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

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

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

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

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. France’s Constitutional Court upholds the deprivation of a French-Moroccan jihadist of his French nationality.
  2. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on housing discrimination and traffic stops.
  3. The U.S Supreme Court to hear case on the constitutionality over drugs used in prisoners executions.
  4. The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled unconstitutional the law on cyber security.
  5. The Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled constitutional the Russian civil code rule allowing a debtor to hand over property to a bank with which he had a mortgage.
  6. South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld an appeal court against former MP for sedition and violating the National Security Law by organizing secret party meeting.
  7. The Columbia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the Fenaco coal railway is prohibited to run overnight due to noise. 

New Scholarship

  1. Stephen Gardbaum, Are Strong Constitutional Courts Always a Good Thing for New Democracies? Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 53, No.2, 2015 (arguing that the most important and essential goal for transitional democracies is establishing and maintaining the independence of the judiciary)
  2. Cristina Fasone and Nicola Lupo, Transparency vs. Informality in Legislative Committees: Comparing the US House of Representatives, the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the European Parliament, The Journal of Legislatives Studies, 2015, Taylor and Francis (assessing the relationship between transparency of the legislative process and legislative capacity of parliamentary committees in the light of the ICT revolution)
  3. Mohamed Arafa, Whiter Egypt? Against Religious Fascism and Legal Authoritarianism: Pure Revolution, Popular Coup, or a Military Coup D’Etat?, Indiana International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 24, No.4, 2014 (providing a concise framework of the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of Egyptian politics, discussing the definition of the relevant religious laws and legislation in Egypt and how they can be enacted under Islamic law in the light of the flexible Sharia’s definition and interpretation, especially within the new provisions of the 2014 Constitution)
  4. Richard W. Garnett, Chief Justice Rehnquist, Religious Freedom, and the Constitution, Bradford P. Wilson, ed., The Constitutional Legacy of William H. Rehnquist (West Academic Press, Forthcoming 2015)(reviewing Rehnquist’s contributions to the Court’s Religion Clauses doctrine)
  5. Aileen Kavanagh, What’s so Weak about ‘Weak-Form Review’? The Case of the UK Human Rights Act 1998, International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON) (forthcoming 2015) (explaining the legal and political dynamics surrounding the operation of the UK Human Rights Act by engaging the distinction between “strong-form” and “weak-form” review)
  6. Ling Li, ‘Rule of Law’ in a Party-State – A Conceptual Interpretive Framework of The Constitutional Reality of China, Asian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 2(1), 2015, pp.1-20 (identifying and conceptualizing the structural features of the Party-state and proposing a “dual normative system” as a framework to interpret the constitutional reality of China)
  7. Brian Leiter, Constitutional Law, Moral Judgment, and the Supreme Court as Super-Legislature, text of the 24th Mathew O. Tobriner Memorial Lecture in Constitutional Law to be presented at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, January 12, 2015 (explaining how the U.S. Supreme Court is operating as a kind of super-legislature by making decisions based on the moral and political values of the justices, and not on the basis of legally binding standards)

In the News

  1. Fighting broke out in Nepal’s Parliament following a heated debate about drafting a new constitution.
  2. Thailand impeaches former Prime Minister over corruption.
  3. After Saudi King Abdullah dies, brother Salman has been pronounced king of Saudi Arabia.
  4. Macedonia Parliament voted to ban same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
  5. Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered retrial for policemen connected to 37 deaths
  6. The Caribbean Court of Justice celebrated its ten years of operation with a forum at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, entitled “CCJ Symposium: Advancing the case of Regionalism and Indigenous Jurisprudence”.
  7. Madagascar’s opposition is to challenge the appointment of Prime Minister in the constitutional court after the administrative court denied to hear the case.
  8. A Parisian criminal court convicted three people for anti-gay messages posted on Twitter.
  9. EU parliament debated new recommendations for TTIP.
  10. The European Central Bank announced a massive bond-buying program into the Eurozone.

