Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Mohamed Abdelaal, Alexandria University (Egypt)

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. Singapore’s Court of Appeal struck on technical grounds an appeal of a High Court ruling that allowed for judicial review of an order that the Faith Community Baptist Church compensate a pregnant woman whom it fired due to adultery.
  2. Turkey’s Constitutional Court to examine four articles in the recently passed omnibus law that have been criticized as unconstitutional.
  3. Hungary’s Constitutional Court ruled that the media may show faces of police officers in news images.
  4. Russia’s Constitutional Court upheld the country’s gay “propaganda” law.
  5. Judge Edward Rubin of Louisiana’s 15th Judicial District ruled that the state’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.

New Scholarship

  1. Tamir Moustafa, Judging in God’s Name: State Power, Secularism, and the Politics of Islamic Law in Malaysia, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 3 (2014) 152-67 (arguing that the institutionalization of Islamic law should not be understood as the achievement of an “Islamic state,” but rather as the subversion of core epistemological principles in the Islamic legal tradition).
  2. S.I. Strong, Religious Rights in Historical, Theoretical and International Context: Hobby Lobby as a Jurisprudential Anomaly?, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 2015 (Forthcoming) (examining US historical and theoretical underpinnings of religious rights to answer the question of whether the decision to grant a commercial corporation a religious accommodation is consistent with the rationales underlying religious rights)
  3. Tania Groppi & Irene Spigno, Constitutional Reasoning in the Italian Constitutional Court, András Jakab, Arthur Dyevre & Giulio Itzcovich (eds.), Comparative Constitutional Reasoning, Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming) (discussing the context and methods of constitutional reasoning developed by the Italian Constitutional Court in 40 leading cases)
  4. Michael Pal & Sujit Choudhry, Still Not Equal? Visible Minority Vote Dilution in Canada, 8(1) Canadian Political Science Review (2014) (examining the long-standing deviations from representation by population in Canada and concluding that vote dilution continues to exist and is concentrated in the areas with the highest proportion of visible minorities)
  5. Sara Sun Beale, Public Opinion and the Abolition or Retention of the Death Penalty Why is the United States Different? (exploring the relationship between public opinion and the abolition or retention of the death penalty and comparing the US experience to that of other nations, such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada)
  6. Grainne De Burca, International Law Before the Courts: The European Union and the United States Compared, Virginia Journal of International Law, Forthcoming (examining the approaches of the European Court of Justice and the US Supreme Court to the internalization of international law from 2002 to 2012)

In the News 

  1. A Pentagon program that distributes military surplus gear to local law enforcement departments has allowed departments censured for civil rights violations to apply for and receive lethal weaponry.
  2. The Myanmar Constitution Committee wrapped up debate on amendments to the country’s constitution.
  3. Thirty people connected to the Hizmet movement in Turkey have taken statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeting the movement to the Constitutional Court, alleging hate speech.
  4. Attorney Jerry Fent has filed a formal objection to a law to refurbish the Oklahoma state Capitol, likely triggering an Oklahoma Supreme Court review of the measure.
  5. Ghana has taken legal action under a UN convention to resolve a maritime border dispute with Ivory Coast over water close to oil fields licensed by British firm Tullow Oil.
  6. Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission declared Ashraf Ghani the winner of the country’s presidential election.
  7. Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid signed into law the 16th Amendment to the nation’s Constitution, granting Parliament the ability to impeach Supreme Court justices.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Lyle Denniston, Constitution Check: What if the Supreme Court takes a pass now on same-sex marriage?, Constitution Daily
  2. Faisal Kutty & Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, The Kutty ‘Islamic Law’ Flowchart, SSRN
  3. Stoyan Panov, The Tales of Two Transitional Constitutions, Jurist – Forum
  4. Ruthann Robson, Sixth Circuit Rules Ohio’s New Voting Scheme Likely to Violate Equal Protection, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  5. Will Baude, Does the IRS recognize plural marriage?, The Volokh Conspiracy
  6. Dan Harris, China Government And China Business. It’s Different, China Law Blog

