: An Overlooked Reference to the Constitutional People, Australian Law Journal, Vol. 87, pp. 784-792, 2013 (exploring the meaning of “the people” in the third paragraph of section 53 of the Australian Constitution)
  2. Theunis Robert Roux, Constitutional Courts as Democratic Consolidators: Insights from South Africa 20 Years On, 2014 (attempting to correct pessimistic and overoptimistic views on constitutional courts as democratic consolidators)
  3. Hamid Harasani, Islamic Law as a Comparable Model in Comparative Legal Research: Devising a Method, 3 Global Journal of Comparative Law (2014) 186-202 (formulating a methodology for comparative legal studies where religious law is one of the comparative models)
  4. Sebastian Jilke, Bart Meuleman & Steven Van de Walle, We Need to Compare, But How? Measurement Equivalence in Comparative Public Administration, Public Administration Review, Forthcoming 2014 (examining the concept of cross-national measurement equivalence in public management and suggesting how to establish equivalence)
  5. Samuel R. Olken, The Decline of Legal Classicism and the Evolution of New Deal Constitutionalism, Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 89, No. 5, 2014 (concluding that although certain external changes help explain the constitutional transformation of the New Deal era, internal changes in terms of dissenting opinions and the intrinsic nature of Legal Classicism also played significant roles in the evolution of New Deal constitutionalism)

Elsewhere Online

  1. Mohamed Abdelaal, Can The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court Extend its Jurisdiction?, JURIST – Academic
  2. Yves Boisvert, What our Supreme Court can teach Spain about secession, The Globe and Mail
  3. Thato Motaung, Child marriage as ‘security’?, AfricLaw
  4. Lissa Griffin, Scrutinizing the Basis for Jury Verdicts, Comparative Law Prof Blog
  5. Jennifer Duncan, Women in Tanzania set for equal land rights – let’s make sure it happens, ConstitutionNet

Calls for Papers / Conferences

  1. The University of Michigan Law School invites submissions for its 2015 Young Scholars’ Conference to be held on March 27-28, 2015, at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  2. The Institute for Global Law and Policy will host an international conference at Harvard Law School to showcase innovative thinking about global law and policy on June 1-3, 2015.
  3. The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law will host its 2015 Symposium, “This is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters” on February 13, 2015 at Vanderbilt Law School.
  4. The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School has issued a call for abstracts for its 2015 annual conference, entitled: “Law, Religion, and American Health Care.”
  5. Glocalism has issued a call for papers for its 2015 issue on Global Polity and Politics.
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Published on October 20, 2014
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Reminder — Call for Papers: 4th Annual YCC Conference

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPARATIVE LAW

YOUNGER COMPARATIVISTS COMMITTEE 

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law is pleased to invite submissions for its fourth annual conference, to be held on April 16-17, 2015, at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida.  The purpose of the conference is to highlight, develop, and promote the scholarship of new and younger comparativists. The deadline for submission of abstracts is November 1, 2014.

Conference Subject-Matter and Eligibility

Submissions will be accepted on any subject in public or private comparative law from scholars who have been engaged as law teachers, lecturers, fellows, or in another academic capacity for no more than ten years as of June 30, 2015.  We will also accept submissions from graduate students enrolled in masters or doctoral programs.

Submission Instructions

To submit an entry, scholars should email an attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF containing an abstract of no more than 750 words no later than November 1, 2014, to the following address: ycc.conference.2015.abstracts@gmail.com.  Abstracts should reflect original research that will not yet have been published, though may have been accepted for publication, by the time of the conference. Abstracts should also include the author’s name, title of the paper, institutional affiliation, contact information, as well as the author’s certification that she/he qualifies as a younger scholar. Graduate students should identify themselves as such.

Scholars may make only one submission.  Both individual and co-authored submissions will be accepted.  For co-authored submissions, both authors must qualify as eligible younger comparativists.  The conference’s Program Committee will assign individual and co-authored submissions to thematic panels according to subject area.  Proposals for fully formed panels will also be accepted.

Notification

Authors of the submissions selected for the conference will be notified no later than December 20, 2014.   There is no cost to register for the conference but participants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses.  A limited number of travel stipends may be awarded to those who demonstrate financial need.  If you would like to be considered for a travel stipend, please make that request in your submission.

All scholars selected for the conference, other than graduate students who wish to be considered for the Colin B. Picker graduate student prize listed below (and who thus have an earlier deadline), must submit final papers by email to ycc.conference.2015.papers@gmail.com no later than March 1, 2015.

