Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and

Turkey Rolling Back the 2010 Reforms?

–Oya Yegen, Boston University, Department of Political Science

Turkish judges and prosecutors cast their votes last week for the election of 10 regular and 6 substitute new members to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK)[1]. The council’s new makeup has been the center of speculation. HSYK manages the Turkish judiciary and makes decisions regarding the appointment, promotion and expulsion of personnel within the judiciary and in total has 22 regular and 12 substitute members. It is quite unusual that the election process of such an institution is front and center.  In this post, I report on the expected new composition of HSYK, examine why Turkey witnessed such a contested election process, evaluate in retrospect how the 2010 constitutional amendments played out and examine the likelihood that the changes might be reversed in a future amendment.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on October 24, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

Invitation to Friends of I-CONnect: Constitution-Making and Constitutional Design at Boston College Law School

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

Friends of I-CONnect are invited to attend a full-day symposium on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Design on Friday, October 31, at Boston College Law School. Free registration is available here.

Panelists will inquire into the period of transition between old and new constitutions, the mechanics of constitution-making and -breaking, the role that courts play in constitution-making and constitutional design, and non-constitutional influences on constitutional development. The full program appears below.

This symposium is generously funded by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. Joining me on the organizing committee are Gene Mazo (Wake Forest), Vanessa MacDonnell (Ottawa), Joel Colon-Rios (Victoria-Wellington), Will Partlett (Hong Kong) and Bart Szewczyk (Columbia).

The keynote address will be given by Ran Hirschl, Professor of Political Science and Law & Canada Research Chair in Constitutionalism, Democracy and Development at the University of Toronto.

Darin Johnson, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions (2012-2014) in the U.S. Department of State, will make closing remarks.




Boston College Law School
Symposium on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Design
October 31, 2014

Richard Albert


Keynote Address: Ran Hirschl, University of Toronto

Panel I: The Period Between Old and New Constitutions

1. Joel Colon-Rios, Victoria University of Wellington
2. Oran Doyle, Trinity College Dublin
3. Kate Glover, McGill University
4. Mark Graber, University of Maryland
5. Rick Kay, University of Connecticut (Moderator)
6. Carissima Mathen, University of Ottawa
7. Ozan Varol, Lewis & Clark Law School

This panel will examine the extraordinary period of time in the life of a country when its citizens decide to abandon one constitutional order and adopt another. How should we understand the time frame before a new constitution-making process actually begins, when the state’s existing constitution may have been rejected but a new constitution is not yet in place? What principles and legal institutions should guide the exercise of political power during such periods, so as to maintain the maximum level of stability and promote the legitimacy of the emerging constitutional order? These are some of the questions that scholars interested in the transition between old and new constitutions must address.

They are questions about the nature and limits of constituent power, about the nature and risk of a break in the chain of legality, and about how constitutionalism should deal with a successful revolution. When examined from the perspective of constitutional design, questions like these move our attention away both from the constitutional text and the internal dynamics of the constitution-making process and force us to analyze and develop mechanisms and strategies to facilitate the birth of a new constitutional order. They also require us to consider the role of the institutions established under the old order (such as courts), as well as the role of principles recognized by the international community (such as fundamental human rights), in controlling the political power of would-be constitution-makers.

The papers presented in this panel will reflect on these and other questions through both theoretical and comparative analysis, and in so doing, they will seek to better understand and analyze the time period in which constitutional transitions occur.

Papers to be published in the peer-reviewed National Journal of Constitutional Law.

Panel II: Constitution-Making and -Breaking

1. Andrew Arato, The New School for Social Research
2. David Landau, Florida State University
3. Eugene Mazo, Wake Forest University
4. Mark Tushnet, Harvard University
5. Mila Versteeg, University of Virginia (Moderator)

This panel will probe the process of constitution-making, rather than the period of time in which it takes place. Scholars have yet to develop robust theories to explain the internal dynamics of the constitution-making process itself, including theories concerning who should write a new constitution, how constitutional framers should be selected, the ways in which they should deliberate, and how new constitutions are best ratified. The existing theories of the constitution-making process tend to be parsimonious and incomplete, and they also do not transfer well across different cultural and political settings. To the extent that the “constitutional moment” provides a useful heuristic device for thinking about constitutional-making, this panel will bring together several leading scholars to explain how the process of constitution-making should be carried out. How should we choose constitutional framers? Where do the ideas that framers have come from? And which factors most influence the provisions that these framers write? By examining the internal dynamics of the constitution-making process from both theoretical and comparative perspectives, this panel will seek to address these questions.

