Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. South Africa: Constitutional Court hears ‘down syndrome’ case.
  2. Texas: Federal court struck down Texas anti-abortion provision.
  3. Colombia: Constitutional Court ruled that sexual orientation cannot be applied as a discriminatory factor in second-parent adoption cases.
  4. Germany: Constitutional Court rules that the complaint filed by former MP in child porn case was both inadmissible and unsubstantiated.
  5. Canada: Ontario’s top court rules that a Roman Catholic man cannot challenge a royal succession law that he argues discriminates against his religion.

In the News

  1. Canada: Federal Court of Canada Chief Justice Paul Crampton is pushing back against suggestions of bias in the government’s favour following Justice Marc Nadon’s failed nomination to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  2. Singapore: Malaysian Drug courier spared death now challenges caning sentence.
  3. Germany has published new draft cybersecurity law.
  4. Uzbekistan: The Senate of Uzbekistan has elected the Constitutional Court’s chairman.
  5. Texas: A County district court rules Texas School Financial system unconstitutional.
  6. California: Legislature bans plastic grocery bags.
  7. Europe: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk became president of the European Council and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini was appointed diplomacy chief at a Brussels summit.
  8. Japan: A court in Fukushima has ruled that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Japanese nuclear power plant operator, can be held responsible for the suicide of a woman who became depressed after the 2011 meltdown.

New Scholarship

  1. Richard Primus, Enumeration and Continuity, University of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 416,  (detailing the principle of enumerated powers of Congress, developing the idea of continuity tenders, showing that the survival of the enumeration principle in the face of its practical unreality can be understood as a ritual method of asserting continuity with America’s constitutional past, and arguing that present conditions require this ritual to be retired)
  2. Lucia Dalla Pellegrina, Nuno M. Garoupa, Fernando Gomez-Pomar, Estimating Judicial Ideal Points in the Spanish Supreme Court: The Case of Administrative Review, SSRN working paper series, (presenting an estimation of ideal points for the Justices of the Supreme Court of Spain in the specific area of administrative review for the period 2000-2008. The estimated ideal points allow the authors to identify political clusters in the Supreme Court which seems inconsistent with the formal and traditional views that a career judiciary is not strongly politically aligned and favors consensus, formalism and dissent avoidance.)
  3. Rosalind Dixon, Partial Constitution Codes, University of New South Wales Research Paper No. 2014-37 (arguing that the benefit of codified drafting constitutions’ approach is that it provides a stronger constraint on judges to give indirect attention to the aims and understandings of the drafters, regardless of their legal or political ideology. The potential cost, however, is that almost any constitutional code will inevitably be incomplete as a constraint on judges; and for some judges, the mere attempt at constitutional codification by drafters may discourage the kind of sympathetic, purposive approach to interpretation necessary to fill relevant gaps. The article makes these arguments using case-studies from South Africa and India relating to the rights to property and freedom of expression.)
  4. Christopher McCrudden, State Architecture: Subsidiary, Devolution, Federalism and Independence, University of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 417 (This chapter examines the current ‘architecture’ of the British state, in particular the way in which governmental power is distributed among the nations of the United Kingdom: showing how the continuing tension between centripetal and centrifugal forces can be usefully applied to power relations between the various nations of the United Kingdom, and between these nations and Europe, providing a basis for analyzing how these nations are drawn or impelled by some forces towards a centralized unitary polity, whilst at the same time other forces tend towards dispersion of power.)
  5. Benjamin Alarie, Andrew James Green, Docket Control at the Supreme Court of Canada: What’s Behind the Screen?, SSRNworking paper series (The authors investigate how the institutional structure for deciding which cases to hear affected the agenda of the Supreme Court of Canada over the period from 1990 to the present. The authors examine whether the justices’ participation in the leave to appeal process suggests that there has been ideological agenda setting at the Supreme Court of Canada)
  6. Nicola Lupo and Lucia Scaffardi, Comparative Law in Legislative Drafting, The Increasing Importance of Dialogue among Parliaments (Eleven, International Publishing) (examining whether contemporary parliaments use foreign law in the legislative process)
  7. Christina Mulligan, Michael Douma, Hans Lind, Founding-Era Translations of the United States Constitution, SSRNworking papers series (Before its ratification, the United States Constitution was translated into German and Dutch for the German- and Dutch-speaking populations of Pennsylvania and New York. Although copies of both the German- and Dutch-language translations have been preserved, they have largely escaped analysis — and public awareness — until now. This paper provides historical context for these translations and analyzes how they might aid our interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in the present day)