Calls for Papers

  1. The University of Milan’s Department of National and Supranational Public Law and the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law welcome the submission of papers for a full-day workshop on comparative constitutional law, to be held on the campus of the University of Milan on Monday, May 4, 2015.
  2. The International Organizations Interest Group of the American Society of International Law has issued a call for papers for its annual works-in-progress workshop to be held on Friday, December 12, 2014, in New York City.
  3. Vanderbilt Law School’s Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program invites submissions for its 2015 New Voices in Civil Justice Scholarship Workshop, to be held on May 11-12, 2015, at Vanderbilt Law School.
  4. The Junior International Law Scholars Association (JILSA) welcomes submissions for its annual meeting on Friday, January 23, 2015, at the University of Miami School of Law.
  5. The Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law invites submissions for its upcoming volume.
  6. The Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) has issued a call for papers for its annual conference to be held from July 27 to August 2, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida.


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Published on September 29, 2014
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Call for Papers–Workshop on Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Milan

The University of Milan
Department of National and Supranational Law

in collaboration with

The Younger Comparativists Committee 
of the American Society of Comparative Law

request submissions for

Workshop on Comparative Constitutional Law
University of Milan
Milan, Italy
Monday, May 4, 2015

The University of Milan’s Department of National and Supranational Public Law and the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law welcome the submission of papers for a full-day workshop on comparative constitutional law, to be held on the campus of the University of Milan on Monday, May 4, 2015 from 10h00 to 16h00.

This workshop is convened by Antonia Baraggia (Milan), Cristina Fasone (EUI), and Richard Albert (Boston College).

Purpose of Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to convene a group of younger scholars whose primary field of research is comparative constitutional law.

Structure of Workshop

This full-day workshop will feature 5 papers selected through this Call for Papers. The day will begin at 10h00. Each paper will be allocated one hour of time, including 15 minutes for the author’s presentation and 45 minutes for group discussion.


Submissions are invited from younger scholars who have been teaching and/or researching in the field for no more than ten years.

Submission Instructions

Interested scholars should email no more than one (1) paper by January 20, 2015 to the following address: Papers should be no longer than 30,000 words, and may not have been published by the time of the workshop. Preference will be given to papers that are still in development. Scholars should identify their submission with the following subject line: “Milan—Paper Submission—Comparative Constitutional Law Workshop.”

Notification and Participation Requirements

Successful applicants will be selected by a Workshop Selection Committee and notified no later than February 20, 2015.


There is no cost to participate in the workshop. Successful applicants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses.


Please direct inquiries in connection with this workshop to Antonia Baraggia (Milan) by email at

Please circulate this Call for Papers widely.

Workshop Selection Committee

Antonia Baraggia (Milan)
Cristina Fasone (EUI)
Richard Albert (Boston College)

Younger Comparativists Committee

Richard Albert (Boston College) (Chair)
Virginia Harper Ho (Kansas)
Wulf Kaal (St. Thomas—Mineapolis)
Sudha Setty (Western New England)
Ozan Varol (Lewis & Clark)

About the University of Milan – Department of National and Supranational Public Law

The Department of Italian and Supranational Public Law at the University of Milan promotes and coordinates scientific research and teaching in administrative, constitutional, international, European Union and procedural civil law. The Department publishes and publicizes scholarship; organizes seminars as well as national and international meetings; manages relationships with equivalent European and world scientific institutions; maintains connections with academic institutions at home and abroad, and promotes scholarly exchange among professors and researchers. Consistent with the guidelines indicated in the European Research Area (ERA) Project, the Department favors a multidisciplinary approach to research.