In focusing on these issues, the scholars on this panel will examine the internal mechanics of constitutional moments. As a sovereign state seeks to be governed by a new basic law or to abide by the rules of a new founding document, this panel will seek not only to illuminate the outcome of constitutional deliberations, but also to elaborate on how the process of constitution-making is carried out. The scholars on this panel will also discuss the ways in which old constitutions may be legally retired before they are replaced, and they will work to distinguish the process of constitution-making from the period in which it takes place. These two concepts have been conflated, though they are theoretically and conceptually distinct.

Papers to be published in the Wake Forest Law Review.

Panel III: The Role of Constitutional Courts in Constitutional Design

1. Kevin Cope, Georgetown University
2. David Fontana, George Washington University
3. Gábor Halmai, Princeton University
4. William Partlett, Chinese University of Hong Kong
5. Ruti Teitel, New York Law School (Moderator)

This panel will consider the role of courts in constitution-making. Conventional wisdom holds that courts should play a highly limited role in a process of constitution-making. From a normative standpoint, constitution-making is viewed as a process of higher lawmaking, where “the people” should not be limited by courts in the expression of their “constituent power.” From a more pragmatic standpoint, however, constitution-making is viewed as a process involving highly politicized, non-judicial questions that courts cannot adequately solve. A number of legal doctrines reflect these rationales, including the constituent power doctrine in Latin America, the acts of sovereignty doctrine in the Middle East, and the political question doctrine in the United States. Yet comparative experience reveals that courts often intervene in highly contentious disputes when they engage in the constitution-making process. This panel will consider this involvement. Is it improper for courts to intervene in constitution-making? Do courts help improve the process of constitution-making by forcing compromise and consensus? If courts are indeed to play a productive role in constitution-making, how do we ensure that they do not become captured by a minority faction and undermine the popular will? Finally, how should courts actually confront powerful political forces?

The scholars on this panel will consider these and other questions from both theoretical and comparative perspectives. Drawing on a wide range of sources—including comparative experience and judicial doctrine—they will seek to expand our understanding of the complex relationship between judicial review and constitutional design.

Papers to be published in the Wake Forest Law Review.

Panel IV: Non-Constitutional Influences on Constitutional Law and Constitutional Design

1. Richard Albert, Boston College Law School
2. Francesca Bignami, George Washington University
3. Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto
4. Vanessa MacDonnell, University of Ottawa
5. Russell Miller, Washington & Lee University
6. Bart Szewczyk, Columbia University
7. Katharine Young, Boston College (Moderator)

This panel will examine the interaction between constitutional and non-constitutional sources of law and the institutions that interpret and apply them. The papers on this panel suggest that constitutional law and constitutional design may invariably be influenced by the conceptual underpinnings and methods of extra-constitutional mechanisms, and vice versa. Constitutional scholarship must therefore account for the sometimes complex relationship between these two bodies of law.

The scholars comprising this panel will focus on how international law, statutes, administrative law, Islamic law and the common law interact with domestic constitutional law. They will also examine the role of institutional actors—including international organizations and tribunals, administrative decision-makers, and legislators—in shaping and pushing the boundaries of domestic constitutional law.

Papers to be published in the peer-reviewed Osgoode Hall Law Journal.

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Published on October 23, 2014
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Video Interview: A New Typology of Judicial Review Featuring Joel Colón-Ríos

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, I interview Joel Colón-Ríos on the subject of judicial review. His most recent paper, appearing here in the new journal Global Constitutionalism, addresses judicial review and is entitled “A New Typology of Judicial Review of Legislation.”

In the interview, we discuss his four-part typology of judicial review, Commonwealth and Latin American constitutions, as well as his current work-in-progress entitled “What is a Constitutional Transition.” I also ask him how he became interested in comparative public law.

Joel Colón-Ríos is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where he teaches courses in public law, comparative law and comparative constitutionalism. His research concerns comparative constitutional law, constitutional theory, democratic theory and Latin American constitutionalism.

The full interview runs 21 minutes, and is available here.

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Published on October 22, 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. 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
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Reminder — Call for Papers: 4th Annual YCC Conference




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:  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.


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 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 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

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 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

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
Author:          Filed under: Developments

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
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

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