Call for Papers

  1. The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society  Call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in Seattle on May 28-31, 2015.
  2. The NLS Business Law Review is now accepting submissions for its inaugural issue.
  3. The Center for Law, Economics and Finance (C-LEAF) at The George Washington University Law School Call for papers for its fifth annual Junior Faculty Business and Financial Law Workshop and Junior Faculty Scholarship Prizes to be held on February 27-28, 2015 at GW Law School in Washington, DC.
  4. The Northern Kentucky Law Review seeks submissions for its symposium, “The New Era in Gaming Law,” on March 20, 2015.
  5. Asia Pacific Law Review welcomes submission of papers for publication.
  6. The American Society for Law, Medicine and Ethics (ASLME) invites submissions for the first annual bioIP New Scholars Workshop, which will take place May 7, 2015, at Boston University School of Law.
  7. Transnational Dispute Management invites submissions for a special issue on Dispute Resolution from a Corporate Perspective.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. David Schultz, Amend the Constitution to restore the democracy the Roberts court killed, The
  2. Jonathan Kendall, Florida’s same-sex couples could start marrying on September 22 if Rick Scott team lets Courts ruling stand,
  3. Richard Javad Heydarian, Indonesia and The Philippines: A tale of two democracies: The Philippines and Indonesia are moving in opposite directions along their democratic paths,
  4. Lyle Denniston, Constitution Check: Who decides who gets to vote?,
  5. Lauren Carasik, Haiti’s Fragile Democracy,
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Published on September 1, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Can Indonesia Learn From the Thai Constitutional Court?

Stefanus Hendrianto, Santa Clara University School of Law

The political drama of the 2014 Indonesian presidential election has ended with the recent Constitutional Court decision to reject the complaint of the defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and declare that his rival, Joko Widodo, will be the next Indonesian president. In the presidential election that took place on July 9, 2014, Subianto garnered 62.5 million votes, almost 8.5 million votes behind Widodo. Subianto, however, refused to concede and claimed that he has been denied victory by fraud and immediately challenged the election result in the Constitutional Court. Having spent more than three weeks reviewing the case, the Court rejected all of Subianto’s complaints and ruled that there was no evidence of systematic and massive electoral fraud in favor of Widodo.[i]

As the political drama has come to an end, there is an interesting debate in the Court that went largely unnoticed. Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a constitutional law professor cum politician, made a proposition that sparked a new debate on the role of the Court in general election disputes. In the recent presidential election dispute, Subianto’s camp asked Mahendra to testify in Court as an expert. Mahendra urged the Court not only to review the final result of the presidential election, but also to review the constitutionality of the presidential election process as a whole. Moreover, Mahendra recommended that the Court look at the experience of the Thai Constitutional Court in dealing with general election disputes. That Court in turn has been highly interventionist in general elections. Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 27, 2014
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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. Indonesia’s Constitutional Court rejects challenge to presidential election result.
  2. Portugal’s Constitutional Court partially rejects salary cuts, pension tax.
  3. Uganda Constitutional Court strikes down anti-gay law.
  4. India’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Congress Party’s appeal that it violated campaign finance laws.
  5. Tennessee Supreme Court rules State Constitution requires government to compensate private property owners for regulatory takings of property.
  6. Federal judge rejects independent voters challenge to N.J. primary system.
  7. Federal Court rules Indiana must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

In the News

  1. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is indicted on charge of abuse of power.
  2. Missouri weighs unusual addition to its constitution: Right to Farm.
  3. Virginia same-sex marriage supporters urge Supreme Court not to block ruling.
  4. Pakistan protesters reach capital as Supreme Court issues warning.
  5. Judges are often impotent in China’s courtrooms. That might be changing.

