On February 25, the union parliament of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) began debating bills to amend the military-drafted 2008 constitution, including a proposal from the military-allied Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) that could significantly redraw the constitutional balance of powers between the military and the parliamentary-elected president. Among the USDP’s package of amendments is a proposal to establish the decision-making procedure for the powerful National Defence and Security Council (NDSC). This proposal would give decision-making authority over the NDSC to the parliamentary-elected president, and associated proposals would potentially further shift power to the president.
The NDSC has been a source of ongoing tension between civilian and military leadership. Although the 2011-2015 USDP government regularly held NDSC meetings, the current NLD administration has never called a formal meeting, reportedly wary because the military controls six of the 11 constitutionally-specified NDSC members. The military and USDP have complained about the lack of NDSC meetings. The NLD has proposed a constitutional amendment for civilian council members to outnumber the military seven-to-five. The Shan National League for Democracy proposed reconfiguring membership to decrease military participation and add the executives of Myanmar’s constituent states. The Arakan National Party proposed eliminating the NDSC altogether.
—Eman Muhammad Rashwan, PhD. Candidate in the European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE), Hamburg University, Germany; Assistant Lecturer of Public Law, Cairo University, Egypt.
In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of
developments in 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 public law blogosphere.
The Indian Supreme Court delivered its decision in support of equaling women officers to
their male counterparts in the military by making them eligible for permanent
commissions, which qualifies them to serve as a full tenure.
Thailand’s Constitutional Court held that Article 301 of the country’s criminal code
penalizing abortion is unconstitutional. The Court asked the government to
amend the law within one calendar year.
The Constitutional Court of Thailand dissolved an upstart opposition party which challenged the
military establishment for taking an illegal loan from its billionaire founder.
The Supreme Court of Estonia ruled that Regulation No 99, of November 29, 2019, which stipulates
that the wastewater should be as pure as the water in water bodies is constitutional.
In the News
After more than four months after the election of the new parliament, the Tunisian president Kais Saied still struggles with the formation of the new government. The president announced that if the parliament rejects the currently proposed cabinet, he will dissolve the parliament and calls for early elections. On another note, the country has been witnessing a constitutional argument over the parliament authorities versus the current cabinet.
The Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi announced that he formed a cabinet of political independents and called the parliament to vote on it on February 24. The constitution gives him until March 2 to present a cabinet for parliamentary approval.
The autonomous Bougainville government in Papua New Guinea declared lately to amend its constitution to, among other issues, allow the president to serve for more than two terms. The Ombudsman Commission released a statement asking the government to follow the procedures of amending the constitution strictly.
The Indonesian government dismissed concerns over a proposed bill to give the president the power to revoke regional regulations. The economic minister said that the president would have this power only over the administrations bellow the central government.
Two new judges were appointed at the German Federal Court of Justice. The two judges are Jörn Fritsche and Mario von Häfen who were both judges at High Regional Courts.
Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago (eds.), The
Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics (2020) (presenting a comparative, empirical analysis of Spanish politics,
including a chapter on the judicial politics and the Constitutional Court)
Università degli Studi di Milano invites applications for a conference on “Academic
Freedom under Pressure? New State and Social Challenges in a German-Italian
Comparison,” which will be held on September 24-25, 2020, at the University of
Milan under the sponsorship of the German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD.
Please note that accepted participants will be reimbursed for travelling and
The University of Texas Law School invites participants for its conference on “The Imperial
Presidency in the Twenty-First Century,” convened by professors Richard Albert
and Sanford Levinson. The conference will be held at Texas Law School in
Austin, on March 26-28, 2020.
The American University, Washington College of Law in
Washington DC, seeks an Assistant Director for its Marshall-Brennan
Constitutional Literacy Project.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) invites attendees, online and in persons, for its book event
hosting Keith Whittington to discuss his book “Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review
of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present.” The event will take place on February 21, 2020.
The National University of Public Service at Ludovika
and the Centre for Parliamentary Studies at the University of Győr invites for a conference on parliamentary and legislative
research, under the title “30 Years of Parliaments and Legislation in Central
and Eastern Europe.” The deadline for submission of proposals is March 22, 2020.