About the Younger Comparativists Committee

The Younger Comparativists Committee (YCC) is a committee of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASLC), one of the world’s leading learned societies for the study of comparative law. The YCC serves as a forum for younger comparative law scholars (with ten years or fewer of faculty experience), creates opportunities for younger comparativists to develop and share their research, and facilitates and promotes the scholarly exchange of ideas and research in all areas of comparative law. It hosts an annual global conference in comparative law and advises the ASCL in its activities related to younger comparativists. For more, please visit:

About the Convenors

Antonia Baraggia Antonia Baraggia is Research Fellow in Constitutional Law at University of Milan, Department of National and Supranational Public Law. She has been Visiting Fellow at Fordham University School of Law. Baraggia holds a PhD in Public Law from University of Turin. She serves as one of the members of the Affiliates Advisory Group of the YCC. Her research interests include citizenship, federalism, bicameralism, human rights, the right to education and the autonomy of Universities considered in a comparative perspective.

Cristina Fasone is a Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow in Law at the European University Institute, Florence, where she is also one of the coordinators of the project on “Constitutional Change through Euro-Crisis Law.” Her research focuses on parliaments and Constitutional Courts in the EU and on forms of government. She holds a PhD in Comparative Public Law from the University of Siena and she teaches Comparative Public Law at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome. She has been a Visiting Researcher at the Georgetown University Law Centre (US) and a Visiting Scholar at the Victoria University of Wellington (NZ). Cristina Fasone serves as one of the members of the Affiliates Advisory Group of the YCC.

Richard Albert is a constitutional law professor at Boston College Law School, where he received the 2013 and 2014 Anthony P. Farley Award for excellence in teaching. His research focuses on comparative constitutional change and amendment. He serves as Chair of the YCC, an elected member of the Executive Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law and the International Academy of Comparative Law, a member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Public Law, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, and a founding editor of I-CONnect. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston College Law School, he served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of Canada. Richard Albert holds degrees from Yale, Oxford and Harvard.

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Published on September 28, 2014
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‘And the Winner is… the Referendum’: Scottish Independence and the Deliberative Participation of Citizens

Stephen Tierney, University of Edinburgh*

Only 45% of Scots said yes to independent statehood, but a massive majority said yes to direct democracy. The turnout of 84.65% was the highest for any UK electoral event since the introduction of universal suffrage, significantly trumping the 65.1% who voted in the 2010 UK general election and the 50.6% who bothered to turn out for the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections.

But turnout is only part of the picture. The story we are hearing time and time again from voters and campaigners alike is that citizens felt greatly empowered by the referendum and the role they had in making such a huge decision. Evidence is emerging of the extent to which people sought out information about the issue at stake and engaged vociferously with one another at home, in the workplace, in pubs and public meetings, and, to an unprecedented degree in British politics, on social media through Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. My own evidence is merely anecdotal, but as someone who lived through the referendum campaign, I can say that in the month before the vote I experienced a level of public engagement with a major political issue the like of which I have never known.

And it is surely significant that it was a referendum which proved the catalyst for this level of public engagement. One of the main criticisms of referendums in political science is that they are in fact incapable of fostering the deliberative participation of citizens. The strength of this argument, however, hinges upon an assumption that referendum processes are easily manipulated by elites. By this construction referendums tend to be held quickly by way of a snap poll organised at the behest of the government; voters are presented with an issue which is itself confusing and can be made more so by an unintelligible question; voters themselves lack the time, sufficient interest in the matter at stake or the competence to understand or engage properly with the issue, and in effect turn up at the polling station, if indeed they bother to do so at all, in an unreflective manner, often following party cues in determining how to vote.

The Scottish process could not be more different from this caricature. Voters had plenty of  time to discuss and reflect upon the issue (the plan to hold a referendum was announced in January 2012) and the question (‘Should Scotland be an Independent Country?’) was very clear, having been reviewed by the independent Electoral Commission. I have mentioned the levels of engagement in the referendum by citizens, and indeed one of the most empowering elements of the entire process was the way in which, as the 18th of September approached and opinion polls narrowed, political elites on both sides had to sit on the side-lines, aware that the power to change or not to change the UK state lay entirely in the hands of the Scottish people. Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on September 26, 2014
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If Scotland Had Voted Yes…

Nick Barber, Trinity College, Oxford

[Cross-posted from UK Con Law Blog]

This is a copy of a blog post that was, in the event, not needed. My colleagues have told me that my writing has a calming, if not soporific, quality, and I thought that I should use this skill to good effect by preparing a post for publication in the event of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum.