New Scholarships

  1. Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg & James Melton, Imagining a World without the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (The article builds towards a prediction of the content of the world’s constitutions, conditional upon the absence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It identifies two empirical implications for drafting constitutions subsequent to 1948: (1) that its content has projected onto subsequent national constitutions; (2) that the UDHR’s similarity to post-UDHR constitutions represents some deviation from the trajectory of constitutional design.)
  2. Adrian Vermeule, Beard and Holmes on Constitutional Adjudication, Constitutional Commentary, Forthcoming (The article shows that standard approaches to constitutional adjudication are resolutely internal and have little use for the external standpoint of Beardian scholarship. It also describes a strategy of reconciliation offered by Justice Holmes, one that connects external and internal perspectives by means of a non-ideal theory of constitutional judging under political constraints.)
  3. Eugene Kontorovich, Three International Courts and Their Constitutional Problems, Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming (The article address challenges regarding the US potential participation in the International Criminal Court by responding to an argument that constitutional objections raised by John Quincy Adams and others were motivated by ideological considerations. It also examines the constitutional debate over the International Prize Court, and the Slave-Trade Tribunals.)
  4. Gregory Ablavsky, Beyond the Indian Commerce Clause, Yale Law Journal, Forthcoming (The article discusses the argument that the Indian Commerce Clause is the primary constitutional basis for the exercise of federal power over Indian affairs. It also highlights the inadequacy of the Indian Commerce Clause as the principal constitutional foundation for the federal Indian affairs power.)
  5. Neomi Rao, Removal: Necessary and Sufficient for Presidential Control, 65(5) Alabama L Rev 1205 (2014) (The author’s explains why Congress’s authority over agency structure must have judicially enforceable limits in order to prevent encroachment on the executive power. The article discusses how the ability to remove principal officers is necessary and sufficient for presidential control of the executive branch.)
  6. Ioanna Tourkochoriti, The Snowden Revelations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Divide between U.S.-E.U. in Data Privacy Protection, 36 Univ of Arkansas at Little Rock L Rev 161 (2014) (The paper analyses the key differences in data privacy protection between the European Union and the United States in reference to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the reactions in Europe following the Snowden revelations.)
  7. Mark Elliott, Constitutional Legislation, European Union Law and the Nature of the United Kingdom’s Contemporary Constitution, European Constitutional Law Review (Forthcoming) (The article analyses the judgment of the UK Supreme Court in R (HS2 Action Alliance Ltd) v Secretary of State for Transport [2014] UKSC 3, [2014] 1 WLR 324.)
  8. Veronika Fikfak, Domestic Courts’ Enforcement of Decisions and Opinions of the International Court of Justice, Mads Andenas and Eirik Bjorge, eds., A Farewell to Fragmentation: Reassertion and Convergence in international law, Cambridge: CUP, 2014 (Forthcoming) (Investigates the role of domestic courts in the implementation of decisions of the ICJ in the domestic legal order, and examines how domestic courts have reacted to the decisions and opinions of the ICJ.)

Call for Papers

  1. The Socio-Legal Review welcomes contributions for its eleventh volume to be released in 2015.
  2. The Stanford Law Review is now accepting submissions for publication in Volume 67.
  3. The Lincoln Memorial University Law Review invites submissions related to its Spring 2015 Symposium entitled “The Snowden Effect: The Impact of Spilling National Secrets.” to be held on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the LMU-Duncan School of Law.
  4. The Australian International Law Journal invites submissions for Volume 21.
  5. The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference to be held on March 5 and 6, 2015.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. Michael Coenen, “Congress” Versus “the Congress”, Concurring Opinions
  2. Gerard Magliocca, The Incorporation of the Seventh Amendment, Concurring Opinions
  3. Gabriel Arana, Supreme Court’s gay encore: Why the marriage equality battle is not over yet, Salon
  4. Seth Barrett Tillman, Court of Appeal just a new version of Supreme Court – only more costly, The Irish Times
  5. Jacob Gershman, Ferguson Unrest Focuses Attention on Rights of Protesters, WSJ Law Blog
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Published on August 25, 2014
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Legislative and Executive Term Limits in Alberta  

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

An important race is underway in Alberta, one of Canada’s ten provinces. In September, paid-up members of the Progressive Conservative Party will elect a new party leader, and the new leader will become the premier of Alberta.