The paper submission period is now open for the 37thAnnual
Conference of the European Association
of Law and Economics (EALE), which will be held on September 24-25, 2020, at
the University of Paris 2. Submissions deadline is on April 6, 2020.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Public
Administration (IDHEAP), Faculty of Law, Criminal Sciences and Public
Administration of the University of Lausanne, invites young researchers to submit a paper as part of the
meeting on the topic “What social sciences can contribute to the study of
(public) law,” to be held on May 14–15, 2020, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The
deadline for submission of abstracts is March 20, 2020.
To order this book at the discount rate, enter code CV7 at checkout here.
Here is the book’s description:
This book, the result of a major international conference held at Yale Law School, contains contributions from leading scholars in public law who engage critically with Bruce Ackerman’s path-breaking book, Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law. The book also features a rebuttal chapter by Ackerman in which he responds directly to the contributors’ essays.
Some advance Ackerman’s theory, others attack it, and still others refine it–but all agree that the ideas in his book reset the terms of debate on the most important subjects in constitutionalism today: from the promise and perils of populism to the causes and consequences of democratic backsliding, from the optimal models of constitutional design to the forms and limits of constitutional amendment, and from the role of courts in politics to how we identify when the mythical ‘people’ have spoken. A must-read for all interested in the current state of constitutionalism.
And here are the contents of the volume:
Introduction: A Global Tour of Constitutionalism Richard Albert
1. A Political, not a Legal History of the Rise of Worldwide Constitutionalism Dieter Grimm
PART I — THE LEGITIMATING FOUNDATIONS OF REVOLUTIONARY CONSTITUTIONALISM
2. A Defence of Non-representational Constitutionalism: Why Constitutions Need not be Representational Alon Harel
3. Constitutionalism and Society: Ackerman on Worldwide Constitution-Making and the Role of Social Forces Denis Baranger
4. Bruce Ackerman’s Theory of History Roberto Gargarella
5. Constitutionalism and the Predicament of Postcolonial Independence Aziz Rana
6. Revolution on a Human Scale: Liberal Values, Populist Theory? Andrew Arato
PART II — CONSTITUTIONAL EVOLUTIONS AND TRANSFORMATIONS
7. Charismatic Fictions and Constitutional Politics Tom Ginsburg
8. Uncharismatic Revolutionary Constitutionalism Stephen Gardbaum
9. Unconventional Adaptation and the Authenticity of the Constitution Alessandro Ferrara
10. Constitutional Revolution, Legal Positivism and Constituent Power Yasuo Hasebe
11. The Traditions of Constitutional Change Richard Albert
PART III — THE FUTURE OF EUROPE
12. Constitutional Crossroads: A View from Europe Neil Walker
13. How Europe Brought Judicial Review to France: A Response to Bruce Ackerman Daniel Halberstam
14. Constituting the Judiciary, Constituting Europe Mitchel Lasser
PART IV — THE LAW AND POLITICS OF REVOLUTION
15. Sustaining Revolutionary Constitutions: From Movement Party to Movement Court Menaka Guruswamy
16. The Italian Constitution as a Revolutionary Agreement Marta Cartabia
17. Constitutional Strategy for a Polarised Society: Learning from Poland’s Post-revolutionary Misfortunes Maciej Kisilowski
18. Choosing to Have Had a Revolution: Lessons from South Africa’s Undecided Constitutionalism James Fowkes
—Gaurav Mukherjee, S.J.D.
Candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law, Central European University,
In this weekly
feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in 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 public law blogosphere.
Court of Australia held that Aboriginal Australians who are born overseas and are not
citizens of Australia are nevertheless not within reach of the “aliens” power
in section 51(xix) of the Australian Constitution.
Court of Kenya halted a controversial biometric ID scheme until new data protection laws
Supreme Court of India delivered an important decision on the use of
affirmative action in promotions in public posts.
The European Court of Human Rights held that indefinite
retention of DNA profile, fingerprints and photograph of a person convicted for
a minor offence was disproportionate and violated the right to respect for
private life under Article 8 of the Convention.