The post was written at a time when it looked like the vote could go either way. Now, just a few days later, the context in which it was produced seems both foreign and remote. There is a temptation – which I have resisted – to modify its text in the light of hindsight. I’ve left it unaltered: it stands as an exercise in counter-factual constitutional history, an engagement with the constitution crisis that might have been.

Don’t Panic

After months, decades, of polls showing a substantial majority in favour of the union the decision by the Scottish people to vote for independence has come of something of a surprise. The reasons for this reversal will be analysed for years to come, and other countries facing secessionist pressures may have something to learn from the failure of the ‘no’ campaign, but for those in the United Kingdom the ‘yes’ vote raises a set of more pressing constitutional problems. For Scotland, the prospect of independence must be an exciting prospect, if also a daunting one. For the rest of the United Kingdom, though, the rUK, the Scottish vote may be seen as a rejection, even as an abandonment.

This post reflects on the immediate challenges facing each side of the divided union. It argues that these negotiations should not be seen as a zero-sum game: each side has an interest in ensuring that the other’s interests are protected. It considers the steps that will need to be taken in the rUK Parliament to begin this negotiating process. Finally, it moots a radical model for future cooperation between Scotland and the rUK: a new legislative body granted a limited jurisdiction by these two sovereign states, empowered to make legal and executive decisions at the level of the Union. Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on September 24, 2014
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What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Rohan Alva, Jindal Global Law School

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Indian Supreme Court has called upon the Law Commission of India to deliberate over the necessity of enacting special legislation to streamline the process by which courts are able to assess ‘tortious liability’ of the government and its instrumentalities, as well as to outline the proper methodological approach for determining the quantum of monetary recompense that must be paid for the damage inflicted.
  2. The Slovakian Constitutional Court declined to entertain a petition, brought by some members of Parliament, which impugned certain changes made to the State Citizenship Act effectively denying Slovakians the right of holding dual citizenship.
  3. The Constitutional Court of South Africa denied granting relief to a resident of Cape Town who raised a challenge to her being evicted from her home, ruling that the process of eviction adopted by the City of Cape Town was legally compliant.
  4. Nine justices who were recently elevated to the Constitutional Court of Togo have been sworn into office. Each of the justices will serve for 7 years on the Court.
  5. The Judges Selection Committee nominated for appointment two new justices to the Supreme Court of Israel, one of whom is Menachem Mazuz, the former Attorney-General.

New Scholarship

  1. Richard Albert, Amending Constitutional Amendment Rules, International Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming 2015) (arguing that formal amendment rules should be more difficult to amend than other constitutional provisions)
  2. Jacco Bomhoff, Balancing Constitutional Rights- The Origins and Meanings of Postwar Legal Discourse (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (offering a jurisprudential analysis of the meaning of ‘balancing constitutional rights’ and contrasting the varied approaches to such balancing)
  3. Mathias Siems, Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (presenting a critique of the standard forms of inquiries in comparative law as well of emerging methods of comparative analysis, and using illustrations from different disciplines to holistically analyse comparativism)
  4. P. de Vos, W. Freedman (eds.) South African Constitutional Law in Context (Oxford University Press, 2014) (an introductory analysis of the development of the Constitution of South Africa, in which the authors adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to assess the nature and state of constitutional progress)
  5. Scott Stephenson, The Supreme Court’s Renewed Interest in Autochthonous Constitutionalism, Public Law (forthcoming 2015) (evaluating a series of recent decisions which indicate the shifting inclination of the English Supreme Court in favour of retaining English constitutional principles and safeguarding them, rather than freely implementing EU legal doctrines)
  6. Yuichiro Shimizu and Sochi Naraoka, Shaping the Diet: Competing Architectural Designs for Japan’s Diet Building (Australian Political Studies Association, Sydney University, 2014) (examining the importance of architecture of legislative houses for democratic progress, and engaging in a historical analysis of the architectural design of the Japanese Diet as well as evaluating the contemporary design of the Diet and its similarities with its German counterpart)