One of the candidates, Jim Prentice, a former federal Cabinet minister and a lawyer by training, has pledged to impose legislative and executive term limits if he becomes premier. Under his plan, provincial members of parliament (MLAs) will be limited to three terms, and premiers to two.

Prentice argues that term limits are good for democracy:

It’s very democratic … it ensures that people stay grounded. There’s no reason someone can’t take a time-out and return to public life but it ensures turnover. It ensures our democratic process remains dynamic, innovative and creative. I’ve always believed in it.

Legislative and executive term limits may be a great idea but they are very likely unconstitutional, at least in Canada. In this short post, I explore why.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 24, 2014
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Article Review: Guy Seidman on Giulio Napolitano’s “Conflicts and Strategies in Administrative Law”

[Editor's Note: In this special installment of I•CONnect's Article Review Series, Guy Seidman and Dolores Utrilla offer separate reviews of Giulio Napolitano's article on Conflicts and Strategies in Administrative Law, which appears in the current issue of I•CON. The full article is available for free here.]

Review by Guy Seidman: Putting the Study of Administrative Law Where it Belongs–Front and Center

Guy I. Seidman, Professor of Law, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel

It is with great delight that I am reviewing Prof. Napolitano’s paper entitled “Conflicts and Strategies in Administrative Law”, a thought provoking theoretical analysis of administrative law. It deals with some of the most profound issues concerning administrative law regimes in a way that is multi-disciplinary and relevant in virtually every nation wishing to establish an effective regime of the kind. To explain my interest and enthusiasm for this paper let me set it in its context, then discuss the actual paper.

Public law is the body of law dealing with government: it answers fundamental questions such as how is government formed, what powers if has, and what legal limitations are placed on its operation. We commonly translate this general statement into the specific legal fields (and courses) that are covered under the term ‘public law’ which are constitutional law, administrative law, and many more fields where government agencies are the prime actors (such as criminal law but also tax law and environmental law).

The first two fields somewhat overlap, but they are, at least to me, quite clearly distinct: I see constitutional law as dealing with the foundations – the framework creating and empowering government and securing basic human rights and civil liberties – and administrative law as the branch of law governing the organization and actual operation of public agencies.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 23, 2014
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Article Review: Dolores Utrilla on Giulio Napolitano’s “Conflicts and Strategies in Administrative Law”

[Editor's Note: In this special installment of I•CONnect's Article Review Series, Dolores Utrilla and Guy Seidman offer separate reviews of Giulio Napolitano's article on Conflicts and Strategies in Administrative Law, which appears in the current issue of I•CON. The full article is available for free here.]

Review by Dolores Utrilla: Conflictual Administrative Law and the European Perspective

Dolores Utrilla Fernández-Bermejo, Assistant of Administrative Law and Research Fellow of the Center for European Studies, University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)

Giulio Napolitano’s paper Conflicts and strategies in administrative law offers a highly suggestive conflictual view of administrative law. Without absolutely rejecting the traditional conception thereof as a repository of rules and principles with vocation of permanence and gained through the tension between public power and individual rights, the author proposes to complement it with a vision which best fits the current dynamics of conformation of law in general, and administrative law in particular.

In Napolitano’s view, the principles and rules of this area of law largely express the outcome of the underlying conflicts among political, institutional and economic actors. Apart from defining these conflicts, the main contribution of the author consists of identifying some patterns of action used by the agents competing against each other for obtaining legal scenarios which are favourable to their respective interests. Three of such strategies are specifically addressed: power to rule, coalition capacity and costs allocation. The result is a dynamic and flexible view of the formation of administrative law that offers a new perspective to the scientific analysis which is yet to be developed, especially within legal scholarship of continental Europe.