The Supreme Court of India issued mandatory
directions to political parties to publish criminal antecedents of their
lawmakers in Myanmar opposed a proposal by the parliamentary Joint Bill Committee to merge the
military’s constitutional amendment bills with those submitted by the National
League for Democracy (NLD) for discussion by Parliament.
Protector of South Africa stated that adverse court findings against her could not form the basis of a
parliamentary inquiry, which could result in her removal from office.
Serb officials have been accused of breaking the law after they stopped work on deciding any
state-level matters, pending adoption of a new law on the Constitutional Court.
National Electoral Commission in Nigeria in the exercise of its power granted
by Section 225(a) of the 1999 Constitution, deregistered 74 political parties that failed to meet
the requirements for listing on its register, in the wake of the last year’s
elections and the recent rerun.
indigenous community opposing the construction of a gas pipeline in Canada launched a legal challenge at the Supreme Court over the climate impact of
fossil fuel projects on indigenous territories.
Cox, the UK government’s attorney-general threw his weight behind calls to curb judges’ powers to overturn
ministerial decisions, saying there is a “widespread feeling” courts are making
decisions that “properly ought” to be parliament’s.
Court of the Hague in The Netherlands ordered the immediate halt to a digital benefit fraud detection tool targeted
at poor neighborhoods in the Netherlands because it violated human rights norms,
giving credence to a report filed by Philip Alston the UN
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
judge in South Africa issued an arrest warrant for former president Jacob Zuma for failing to
appear in court on a corruption case that he has sought to avoid for months.
President of Guinea announced that he would go ahead with a contested
plan to revise the West African country’s constitution next month, a move that
threatened to inflame political tensions after a series of deadly
Jack M. Balkin, How to Regulate (and Not Regulate) Social Media Yale Law School, Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper Series (2020) (describing three policy levers that might create better incentives for privately-owned companies to subject themselves to greater regulation: (1) antitrust and competition law; (2) privacy and consumer protection law; and (3) a careful balance of intermediary liability and intermediary immunity rules).
Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás (eds.), Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism (2020) (exploring how to develop constitutional discourses and strategies to address issues of sustainability and global equity, and thereby tackle the negative effects of climate change whilst also advancing a more sustainable, equitable and responsible global society).
The Law & Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex holds a Speaker Series event on 19 February featuring Sylvian Aubry (The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), Prof. Aoife Nolan, (University of Nottingham), and Dr. Koldo Casla (University of Essex).
A limited number of doctoral scholarships are available as part of a new ERC-funded project based in the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin. The successful candidates will have the opportunity to participate in a comparative research project investigating how constitutional systems are responding to the challenges of populism and declining public trust. The project is led by Professor Eoin Carolan, who will act as supervisor to the successful candidates.
The Graduate Law Students Association of McGill University’s Faculty of Law announced the 13th Annual McGill Graduate Law Conference on May 7-8 2020 in Montreal, Canada. This year’s theme is “’Law Actually’: Intimacy and Trust”.
The University of Amsterdam invites applications for the position of an Assistant Professor in Sustainable Global Economic Law. The deadline for applications is April 15 2020.
Ghent University, Belgium invites submissions to an International Conference on ‘The European Convention on Human Rights turns 70: Taking Stock, Thinking Forward’ on 18-20 November 2020.
World Comparative Law/VRÜ invites submissions to a forthcoming special issue on ‘Corrupting Democracy? Interrogating the Role of Law in the Fight against Corruption and its Impact on (Democratic) Politics’.
The European University Institute invites applications to its summer school on `Human Rights and Conflict Resolution’ and a `General Course on ‘Reimagining Law, Human Rights and War’. The deadline for applications is 15 April 2020.
[Editor’s note: This is one of our biweekly I-CONnect columns. For more information about our four columnists for 2020, please click here. For a fuller discussion of the ideas in this post, see Yvonne Tew, Stealth Theocracy, 58 Va. J. Int’l L. 31 (2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3287923.]