In the News

  1. Ashraf Ghani has been declared winner of the presidential elections held recently in Afghanistan, ending months of speculation over the election results. In accordance with a ‘power-sharing agreement’ signed previously between the two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, the other presidential candidate, now reserves the right to nominate a ‘chief executive officer’ in the new president’s administration.
  2. A constitutional amendment backed by Senate members belonging to the Democratic Party, which sought to accord powers to the US Congress to regulate the role of money in elections, met with rejection in the Senate. The proposed amendment would have reversed a series of US Supreme Court decisions which have permitted for the unhindered flow of money in election campaigns.
  3. Elections were recently conducted in Fiji for electing members to the nation’s Parliament. Voreqe Bainimarama who leads the Fiji First Party and who had led the coup in 2006, claimed that his party has won the elections and that he will now serve as the democratically elected head of the government.
  4. The Catalonian Parliament has voted upon legislation which permits for a ‘non-binding consultation’ on the question of Catalonia separating from Spain. Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister of Spain, however, has opposed the holding of any consultation on Catalonia’s independence and declared that he will raise the question of the law’s tenability in the Constitutional Court. The consultation is being held to sense the mood of Catalonians on the question of independence.
  5. The Bangladeshi Parliament passed an amendment to the Constitution which now empowers Parliament to commence impeachment proceedings against the justices of the Bangladeshi Supreme Court. Prior to the amendment, the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice in consultation with a panel of judges would inquire into acts of judicial impropriety.

Elsewhere on the Web

  1. Meghan Campbell, Recognising Maternity Leave as a Human Rights Obligation, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  2. Amrita Nandy, Ticking outside the box, The Indian Express
  3. Stoyan Panov, The Tales of Two Transitional Constitutions, Jurist
  4. Sean Fine, Legal observers worry future of judicial appointments will be done in secret, The Globe and Mail
  5. Gautam Bhatia, Privacy, Self-Incrimination and Article 20(3)- I; Privacy Self-Incrimination and Article 20(3)- II: Kathi Kalu Oghad, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy

Call for Papers/Conferences

  1. Entries are invited by Projections for its issue on ‘Rethinking the Role of Law in Urban Planning: Policy and Development.’ Abstracts of papers are due by the 30th of October, 2014.
  2. A call for papers has been issued by the Commonwealth Legal Education Association for a conference on ‘Transnational Legal Education: Commonwealth Perspectives’ to be held at Glasgow Caledonian University on the 9th and 10th of April, 2015. Abstracts for the second round of selection are due by the 28th of November, 2014.
  3. Abstracts of papers are invited for an international conference on ‘Legal argumentation and the rule of law’ to be hosted at the Erasmus School of Law on the 26th of June, 2015. Abstracts are due by the 1st of October.
  4. The Centre of Legal and Institutional Translation Studies is hosting a conference on ‘Law, Translation and Culture’ from the 24th to the 27th of June, 2015. Abstracts are due by the 18th of October, 2014.
  5. Submissions are invited by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics for its conference on ‘Law, Religion, And American Health Care’ to be held on the 8th and 9th of May, 2015 at Harvard Law School. Abstracts must be sent in by the 1st of December, 2014.
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Published on September 22, 2014
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Video Interview: Colombian Constitutional Law Featuring Carlos Bernal

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this third installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, Carlos Bernal discusses Colombian constitutional law.

In the interview, we explore the new model of constitutional design evident in Colombia and other Latin American countries, as well as the role of the powerful Colombian Constitutional Court in enforcing socio-economic rights and policing the constitutionality of constitutional amendments.