Indeed, the conflictual vision of administrative law is already well known in the Anglo-Saxon academic doctrine. There, a broad doctrinal discussion has taken place during the last decades on the influence of the struggle among economic agents, as well as among political actors, in the shaping of administrative law. The academic literature on regulatory capture[1] and on conflicts between the legislative and the executive branch for the control of administrative action[2] are far enough illustrative in this regard.

The adoption of this dynamic vision of administrative law can be particularly useful to address recent developments in the European multilevel legal system. In this sense, I will next focus on three considerations from the many raised by Napolitano’s study. The first one concerns the relevance in Europe of what the author designates as political conflicts. The second relates to the use of the strategy of the power to rule on the construction of administrative law at the different levels of the European plural legal system. The third and final consideration refers to the role of the judiciary in the conflictual conformation of administrative law.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 23, 2014
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Constitutional Reform in Grenada

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

The Constitution of Grenada, still today a statute of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, may soon become a truly Grenadian Constitution. Grenada is in the process of reforming its constitution to give its people a constitution of their own making. And when the process concludes, the country may have a new name.

Previous efforts to reform the Constitution of Grenada have been twice interrupted since 1974, when the country’s current constitution came into force. The first time, in 1985, the government appointed an official Constitutional Review Commission to make recommendations for revising the Constitution but the government later chose not to proceed. Some of the Commission’s recommendations included establishing an Electoral College to choose a President, creating new formal amendment rules, and formalizing the rule that Parliament cannot strip the courts of jurisdiction.

Then, in 2006, another official Constitutional Review Commission made recommendations for constitutional reform. The government had appointed the Commission in 2002 with the intent to proceed this time, but once again the government took no action on the Commission’s recommendations. Some of the Commission’s recommendations included creating a ceremonial presidency, imposing a two-term limit for the prime minister, and establishing fixed election dates.

It looks like the third attempt may bear fruit. The government of Prime Minister Keith Mitchell convened a Constitutional Reform Advisory Committee in January 2014, and is now prepared to act on at least some of its recommendations. The Committee is chaired by Dr. Francis Alexis, a distinguished constitutional scholar and former Attorney-General of Grenada.

In this short post, I review some of the Committee’s recommendations and offer one of my own.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 20, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Developments

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

Development in Constitutional Courts

  1. Four new justices have been appointed to the Supreme Court of India. With the addition of these justices, the total number of Supreme Court judges now stands at 30, a notch below its full strength.
  2. Ricardo Lewandowski has been elected as the President of the Brazilian Supreme Court, and will replace Joaquim Barbosa who had in June this year expressed his desire to step down from the Court.
  3. A judge in Tennessee has affirmed a state law which bars the official recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.
  4. The Ontario Court of Appeal in Canada ruled that the requirement of prospective citizens to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen as per the Citizenship Act, is constitutional and is not a form of forced speech.
  5. The European Court of Human Rights, ruling on a batch of petitions brought by prisoners incarcerated in the United Kingdom, declared that the UK’s prohibition on prisoner’s exercising their franchise was in breach of their suffrage rights. The Court, however, declined awarding monetary recompense for the rights violation.