Religion appears to be a rising political force across the globe. Constitutional democracies the world over are grappling with politics based on religious and racial identities as well as increasing ethno-nationalism. In September 2019, after its unprecedented defeat in Malaysia’s national elections the year before, the United Malays National Organisation signed a political cooperation pact with the Malaysian Islamic Party, formalizing the alliance between the country’s two largest Malay-Muslim parties at an event in Kuala Lumpur that attracted thousands of supporters. Indonesia’s 2019 presidential elections featured a divisive battle between incumbent President Joko Widodo, who picked the leader of Indonesian Ulema Council as his running mate, while his opponent Prabowo Subianto ran a campaign aimed at mobilizing conservative Indonesian Muslims. In India, the Bharatiya Janata Party swept to a landslide victory in May 2019; a few month later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party passed a contentious citizenship law for migrants that excluded Muslims, sparking massive protests. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have witnessed a surge in nationalist political forces that have agitated against religious minorities. And in January 2020, accounts of the Myanmar military’s violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority played out on the public stage of the international court of justice. Religion’s role has been increasingly expanded in the public sphere of many constitutional orders, including those not normally thought of in terms of constitutional theocracy. What is striking is how this global phenomenon is taking place.
of a constitutional theocracy tends to be associated with revolution or the
explicit creation of religious principles of governance. Think, for example, of
the 1979 Iranian revolution. Or the twenty-first century constitution-writing
efforts for Afghanistan and Iraq, and those following the Arab Spring
revolutions in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, which explicitly constitutionalized Islam
as a source of law within those states.
Sometimes, though, a constitution’s religious character may emerge through more subtle means of constitutional change, which are less transparent than creating or amending a constitutional text. Fundamental transformations of constitutional identity toward a more religious order can occur by stealth through political and judicial actors. What’s striking is the key role that courts play in elevating the place of religion in the public order. We tend to think of courts as “bastions” of secularism that act as “effective shields against the spread of religiosity” and principles of theocracy.  Yet, in many contexts, courts act to expand, not limit, the place of religion in the constitutional order.
The Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice at NYU School Law will host a two-day symposium – Football Feminism: Global Governance Perspectives – on February 24 & 25, 2020. The symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to critically examine the transnational system of governance that regulates football (soccer) through the lens of gender. The presentation and discussion of interdisciplinary research (works-in-progress) on this topic aims to elucidate the operation of discrimination in and through the structures, rules, and practices of football governance; to assess various understandings of, and approaches to, advancing gender equality in this context; and to contemplate innovative ideas for feminist reform or reimagination of an increasingly complex and globalized system of significant social, economic, and political import.
In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a
curated reading list of developments in 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 public law blogosphere.
The Constitutional Court of Malawi, in a landmark decision, annulled last year’s elections due to the evidence of widespread irregularities and called for a new ballot.
The European Court of Human Rights rejected the request to impose temporary measures which would ban the Montenegrin state bodies from implementing the Law on Religious Freedoms.
Armenia will hold a referendum on constitutional amendment curbing powers of the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court of Spain declared unconstitutional the article of the Spanish Law on Civil Procedure (LEC), which did not allow an appeal against the individual decisions of the Ministry of Justice lawyers.
The Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that the lower courts cannot dispute its authority by rejecting to implement a decision, which ordered the release of the journalist Mehmet Altan.
A Polish judge who
challenged the government’s recent changes to the judiciary got suspended and hit by a 40% salary cut.
In the past 20
years in Colombia, almost 1700 rape victims faced illegal abortion charges. The statistics were generated on request of the
Constitutional Court which is to revisit the illegality of abortion.
announced that the next population census will include a third gender option,
which is believed to expand social benefits to the LGBTQ+ community.
The US District
Court for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments over the city of
Natchitoches’ refusal to allow the Louisiana division of the Sons of
Confederate Veterans (SCV) to carry Confederate flags during the 2015 Christmas
Canadian Federal Court of Appeal dismissed
a recent complaint from First Nations peoples seeking to delay expansion of the
Trans Mountain pipeline. The applicants claimed that the officials failed to consult
with them over the Trans Mountain pipeline project properly, but the judges
concluded that First Nations “cannot tactically use the consultation process as
a means to try to veto it.”