Colin B. Picker Graduate Student Prize

The second annual Colin B. Picker prize will be awarded for the best paper submitted by a graduate student.  To be considered for the award, in addition to submitting an abstract by the above deadline, graduate students whose abstracts are accepted for the conference must also submit their papers in their final form by January 31, 2015, to ycc.conference.2015.pickerpapers@gmail.com with the following subject line:  “Submission for Graduate Student Prize.”  Papers received after January 31, 2015, will not be considered for the award.

Phanor J. Eder J.D. Prize in Comparative Law

In conjunction with the Conference, the second annual Phanor J. Eder prize in comparative law will be awarded from among J.D. or LL.B. students who will have not yet completed their degree as of April 1, 2015. The author(s) of the winning paper will receive a modest stipend giving them partial funding to help defray the costs of attending the Conference and presenting the paper there. There is a separate call with the details of the Phanor J. Eder competition, available here. Final papers will be due on December 31, 2014, in order to be considered for the competition. Inquiries should be directed to Joshua Karton, Chair of the Affiliates Advisory Group of the YCC, at joshua.karton@queensu.ca.

Acknowledgements and Questions

The Younger Comparativists Committee gratefully acknowledges the support of the Florida State University College of Law.  Please direct all inquiries to Professor David Landau, Chair of the Program Committee, by email at dlandau@law.fsu.edu or telephone at 850.644.6341.

The Program Committee

David Landau (Florida State) (Chair)

Ozan Varol (Lewis & Clark) (Vice Chair)

Mohamed Abdelaal (Berkeley)

Dawood Ahmed (Max Planck Foundation)

Richard Albert (Boston College) (YCC Chair)

Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox (Quinnipiac)

Daniel Ghezelbash (Macquarie)

Claudia Haupt (Columbia)

Stefanus Hendrianto (Santa Clara)

John Hursh (McGill)

Neha Jain (Minnesota)

Rajeev Kadambi (Brown)

Joshua Karton (Queen’s)

Alan Koh (National University of Singapore)

Rana Lehr-Lehnardt (UMKC)

Eugene Mazo (Wake Forest)

Sally Richardson (Tulane)

Ioanna Tourkochoriti (South Carolina)

Vanice Valle (Estacio de Sa)

 

The Younger Comparativists Committee

Richard Albert (Boston College) (Chair)

Wulf Kaal (University of St. Thomas)

Sudha Setty (Western New England)

Virginia Harper Ho (Kansas)

Ozan Varol (Lewis & Clark)

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Published on October 17, 2014
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Legislating Condoms and Other Contraceptives: A Philippine Constitutional Law Perspective

Mickey Ingles, Ateneo de Manila University College of Law

The 1987 Philippine Constitution entrenches interesting provisions that reflect Filipino values. For example, it mandates that the State must protect the life of the unborn child and protect the family as the basic social institution. These two commands are rooted in the country’s deep Catholic tradition and its family-oriented culture.

In 2012, the Philippine Congress passed a law that struck deep into these Filipino values and traditions. The law sought to legislate on reproductive health and contraceptives. The law caused uproar from the Catholic Church and raised various constitutional questions.

In 2014, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in Imbong v. Executive Secretary Ochoa[1] where, using a rights-based approach, it answered novel constitutional issues raised by the new law – the constitutional prohibition of abortion vis-à-vis the legality of contraceptives, the right of conscientious objectors against the State interest of population control, and the right of privacy of the family vis-à-vis State-sponsored reproductive health measures. As the country seeks to curb poverty and population growth, the implications of Imbong are far-reaching and will undoubtedly be felt for decades to come.

Imbong and the controversial law that led to it are discussed below.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on October 15, 2014
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What’s New in Comparative Public Law

–Margaret Lan Xiao, Washington University in St. Louis

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in comparative public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the comparative public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Comparative Public Law,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. Three newly appointed judges of Jordan’s Constitutional Court were sworn in before King Abdullah II.
  2. Albania’s Democratic Party challenged the constitutionality of a law establishing the Bureau of Investigation.
  3. Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that special prisons built specifically for members of indigenous communities are necessary so as to not violate their rights as a protected group.
  4. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the recent selection of around 200 judges as well as their swearing in next week.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan and the Constitutional Chamber of the Kyrgyz Supreme Court have signed a memorandum on cooperation in Baku.