Calls for Papers

  1. Koç University Law School, Boston College Law School and the International Society of Public Law invite submissions for a full-day workshop on unamendable constitutional provisions, to be held on the campus of Koç University Law School in Istanbul on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
  2. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies calls for papers for a conference on “Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes” to be held in London on 10-11 September 2015.
  3. Latcrit calls for proposals for the Twentieth Anniversary Conference of Latcrit to be held in Southern California on October 1-3, 2015. The theme is Critical Constitutionalism.
  4. The McGill Graduate Law Conference calls for papers for its conference to be held in Montreal, Canada on May 29-30, 2015.
  5. The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University invites submissions of paper proposals for an international conference on Islam in Russia to be held on October 15-16, 2015.
  6. The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, in partnership with The University of Auckland, New Zealand calls for paper for a symposium to explore developments and trends in corporate governance markets to be held in Ottawa, Canada on June 19-20, 2015.
  7. University of Essex, School of Law calls for papers for its ILA British Branch Spring Conference on International Law as a Mechanism for Justice to be held on May 29-30, 2015.
  8. The Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and the Institute of Law, Politics and Sustainability call for papers for the First Edition of the International Colloquium on Current Issues in Agricultural Law in a Global Perspective to be held in Pisa, Italy on September 17-18, 2015.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. Alan Riley, The resilience of the rule of law, opendemocracy.net
  2. Steven D. Schwinn, No Remedy for Inmate when Authorities take Medical Settlement for Cost of Incarceration, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  3. Michael Muskal, What’s next after Supreme Court agrees to review execution protocols? Los Angeles Times
  4. Anne Applebaum, Europe has survived terrorist attacks before, The Washington Post
  5. Ruthann Robson, Alabama District Judge Declares State’s Same-Sex Marriage Bans Unconstitutional, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  6. Harlan Cohen, International Law as Behavior Symposium: An Agenda, Opinio Juris
  7. Chris Wester, The Evolution of a More Perfect Union: The Development of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Jurist.org
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Published on January 26, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Video Interview: Counter-Interpretation and Constitutional Supremacy, Featuring Joshua Braver

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In this latest installment of our new video interview series at I-CONnect, I interview Joshua Braver on judicial review in the United Kingdom and the United States, specifically as it relates to a phenomenon he identifies as “counter-interpretation.” We discuss why, in his view, judicial review in the United Kingdom has struggled to maintain its legitimacy.

Joshua Braver is a doctoral candidate at Yale Political Science and holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.  His focus is democratic and constitutional theory, and his dissertation interrogates different visions of “the people” in popular and revolutionary constitution-making in South America, especially Bolivia and Venezuela.  He also writes about conflict between legislatures and courts over the meaning of constitutional rights.

The full interview, which runs 33 minutes, is available here.

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Published on January 23, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

A “Stunning” Decision of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal: The Ritual Slaughter Case

–Anna Śledzińska-Simon, University of Wroclaw[*]

When a judge is to decide on the conformity of a ritual slaughter ban with a constitution she cannot help but realize that it is material for a landmark decision. Yet, in Poland the full panel of the Constitutional Tribunal missed this chance and rendered a judgment that is wrong – both for procedural and substantive reasons.

In a 9-to-5 decision, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the Act on Animal Protection,[1] insofar as it does not permit animal slaughtering (in slaughterhouses) according to specific methods required by religious rites and subjects non-stun slaughter to criminal sanctions, is contrary to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion and Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.[2] At first glance, it seems a sound decision. However, the trouble is that the Tribunal’s ruling was too broad: it held that shechita is permissible regardless of who performs it and for what purpose.

In fact, the argument of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities, acting as the petitioner in this case, that the lack of an exemption from the prohibition of non-stun slaughter infringes freedom to practice religion and live according to religious rules on the territory of Poland, was misunderstood. Instead of finding that ritual slaughtering is a constitutionally protected religious practice of a particular community and its members, the Tribunal extended the constitutional protection to thousands of animal breeders and slaughterhouse owners who produce and export kosher and halal meat for profit.