Carlos Bernal is an Associate Professor at Macquarie Law School in Australia, where he teaches and writes about comparative constitutional law, jurisprudence and torts. His has published scholarly papers in several languages–including French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish–on the nature, structure and enforcement of constitutional rights, constitutional change, the philosophical underpinnings of tort law, and the connection between law and social ontology.

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Published on September 19, 2014
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Foreign Law

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

Yesterday at Yale Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer once again affirmed that foreign court judgments are relevant to the interpretation of the United States Constitution.

About a decade ago, Justice Breyer debated Justice Antonin Scalia on the constitutional relevance of foreign court decisions. In that debate, whose video and transcript is now available, Justice Scalia took the view that foreign law is largely irrelevant:

Now, my theory of what I do when I interpret the American Constitution is I try to understand what it meant, what was understood by the society to mean when it was adopted. And I don’t think it changes since then.

Now, obviously if you have that philosophy — which, by the way, used to be orthodoxy until about 60 years ago — every judge would tell you that’s what we do. If you have that philosophy, obviously foreign law is irrelevant with one exception: Old English law, because phrases like “due process,” the “right of confrontation” and things of that sort were all taken from English law. So the reality is I use foreign law more than anybody on the Court. But it’s all old English law.

All right, if you have that theory, you can understand why foreign law is irrelevant. So he will never convert me.

Justice Breyer expressed the contrary view, and repeated it yesterday. As reported by the Yale Daily News, “according to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the Constitution has five core values, and the key to preserving those values lies in being aware of what is going on in the rest of the world.”

Asked whether the U.S. Supreme Court should consider foreign law judgments when interpreting the United States Constitution, Justice Breyer responded that foreign judgments are relevant and that it does not undermine what makes the United States Constitution special to consider them. The Yale Daily News describes Justice Breyer’s answer in this way:

To Breyer, looking at what judges in other countries decide is useful — and this tactic, he said, does not strip America of its uniqueness. “The only way to preserve our American values, which are now widely shared, is to know more ­— not less — about what is going on abroad,” he remarked.

The debate on the relevance of foreign law continues.

Suggested Citation: Richard Albert, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Foreign Law, Sept. 19, 2014, available at:

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Published on September 19, 2014
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Video Interview: The New Egyptian Constitution Featuring Mohamed Arafa

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this second installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, Mohamed Arafa discusses the new Egyptian Constitution.

The interview touches on the entrenchment of human rights in the new Constitution, the designation of Islam as the official religion, as well as whether the military constitutes an unofficial “fourth branch” of government.

Mohamed Arafa teaches criminal law and criminal justice at Alexandria University (Egypt) and Islamic law at Indiana University (United States). He is a member of the Council on International Law and Politics, the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association and, among others, the Arab Society for Commercial and Maritime Law. His recent work concerns corruption and anti-bribery law, Islamic law, comparative criminal law, and Middle Eastern and Egyptian politics. His scholarship is available for download here.

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Published on September 17, 2014
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Call for I-CONnect Contributors

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

I-CONnect invites scholars of all ranks, including doctoral candidates, to become Contributors to this blog.

Contributors will be expected to submit one substantive post every other month on a timely subject of their choice concerning comparative public law. Each post will range between 750 to 1000 words, though a given post may be longer if necessary. All posts must pass editorial review before publication. Contributors will be expected to commit to I-CONnect for one year.

Interested scholars are invited to send an email to no later than October 1, 2014.

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Published on September 16, 2014
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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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. In the European Court of Human Rights, Privacy International has challenged the British government’s secret “Five Eyes” spy pact—which allegedly outlines UK security services’ collaboration with the US National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence agencies—arguing that the pact should be made transparent.
  2. The High Court of Australia defined the constitutional limits on immigration detention, holding that the government can lawfully detain someone only for certain purposes (i.e., to consider whether to let someone apply for a visa, to consider an application for a visa, or to remove someone) and that detention is only lawful if these purposes are being “pursued and carried into effect as soon as reasonably practicable.”
  3. The Indian Government has filed objections to the Supreme Court’s April ruling on transgender rights.
  4. The US Supreme Court listed gay marriage petitions from five states–Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin–for consideration at its September 29, 2014 private conference.
  5. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a ban on gay conversion therapy in New Jersey.