Brandon L. Bartels, Christopher L. Johnson, Curbing the Court: Why the Public Constrains Judicial Independence (forthcoming 2020) (arguing that the citizens are not primary defenders of the judiciary, instead, they seek to limit it, in line with their political preferences, particularly in the times of the sharp partisan polarization)
Weitseng Chen, Hualing Fu (eds.), Authoritarian Legality in Asia: Formation, Development and Transition (forthcoming 2020) (explaining, through the comparison of six Asian jurisdictions, why the authoritarian regimes still need a degree of legality and examining what kind of struggles these countries would face if they transitioned to liberal democratic system)
Lael K Weis, Legislative Constitutional Baselines (2019) (identifying “baselines” as a distinctive issue in constitutional interpretation, and examining an important but under-theorised way that courts define them: namely, by adopting legislatively–defined norms or standards)
(Gruppo di ricerca e formazione sul diritto publico e europeo) and University
of Siena invite
submissions from young researchers for the workshop on the topic “Framing and
Diagnosing Constitutional Degradation: A Comparative Perspective” which will be
held on June 22-23, 2020 in Siena. The abstracts (max. 500 words), together
with a CV, should be submitted no later than May 31.
University of London invites
submissions for the 2020 SOAS Postgraduate Colloquium on “Changing Dimensions
of Rule of Law: From Theory to Practice,” which will be held on June 10, 2020.
The deadline for the abstract (max.500 words) and short CV is February 20,
Law Department of Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique (UPT) and the
Instituto Jurídico Portucalense invite
submissions for the 2020 Congress on “Have Fundamental Rights gone too far?” that
will be held on May 7-8, 2020.
Interested scholars should submit an abstract (max.750 words),
publishable CV and a publishable photo no later than March 1, 2020.
Court of South Africa invites
applications from law graduates or those in the final year of their studies
interested in serving as Law Clerks. The deadline for the application is March
International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) invites
applications for an IACL roundtable on “Democracy 2020: Assessing
Constitutional Decay, Breakdown and Renewal Worldwide.” which will be held in
Melbourne on December 10-12, 2020. The deadline for the submission of an
abstract (max.300 words) is May 1, 2020.
—Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin
In “Five Questions” here at I-CONnect, we invite a public law scholar to answer five questions about scholarship.
This edition of “Five Questions” features a short video interview with Felicia Caponigri, Director of the Program on Intellectual Property and Technology Law at Notre Dame Law School. A comparative art law scholar, her research explores links between cultural property and intellectual property in Italian and U.S. law.
One of her papers is “The Ethics of the International Display of Fashion in the Museum,” available for free download here.
To nominate someone for a future edition of “Five Questions,” please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome all nominations. We are especially eager to receive nominations of early-career scholars and women.
It is, we believe, unprecedented
that both Editors-in-Chief and the entire Editorial and Scientific Advisory
Board of a learned journal should resign en masse in protest at the high-handed
behavior of the commercial publisher. But that is what has happened at the
European Law Journal in their dispute with their publishers Wiley Publishing.
The statement of the Editors in
Chief of the European Law Journal is appended below.
Between the two of us, Editors in Chief of ICON (the International Journal of Constitutional Law published by OUP) we have clocked dozens of years serving as Editors and members of Editorial and Advisory Boards of at least two dozen legal journals. We can safely say that never before have we seen even remotely the like of this. By ‘this’ we do not just mean the mass resignation, but the entire approach of Wiley to the relationship between a commercial publisher and the academics – the editors, editorial boards and authors – who actually make the journal not only an academic and intellectual success, but also give it monetary value for its publisher. The journal generates hundreds of thousands of euros in annual revenue, and Wiley itself estimated its monetary value in the millions. You would expect some respect for the value of the academic world which generate these profits for them, would you not?
—Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin
We are once again inviting our readers to express an interest in reviewing public law books here at I-CONnect.
We are pleased to promote new books to our readers in this forum. We welcome books from all scholars and publishers. We especially value the opportunity to showcase books from women and early-career scholars.
Here, below, is the list of books we have most recently received at I-CONnect for this purpose.
Please complete this questionnaire by February 9 if you would like to review one of these books. The questionnaire is available here. confirmation will follow. Preference will be given to early-career scholars and first-time I-CONnect contributors.
We welcome substantive submissions via email on any subject of comparative public law. Submissions usually, though not always, range from 750 to 1000 words. All submissions will be reviewed in a timely fashion.
Please send submissions to email@example.com.