It is quite unusual for the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland to be more rights-sensitive than required, in particular with regard to a minority religion. In 28 years of constitutional adjudication in Poland, there were just 12 decisions concerning freedom of religion and the church versus state relationship, but most of them reaffirmed the privileged position of the Catholic Church and approved of teaching religion in public schools, including religion grades in student records, counting religion grades towards a student’s grade point average, or providing public funding for denominational schools. At the same time, the Tribunal has never struck down a law on the grounds that it violated the position of a minority religion. Surprisingly, in this freedom of religion case, the Tribunal was oversensitive towards politically vital interests of Polish meat producers and exporters.

This comment aims to discuss obvious pitfalls of the reasoning of the Constitutional Tribunal in the ritual slaughter ban decision, while arguing that this case is important for a different reason than being a landmark. It raises interesting questions both about the hierarchy of sources (including the relationship between domestic and EU law) as well as the proper method of exercising proportionality analysis.  Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on January 21, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Final Call–Deadline January 20–Workshop on Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Milan

The University of Milan
Department of National and Supranational Law

in collaboration with

The Younger Comparativists Committee 
of the American Society of Comparative Law

request submissions for

Workshop on Comparative Constitutional Law
University of Milan
Milan, Italy
Monday, May 4, 2015
10h00-16h00

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

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

Purpose of Workshop

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

Structure of Workshop

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

Eligibility

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

Submission Instructions

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

Notification and Participation Requirements

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

Costs

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

Questions

Please direct inquiries in connection with this workshop to Antonia Baraggia (Milan) by email at antonia.baraggia@gmail.com.

Please circulate this Call for Papers widely.

Workshop Selection Committee

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

Younger Comparativists Committee

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

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

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

About the Younger Comparativists Committee

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

About the Convenors

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

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

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

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Published on January 20, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

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 contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The US Supreme Court agreed to hear oral argument on the scope of the right to marry.
  2. The Constitutional Court of Turkey will decide  whether penal courts of peace should be eliminated.
  3. The US Supreme Court refused to hear another challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  4. A Turkish court banned access to the website of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
  5. The US Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the Natural Gas Act in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet Inc.

In the News

  1. A criminal court in Egypt dismissed charges of embezzlement against former President Mubarak.
  2. In UK, plans to restrict judicial review were withdrawn for further consideration.
  3. The US Supreme Court is set to decide a religious rights case.
  4. Michigan gun legislation vetoed by governor.
  5. Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that Tunisia failed to answer unlawful killings during the popular uprising in 2011.

New Scholarship

  1. Re-Exploring Subnational Constitutionalism. A Special Issue, 6(2) Delledonne, G. Martinico, P. Popelier (eds) Perspectives on Federalism (2014) (collecting papers on subnational constitutionalism presented at the latest World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law in Oslo)
  2. Scott J. Shackelford & Andraz Kastelic, Toward a State-Centric Cyber Peace? Analyzing the Role of National Cybersecurity Strategies in Enhancing Global Cybersecurity (2015) (assessing the notion that nations bear the primary responsibility for managing cyber-attacks and mitigating cybercrime by analyzing thirty-four national cybersecurity strategies)
  3. Albert H. Y. Chen, Constitutions, Constitutional Practice and Constitutionalism in East Asia (discussing the types of regimes that have existed in modern East Asia, before proceeding to investigate the relationship between constitutions and regime types)
  4. Brian Dennison, The political question doctrine in Uganda: A reassessment in the wake of CEHURD, (18) J Law, Democracy & Development 264 (2014) (explaining the political question doctrine and its role in achieving separation of powers and allocating of government responsibilities in Uganda)
  5. James Stellios, The Centralisation of Judicial Power within the Australian Federal System, 42(2) Federal Law Review 357 (2014) (considering the patterns of centralisation within the Australian federal judicial system, and how the architecture of judicial federalism is subject of less attention.)