In the News

  1. Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the parliament will make legal arrangements to bring an end to the violence in the country’s streets.
  2. Greece: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras narrowly won a parliamentary confidence vote.
  3. Canada: Parliament voted to authorize air strikes targeting ISIS terrorism in Iraq.
  4. Thailand: Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ruled out lifting martial law in the country despite calls by tourism bodies to scrap the measure.
  5. Singapore: Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Indranee Rajah, ended a four-day working visit to Myanmar.

New Scholarship

  1. Cheng-Yi Huang & David S. Law, Proportionality Review of Administrative Action in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China, Research Handbook in Comparative Law and Regulation (Francesca Bignami & David Zaring eds., Edward Elgar: 2015 Forthcoming) (analyzing various patterns of proportionality review of administrative action in East Asia and offering four potential explanations)
  2. Jennifer M. Piscopo, Rights, Equality, and Democracy: The Shift from Quotas to Parity in Latin America, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper, 2014 (examining several Latin American countries’ recent parity shifts, parity supporters’ strategic measures in obtaining their desired goals, and the positive role played by courts in this process)
  3. Ole Frithjof Norheim & Bruce M. Wilson, Health Rights Litigation and Access to Medicines: Priority Classification of Successful Cases from Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, Health and Human Rights 2014, 16/2 (examining a set of randomly selected cases concerning access to medicines brought to Costa Rica’s Supreme Court in 2008 and asserting that it cannot be concluded that litigation led to more fairness in access to medications)
  4. Suzie Navot, Constitutional Reasoning in the Israeli Supreme Court, András Jakab, Arthur Dyevre and Giulio Itzcovich (eds), Comparative Constitutional Reasoning, Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming (analyzing several types of arguments in constitutional reasoning developed by the Israeli Supreme Court, including the use of precedents, foreign law, and judicial rhetoric)
  5. Richard Rose, EU Enlargement Policy & UK Interests, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Competences Review of Enlargement 2014 (arguing that British policy toward the further enlargement of the European Union is based on a misleading understanding of the phenomenon of countries seeking European Union entry)
  6. Matej Avbelj, Crises and Perspectives in Building a European Nation – The Case of Slovenia, Forthcoming in, Peter Jambrek, Nation’s transitions: social and legal issues of Slovenia’s transitions: 1945-2015, (Slovenia 1945-2015). 1st ed. (exploring why Slovenia’s transition from a communist state to a constitutional liberal democracy remains unfinished and offering suggestions for changes and reforms)

Elsewhere Online

  1. Steven Denney, Surprise! South Korea’s Legislature Is Actually Doing Its Job, The Diplomat
  2. David Barrett, Britain has largest legal aid budget in Europe, says report, The Telegraph
  3. Joe Palazzolo, Liberty Reserve Founder Extradited to U.S. From Spain, The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
  4. Ben Child, China bans actors with a history of drug use from film or TV roles, The Guardian
  5. Mort Halperin & Molly Hofsommer, Japan Wrongly Blames U.S. For Repressive Japanese Secrecy Law, The Huffington Post
  6. Stephanie Bodoni, EU Seeks to Curb Google Control of Right to Be Forgotten, Bloomberg Business Week
  7. Lyle Denniston, Constitution Check: Is the Supreme Court changing its mind on same-sex marriage?, Constitution Daily
  8. Alison Sacriponte, Federal judge rules police tactic used in Ferguson protests unconstitutional, Jurist

Calls for Papers

  1. The World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists has issued a call for papers for its Fourth Worldwide Congress to be held on June 24-26, 2015 at McGill University’s Faculty of Law.
  2. The University of Missouri Law Review has issued a call for proposals for a symposium titled “Policing, Protesting, and Perceptions: A Critical Examination of the Events in Ferguson” to be held on February 27, 2015.
  3. The Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Information Society Project at Yale Law School have issued a call for papers for the third annual Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference to be held on May 2-3, 2015 at Yale Law School.
  4. The University of the District of Columbia Law Review has issued a call for papers for a symposium titled “Not All Controversies End in Court: Checking the Balance in Alternative Dispute Resolution” to be held on March 27, 2015.
  5. The European Society of International Law has issued a call for proposals for its annual conference to be held on September 10-12, 2015 in Oslo, Norway.
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Published on October 13, 2014
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Video Interview: Trends in Modern Authoritarianism Featuring Ozan Varol

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, I interview Ozan Varol on trends in modern authoritarianism.

In the interview, we discuss how modern authoritarians use constitutional design and the law to serve their objectives. We also discuss recent scholarship on the subject, including a paper on Stealth Authorianism written by Ozan Varol.