New Scholarship

  1. Shai Dothan, In Defence of Expansive Human Rights Interpretation in the European Court of Human Rights, 3 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014) (presenting a defense of, and analyzing the benefits which flow from, the European Court of Human Rights’ method of broadening the ambit of human rights that ought to be protected by member states)
  2. Lee Epstein & Andrew D. Martin, An Introduction to Empirical Legal Research (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) (emphasizing the increasing importance of empirical legal inquires and explaining the framework within which empirical analysis should be engaged in)
  3. James Bernard Murphy, The Philosophy of Customary Law (Oxford University Press, 2014) (jurisprudentially analyzing the meaning of customs and evaluating the position and impact of customs within the formal legal structures)
  4. Annick Masselot & Anthony Maymont, Balanced Representation between Men and Women in Business Law: The French ‘Quota’ System to the Test of EU Legislation, Centre for European Law and Legal Studies Online Paper Series (University of Leeds, 2014) (examining the nature of gender disparity in the appoint of female board members in European Union based companies, and positing on the useful lessons that can be learned from the French efforts towards attaining gender equality)
  5. Bryne Michael, Can the Hong Kong ICAC Help Reduce Corruption on the Mainland, 2 Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 78 (2014) (analyzing the positive role of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in combating corruption in Hong Kong, and evaluating how the introduction of specific changes in the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance can strengthen the Commission’s ability to properly target corruption in mainland China)

In the News

  1. The Indian Parliament formally passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, a piece of legislation which seeks to reform the process by which justices are appointed to the high courts and Supreme Court by creating a stand-alone body to deliberate on judicial appointments. The bill, which will effect an amendment to the Indian Constitution will be transmitted to the states for ratification.
  2. The Brazilian president assented to a law which endeavors to offer holistic protection to domestic workers. This law regulates important aspects of domestic work such as working hours, and wage payments.
  3. The House of Representatives in Trinidad has approved a constitutional amendment proposal to establish a term limit for the prime minister, to institute a recall procedure for parliamentarians, and to require all elected representatives to win a majority of the vote in their electoral district.
  4. The American president, Barack Obama, has called on voters to provide the Democrats with a working majority in the Senate, since this would be essential for the Obama administration to successfully nominate justices to the US Supreme Court, which he hopes to do within his presidential term.
  5. Peter Nyomb, the Attorney General for Uganda, has instituted an appeal calling for a review of the Ugandan Constitutional Court’s invalidation of the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’.

Elsewhere on the Web

  1. KT Thomas, In defence of the collegium, The Indian Express
  2. David Cole, The Anti-Court Court, The New York Review of Books
  3. Bruno Dondero, Conflicts of interests: the French Law approach, Le Blog du professeur Bruno Dondero
  4. Dimitrina Petrova, Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law and our cultural wars, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  5. Renáta Uitz, Worthy of a second look? The Chamber judgment in the Hungarian church re-registration case, ECHR Blog

Call for Papers/Conferences

  1. Max Planck Institute for Human Development invites entries for a conference on ‘Criminal Law and Emotions in European Legal Cultures’ to be held on the 21st and 22nd of May, 2015.
  2. Participants are invited for the ‘Second International Conference on Interdisciplinary Legal Studies’ which is organized by the International Center for Research & Development and Unique Conference. The conference is scheduled to be held on the 9th and 10th of June, 2015.
  3. The Law and Development Institute in association with the Payson Centre and School for Law, Tulane University, invites submissions for a conference on ‘New Directions for Law and Development Studies’ to be held on the 10th of April, 2015. Single page abstracts are due by the 15th of October, 2015.
  4. Submissions are invited by the Australian International Law Journal for its 21st Volume. All submissions are due by the 12th of September, 2014.
  5. save the date has been announced by the European Society for International Law for its ‘Annual Summer Conference’ which is to be held from the 10th of September to the 12th of September, 2015.
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Published on August 18, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Turkey’s Presidential Elections: Towards the Confrontation between Constitutionalism and Power Politics

–Bertil Emrah Oder, Koç University Law School

The expected has happened: Prime Minister Erdoğan is the President-elect. He won in the first round of elections on August 10, 2014, by receiving an absolute majority of the valid votes cast, namely 51.79%.[i] He is the second President elected by popular vote after Kenan Evren, leader of military coup in 1980. Evren was elected directly as a result of a national referendum on the constitution in which support for the draft constitution also meant support for his presidential candidacy.

Results of the presidential election for other candidates were also in line with recent polls. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was the so-called joint candidate of 14 political parties including the main opposition party (CHP) and the Turkish nationalists (MHP). He gained nearly 38.44% of the valid votes. Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the recently established Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) signaling transformation of the pro-Kurdish party into an actor of mass politics, received 9.76%.