New Scholarship

  1. Ran Hirschl, Comparative Matters: The Renaissance of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press 2014) (examining the analytical foundations, historical origins and antecedents, epistemology, and methodologies of comparative constitutional law, and providing a roadmap for the development of the field; a must-read for all scholars of comparative public law)
  2. Ligia M. De Jesus, Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Comparative Analysis of Domestic Laws and Relevant Jurisprudence Following the Adoption of the American Convention on Human Rights, ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 20, No. 36, 2014 (examining whether recent trends in legislation and jurisprudence favor recognition of abortion rights in Latin America and the Caribbean)
  3. Peter L. Lindseth, Reconciling Europe and National Parliaments: Reflections on Technocracy, Democracy, and Post-Crisis Integration, Amministrazione In Cammino: Parlamento, Note e Commenti, 2014 (arguing for caution in using the idea of Europeanization to describe the changes in national parliamentary responsibilities and procedures as a consequence of integration and asserting that there is a risk of understating the “legitimacy resources” possessed by national parliaments as the constitutional expression of self-government in the European system)
  4. Engy Abdelkader, Animal Protection Theory in U.S. and Islamic Law: A Comparative Analysis with a Human Rights Twist, UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law, 2015, Forthcoming (highlighting the compatibility of Islamic and Western ideals vis-à-vis a comparative analysis of animal protection principles and arguing that the Islamic legal duty to respect, protect, and care for nonhuman animals underscores the heightened legal duty to fellow human beings)
  5. Joseph Wright, James Honaker, and Barbara Geddes, The Latent Characteristics That Structure Autocratic Rule, APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper (using historical data on 30 features of autocracies to estimate the latent dimensions of autocratic rule)
  6. Suryapratim Roy, Privileging (some Forms of) Interdisciplinarity and Interpretation: Methods in Comparative Law, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Issue 3, 2014, Forthcoming (addressing how comparative law scholars should engage with other disciplines)

In the News

  1. Both houses of Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliament have approved constitutional reform, which now awaits assent from the country’s president, Anthony Carmona, before it becomes law.
  2. Tanzania’s Constituent Assembly process aimed at producing a new constitution has been postponed until after the country’s 2015 general election.
  3. Thousands have already cast their votes in Scotland’s independence referendum.
  4. President Cristina Fernandez signed into a law a bill authorizing payments on foreign-held bonds, circumventing a US court ruling that prohibited Argentina from paying bondholders until Argentina resolves its legal dispute with a group of New York hedge funds over unpaid debt from Argentina’s 2002 default.
  5. President Benigno Aquino III urged the Philippines Congress to enact a draft law that would create an autonomous Muslim region in the south of the country.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Claudia E. Haupt, Speaking Professionally, The Huffington Post
  2. Shawn Marie Boyne, Vatican Injustice, Comparative Law Prof Blog
  3. Sheriff Kumba Jobe, Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, AfricLaw
  4. Lauren Carasik, Haiti’s Fragile Democracy, JURIST – Forum
  5. Graeme Reid, International Law and the Uncertainty of Rights of LGBT People, JURIST – Hotline

Calls for Papers / Conferences

  1. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law invites submissions for its fourth annual conference, to be held on April 16-17, 2015, at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida.
  2. The American Society of Comparative Law and the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University invite submissions for the annual Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 6-7, 2015, at Princeton University.
  3. Boston College Law School and the International Association of Constitutional Law’s Research Group on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change invite submissions for a full-day workshop on comparative constitutional amendment, to be held on the campus of Boston College Law School on Friday, May 15, 2015.
  4. Editors of the Spanish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 18 (2013-2014), have issued a call for papers on any topic in the field of public and private international law and international relations.
  5. LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop to be held at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on October 9, 2014.
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Published on September 15, 2014
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