Calls for Papers

  1. Koç University Law School, Boston College Law School and the International Society of Public Law invite submissions for a full-day workshop on unamendable constitutional provisions, to be held on the campus of Koç University Law School in Istanbul on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
  2. The Law Departments of Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona and University of Trento welcome submissions for a comparative constitutional law seminar to be held on July 9-10, 2015 in Trento, Italy.
  3. The McCoubrey Centre for International Law invites submissions for its second conference for research scholars and early career scholars, addressing questions surrounding customary international law to be held on July 2-3, 2015 at the University of Hull School of Law.
  4. The European Society of International Law has issued a call for papers for its 11th Annual Conference to be held in Oslo, Norway on 10-12 September 2015.
  5. The International Journal of Law and Legal Jurisprudence Studies is now accepting submissions for its new volume.
  6. Utrecht Journal of International and European Law invites submissions for its upcoming issue.
  7. The University Institute for European Studies (IDEE), Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at CEU San Pablo University, with the support of the European Commission, is now considering abstracts for an International Conference on “Solidarity in Hard Times. Solidarity and the European Social Model in times of economic crisis.” The conference will take place at CEU San Pablo University (Madrid) on the 11th and 12th June 2015.
  8. University of Western Ontario in London, Canada will host the 2015 Western Law Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference on May 21-22, 2015. The conference theme is “Law: Helping Hand or Iron Fist?” Submissions are now open.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. Jacob Gershman, Do NYC Cops Have a First Amendment Right to Protest De Blasio?, WSJ Law Blog
  2. Gautham Nagesh, Republican Lawmakers Propose Net-Neutrality Legislation, WSJ Law Blog
  3. Steven D. Schwinn, Does the Natural Gas Act Preempt State Antitrust Claims?, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  4. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Felons, Families and Prosecutorial Discretion, Jurist
  5. Gerard Magliocca, A National University, Concurring Opinions
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Published on January 19, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Editor’s Choice: Lech Garlicki

Lech Garlicki, University of Warsaw

[ICON Editors’ Choices for New Year Readings and Gifts: ICON’s Book Review Editor, Isabel Feichtner, invited our Board members to reflect on the books that have had a significant impact on them over the past year. They write about books, not necessarily published in 2014, but read or reread in the past year, and which they found inspiring, enjoyable or consider ‘must reads’ for their own work or comparative constitutional law scholarship in general. These editors’ choices are not intended to be a prize in disguise, but rather are personalized accounts of the reading experiences of our Board members.]

Reading is fun, but it is a time-consuming activity and, being confronted with a mass production of new publications, the choice is often instrumental to our current research. Thus a lot remains unread and, what is worse, there is no way to establish a “canon” of newest books and articles. That is why my selection of books is not governed by any rational considerations. I based this selection on “generational parity,” picking one book written by a young and ascending scholar, another one by a well-established scholar of the middle generation and, finally, the last one delivered by one of the leading scholars of a global dimension. As is usual in constitutional law, all of these authors write about courts, constitutions and rights, but this does not mean that their approaches are the same.

 

Fundamental Rights in Europe: Challenges and Transformations in Comparative Perspective, by Federico Fabbrini. New York: Oxford University Press. 2014.

This book undertakes a two-fold enterprise. On the one hand, it offers an interesting and complete presentation of four areas in which challenges and transformations of fundamental rights are particularly instructive (due process for alleged terrorists, voting rights of non-citizens, the right to strike and, finally, abortion). In each of those areas Fabbrini discusses legislative regulation and judicial decisions of the leading European countries and institutions, and also includes references to the U.S. situation. Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on January 16, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Editorials
 

Soundbite Rules

Or Bassok, Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute

isc

The picture above, showing the Israeli Supreme Court in the background, is not a photomontage. This is how the Israeli Supreme Court (hereinafter: the Court) looks from the rooftop of a new movie theatre in its close vicinity.[1]

In some ways, this picture captures the argument of my forthcoming Article, The Israeli Supreme Court’s Mythical Image – A Death of a Thousand Sound Bites. Courts reside in majestic buildings partly in order to create an “awe inspiring” sense that will ensure public support.[2] This attempt to ensure public legitimacy based on legitimating symbols is hindered in the setting shown in the photo by placing entertainment in the vicinity of the Court’s building, and not by any reasoned arguments.