The unexpected was the voters’ attitudes towards non-participation in the elections, since in Turkey political interest in elections is traditionally high. Ballot box turnout for these presidential elections was strikingly low, namely 73.13%, which Turkey has never experienced since the late 1970s. There were approximately 2 million votes that were not cast compared to recent local election in March 2014. Even though it is unclear which segments of the society and which political tendencies declined to cast their votes, one can make assumptions based on recent local elections that may show the unwillingness of Turkish nationalists to vote and the inability of certain groups, such as seasonal employees, to vote during summer. Taking into account increased political polarization and the dominance of all-or-nothing politics in Turkey, this attitude must be carefully examined and analyzed.  While Turkish voters living abroad cast their votes for the first time in their resident countries, only 8% out of 2,8 million eligible voters living abroad casted their vote. It was also reported that more than 5,000 women who have been victims of domestic violence, which is a critical area of concern in Turkey, were also deprived of their right to vote because of protective measures and secrecy of identity.[ii]
Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 16, 2014
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The Uncelebrated Union

Neil Walker, University of Edinburgh

[Cross-posted from the Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum Blog]

Last week’s first televised debate of the referendum campaign revealed few surprises of tone or content, even if the outcome disappointed pro-independence hopes of a momentum-building surge in support.  As expected, Alex Salmond concentrated on  the core message  of political self-determination, and the prospect of the new Scotland embracing a model of social and economic solidarity that London is increasingly unable or unwilling to deliver.  With equal predictability, Alistair Darling for  ‘Better Together’ insisted upon the precariousness of the pro-independence position on currency, placing this at the suggestive centre of a wider  narrative contrasting the vulnerability of a fledgling Scottish polity to the  reassuring solidity of the existing British state with its broader institutional shoulders and deeper pockets. It was not, truth be told, a good night for the ‘ vision thing’. Salmond seemed somewhat less energised and less sure-footed than usual in his portrayal of the promised land, perhaps inhibited  by the artificial format of the TV duel and by the strong pre-debate expectations that his quick wits and populist style would win the day hands-down. For his part, Darling, true to form, simply chose not to let his political imagination off the leash. He stuck to a narrow brief, defending the status quo, or at least a soft focus version of it, and concentrating his fire on the supposed gaps  and shortcomings of the ‘Yes’ case.

For Better Together, as has so often been the case over  30 months of campaigning, what  was not said was more interesting and more revealing than what was. One particularly deafening silence, much commented on in the immediate aftermath, surrounded Darling’s refusal, despite many repeated invitations from his opponent,  to offer an explicit endorsement of the proposition  that Scotland could  be successful as an independent country. In an episode that  rapidly descended into Paxmanesque political  pantomime, and which hardly flattered either party, Darling’s discomfort was that of someone torn  between a desire not to offer a succulent soundbite  to the ‘Yes’ campaign  (‘Darling makes case for independence’), and an anxiety not to appear dismissive of the potential of his fellow Scots.

There was, however, another telling silence, less apparent,  quite unremarked in  post-debate commentary, but ultimately of deeper significance. On more than one occasion, Darling referred to Scotland as  ‘part of something larger’. Yet when he did so, he omitted to give that larger entity a name. This might seem trivial. After all, everyone knows where and what he was talking about -   who the ‘we’ are who, in his view, are and ought to remain  Better Together. And so, perhaps, we should read nothing more into his silence than a (reasonable) assumption of the self-evidence of his object of desire. Yet  that would be too simple an explanation. For Darling’s reticence  can also be seen as a mark of  reluctance, even of unease. It  betrays a sense that the state we are in is best  left understated, so to speak; and that it might be to the symbolic disadvantage of the ‘No’ campaign to apply a label to the entity whose preservation  they seek.

 An appreciation of why this is the case takes us to the heart of the question of Scotland’s constitutional future, not just over the vital final weeks of the referendum contest but also in the years to come.  Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on August 15, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Developments