Ozan Varol is an Associate Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he teaches courses in constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, and criminal law. His research concerns comparative constitutional transitions and constitutional design. He hosted the third annual YCC Global Conference this past April at Lewis & Clark Law School, and currently serves on the board of the Younger Comparativists Committee in the American Society of Comparative Law.

The full interview runs 14 minutes, and is available here.

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Published on October 10, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

Video Interview: Developments in Spanish Constitutional Law Featuring Benito Alaez Corral

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, I interview Benito Aláez Corral on developments in Spanish constitutional law.

In the interview, we explore the constitutional implications of secession, the tension between realizing the promise of socio-economic rights and the increasing financial pressures on the state, the role of Parliament in addressing these and other challenges in Spain, as well as the viability of formal constitutional amendment under the Spanish Constitution.

Benito Aláez Corral is a Professor of Public Law at the University of Oviedo in Spain, where he writes on subjects in constitutional law, including constitutional theory, human rights and constitutional amendment. He holds degrees from the University of Oviedo and Ruhr University Bochum.

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Published on October 8, 2014
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Which Citizens? – Participation in the Drafting of the Icelandic Constitutional Draft of 2011

Ragnhildur Helgadóttir, Reykjavik University School of Law

The Icelandic draft constitution of 2011 has received wide attention, including on this blog. One reason for that is the emphasis placed on public participation in the drafting process. In its (otherwise quite critical) opinion, the Venice Commission (the European Commission for Democracy through Law) wrote:

The wide range of – sometimes innovative – consultation mechanisms which have  been used throughout the drafting process launched in 2010 – organization of a national forum, selection among the population of the members of the Constitutional Council to prepare the draft new Constitution, extensive informal consultation and involvement of the public by way of modern technology means, consultative referendum in the fall of 2012 – have given this process a broad participatory dimension and have been widely praised at the international level.[i]

I have elsewhere discussed the process and each of these mechanisms in detail.[ii] One interesting conclusion is that contrary to what was thought, internet consultations during the drafting seem to have further empowered a politically strong group (native-born, middle-aged males) instead of the youngest voters or those who generally do not participate in politics. Meanwhile, “traditional” consultation in Parliament drew a somewhat different group of people to the table and mixed up the picture somewhat.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on October 7, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Angélique Devaux, French Qualified Attorney (Notaire Diplômée), LL.M American Law (IUPUI Robert H. McKinney School of Law)

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in comparative public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the comparative public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Comparative Public Law,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. Europe: The European Court of Human Rights recognized the Church of Scientology as a legal entity, over strong opposition from Russian authorities.
  2. Malaysia: The Sessions Court ruled that a University of Malaysia law lecturer can challenge the Sedition Act’s constitutionality in the High Court.
  3. Spain: The Spanish Constitutional Court announced that it has suspended the celebration of the Catalan Independence referendum scheduled for November
  4. United States: The U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene at this time in gay marriage.
  5. Oklahoma: The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma on Tuesday struck down federal tax subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  6. Ohio: The Ohio Supreme Court held that public employees are not personally liable under certain Ohio anti-discrimination laws, but that their actions may subject political-subdivision employers to vicarious liability.
  7. Turkey: The Constitutional Court of Turkey held that the Telecommunications Directorate’s authority to close websites within four hours on the basis of national security, protecting public order, or preventing crime was unconstitutional.
  8. United States: The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case on attorneys’ fees for bankruptcy lawyers in the upcoming term.

In the News

  1. Libya: Parliament moves to small port city as dangers in Tripoli increase.
  2. Sweden: The prime minister announced that the country will recognize the state of Palestine in a move that will make it the first major member of the European Union to do so.
  3. France: A citizen was jailed for deliberately infecting partner with HIV.
  4. Cambodia: Lawmakers voted to amend the constitution to make the National Election Committee an “independent body.”
  5. Latvia: The center right coalition won a majority in the nation’s general election.