Similarly, based on an empirical study of the coverage of the Court in television news editions, I show that the erosion of the Court’s mythical image began because of the rise of entertainment logic in news coverage as a result of the entrance of a second commercial channel (Channel Two) in 1993. The mythical image that controlled television coverage of the Court from the inception of the public broadcaster (Channel One) in 1968, and up until 1992, was dissolved not by normative arguments against the Court’s rise of power but by “infotainment.” The shift in the medium led to a shift in the coverage of the Court. Rather than an expert, apolitical institution, the Court has been presented more and more as influenced by political and personal considerations, just as the other branches of government.

In this post, I first present the puzzle at the basis of my empirical investigation of the coverage of the Court. Second, I briefly explore the findings on the coverage of the Court between 1993 and 1996. Next, I discuss the idea that there are shifts in the manner in which we imagine social reality. In the article, I argue that the “eyeglasses” through which Israelis have been viewing the Supreme Court have changed. For some political scientists, my attempt to extract a solidified notion of a prism, that is more than the sum of the data I collected, may seem strange, not to say mistaken. My aim in this post is to further explain my methodology.[3] I believe that this idea of “eyeglasses” (or in the professional jargon: social imaginary), is relevant to any constitutional scholar who aims to give a thick description of a constitutional culture. I conclude this post by discussing the beginning of an experimental live coverage of some of the Court’s oral hearings.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Published on January 14, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

Call for Papers–Workshop on Unamendable Constitutional Provisions–Koc University, Istanbul

Koç University Law School

in collaboration with

Boston College Law School

under the auspices of

The International Society of Public Law

invite submissions for

Workshop on Unamendable Constitutional Provisions
Koç University Law School
Istanbul, Turkey
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
9h00-17h00

Koç University Law School, Boston College Law School and the International Society of Public Law invite submissions for a full-day workshop on unamendable constitutional provisions, to be held on the campus of Koç University Law School in Istanbul on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

This workshop is convened by Bertil Emrah Oder (Dean, Koç University Law School) and Richard Albert (Boston College).

Subject-Matter of Workshop

Modern constitutions today commonly entrench at least one unamendable constitutional provision. An unamendable provision is impervious to the formal amendment rules that authorize alterations to the constitutional text. The Afghan Constitution (2004), for example, makes Islamic Republicanism unamendable, as does the Tunisian Constitution (2014). The Brazilian Constitution (1988) and German Basic Law (1949) both make federalism unamendable. Under the Portuguese Constitution (1976), political pluralism is unamendable, and the same is true of secularism in the Turkish Constitution (1982).

Are unamendable constitutional provisions undemocratic or do they reflect a deep respect for the true democratic foundations of constitutionalism? What are the functions, limits, uses and abuses of such provisions in modern constitutions? What are the optimal conditions under which they achieve the intent of their designers? What circumstances frustrate their intended purposes?  This workshop invites abstracts for papers examining any issue related to unamendability, including both formal and informal forms.

Eligibility

Submissions are invited from scholars of all ranks, including doctoral students.

Publication

The convenors intend to publish the papers in an edited book or in a special issue of a law journal. An invitation to participate in this workshop will be issued to a participant on the following conditions: (1) the participant agrees to submit an original, unpublished paper between 9,000 words and 12,000 words consistent with submission guidelines issued by the workshop convenors; (2) the participant agrees to submit a pre-workshop draft by May 15, 2015; and (3) the participant agrees to submit a full post-workshop final draft by August 15, 2015.

Submission Instructions

Interested scholars should email an abstract by March 15, 2015 to judy.yi@bc.edu on the understanding that the abstract will form the basis of the pre-workshop draft to be submitted by May 15, 2015. Scholars should identify their submission with the following subject line: “Koç University—Abstract Submission—Unamendability.”