New Scholarship

  1. Emmanuelle Richez, Losing Relevance: Quebec and the Constitutional Politics of Language, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 52(1), Forthcoming (evaluating whether Quebec has lost relevance in the constitutional politics of language, proposing a doctrinal analysis of the Supreme Court’s Charter jurisprudence, arguing that constitutional review has increasingly protected individual rights over Quebec’s collective right to maintain its language and culture, and concluding that Quebec is no longer driving concepts of Canadian citizenship)
  2. Ruth E. Gavison, Reflections on the Meaning and Justification of “Jewish” in the Expression “A Jewish and Democratic State”, The Israeli Nation-State: Political, Constitutional, and Cultural Challenges, p. 135, 2014 (explaining how it is possible to justify Israel’s existence as a state that is both Jewish and Democratic)
  3. Faisal Kutty, “Islamic Law” in U.S. Courts: Judicial Jihad or Constitutional Imperative?, Pepperdine Law Review, Forthcoming (showing that courts treat claims by Muslims using religious law the same way they deal with claims brought by those of other faiths and those of no faith)
  4. Dacian C. Dragos and Bogdana Neamtu (Eds.) Alternative Dispute Resolution in European Administrative Law (Springer 2014) (examining the role, general framework, and empirical effectiveness of the main alternative dispute resolution tools in administrative matters within the broader context of the administrative justice system)
  5. Fran Quigley, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, Vanderbilt University Press, 2014 (arguing that the only way to transform Haiti’s dismal human rights legacy is through a bottom-up social movement, supported by local and international challenges to the status quo)

Calls for Papers 

  1. The Southeastern Association of Law Schools has issued a call for papers for the 2015 SEALS Annual Conference to be held in Boca Raton, Florida from 27 July to 2 August 2015.
  2. The James Crawford Prize of International Journal Dispute Settlement has issued a call for papers.
  3. The Georgetown International Environmental Law Review is currently accepting submissions for Issues 2 and 3 of Volume 27.
  4. The Journal of Law and Health’s Annual Symposium at Cleveland Marshall Law School has issued a call for papers.
  5. The European Society of International Law has issued a call for papers for its 2015 research forum that will take place May 14-15, 2015 at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
  6. The Refugee Law Initiative invites submissions to its Working Paper Series.
  7. The Utrecht Journal of International and European Law issues a call for papers in relation to its forthcoming 80th edition on “Privacy under International and European Law.”

Elsewhere Online

  1. Sheriff Kumba Joe, The right to education children: Children with disabilities in the Gambia, AfricLaw
  2. Eugene Kontorovich, Constitutional problems with international courts, The Volokh Conspiracy
  3. L.A. Times Editorial Board, The meaning of U.S. citizenship, Los Angeles Times
  4. Eric L. Lewis, Who Are “We The People”?, The New York Times
  5. William Partlett, Judicial Backsliding in Russia, Jurist
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Published on October 6, 2014
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Indonesia’s Constitutional Conundrum: The Weak Presidency, the Strong Opposition and the Regional Elections Law

Stefanus Hendrianto, Santa Clara Law

When Indonesia’s parliament passed a new law scrapping direct local elections on September 26, 2014, critics believed that the law was a setback for the world’s third-largest democracy. Many people have blamed the losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his Red-White opposition Coalition for pushing an agenda to get governors, heads of district (Bupati), and mayors to be elected by local parliaments. The law was passed just weeks before the Governor Joko Widodo is to be inaugurated as President on October 20. Some believe that the law represents a counter-attack from Subianto and his coalition partners against the president-elect, Joko Widodo. On the surface, the crisis looks like the battle between the traditional politicians and newly-empowered populist leaders like Joko Widodo. Many people, however, do not realize that the crisis is the product of a constitutional conundrum in Indonesia. Before we analyze the real issue behind the recent constitutional crisis, it is worth tracing the origin of the controversial Law no. 22/2014 on Regional Elections. Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on October 5, 2014
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Amendments, Replacements and Constitutional Instability? The Case of the Dominican Republic

–Leiv Marsteintredet, Associate Professor in Latin American Area Studies, University of Oslo; Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

In a recent blog post on I-CONnect,[1] Jillian Blake discusses the very disturbing constitutional and legal developments on the right to nationality in the Dominican Republic and argues that they were facilitated by “…the unstable nature of the Dominican constitutional system…”.

I think her impression, and the more general impression, of the highly unstable Dominican constitutional system comes from the impressive Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) as well as a recent study by Zach Elkins, Tom Ginsburg and James Melton on constitutional endurance, which includes a case-study of the country.[2] The CCP counts no less than 33 Dominican constitutions since independence in 1844, making the 2010 Constitution number 34 (the most in the world).

Despite a record number of constitutions as counted by CCP, there is reason to question whether the Dominican Republic in fact is constitutionally unstable. Indeed, I argue in this blog post that the country is one of Latin America’s most constitutionally stable countries over the last fifty years. As I will show, the Dominican case invites us to reconsider the conceptualization of, and relationship between, amendments, replacements and constitutional instability, and reminds us that concepts constructed for large-N studies may not always be adequate to describe the realities in a single case.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on October 3, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Analysis