Notification

Successful applicants will be notified no later than March 31, 2015.

Costs

There is no cost to participate in this workshop. Successful applicants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses. Koç University Law School will negotiate a special group rate for lodging, and will also provide refreshments and dinner on the day of the workshop.

Questions

Please direct inquiries in connection with this workshop to Richard Albert (Boston College) by email at richard.albert@bc.edu or telephone at 617-552-3930.

About Koç University Law School

Koç University was founded in 1993 as a non-profit private university in Istanbul, Turkey. Its beautiful campus sprawls over a sixty-two acre estate that succeeds in balancing accessibility to all of Istanbul with retreat from the distractions of city life. The product of a meticulous, integrated design, Koç University’s sixty buildings–academic and administrative–include laboratories, libraries, dormitories, faculty residences, social venues, a health center and sports facilities.

Koç University Law School aims to nurture creative and sophisticated lawyers with its content-rich courses in public law, private law, and its core program, which enables students to excel in a variety of disciplines. The law school program responds adeptly to meet Turkey’s need for lawyers who possess both professional language competency and an international perspective. More than 30% of the total courses offered with international content are lectured in English, thus international career opportunities may be possible for all students. The law school also provides a high level of proficiency in national law topics with its courses lectured in Turkish. Law school students have the opportunity to meet professional lawyers in regular seminars for their academic and career development. Further, exchange programs in partnership with outstanding universities around the world and international internship opportunities are designed to support international experiences for students. The law school also works to instill professional ethic values in its graduates thus enabling them to work in all fields of law–public or private–without exception. For more information, please visit: www.law.ku.edu.tr/home.

About Boston College Law School

Founded in 1929, Boston College Law School offers broad course offerings and small class sizes that permit considerable personal interaction with faculty. The international and comparative law curriculum provides opportunities for in-class instruction, innovative and flexible study-abroad programs, and meaningful training in the field. Boston College Law School understands that globalization magnifies the scope and complexity of law and legal practice. The curriculum trains students for the needs of today, while giving them skills and perspectives that anticipate the needs of tomorrow. The program prepares leaders to pursue social justice not just nationally, but internationally as well. For more, please visit: www.bc.edu/law.

About The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S)

The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S) was officially launched in June 2014 at an Inaugural Conference sponsored by the European University Institute and NYU School of Law in Florence, Italy. The conference featured a keynote address by Jeremy Waldron, plenary papers by Robert Keohane, Ruth Rubio Marin and Joseph H.H. Weiler, and hundreds of participants in concurrent panels on all subjects in public law.

Presided by Sabino Cassese, ICON·S emerged from the Editorial Board of I·CON—the International Journal of Constitutional Law. For several years now I·CON has been, both by choice and by the cartographic reality of the field, much more than a journal of comparative constitutional Law. I·CON has expanded its interests, range of authors, readers, Editorial Board members and, above all, issues covered to include not only discrete articles in fields such as Administrative Law, Global Constitutional Law, Global Administrative Law and the like, but also increasingly includes scholarship that reflects both legal reality and academic perception, and which in dealing with the challenges of public life and governance combines elements from all of the above with a good dosage of political theory and social science. Learned societies have often been founded to validate the emergence, autonomy, or breakaway of an intellectual endeavor. By contrast, international learned societies are often driven by the realization of intellectual cross-fertilization that can stem from disciplinary ecumenism. ICON·S is both.

The ICON·S Executive Committee includes Sujit Choudhry, Gráinne De Búrca, Ran Hirschl, Bing Bing Jia, Susanna Mancini, Phoebe Okowa, Michel Rosenfeld, Ruth Rubio Marin, Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Anne van Aaken, and Joseph H.H. Weiler. For more information, please visit: http://icon-society.org/site/index.

About the Convenors

Bertil Emrah Oder is Dean and Professor of Constitutional law at Koç University Law School. She is an expert in comparative constitutional law, European Union law and international human rights law. Dean Oder holds memberships in the International Association of Constitutional Law, the International Society of Public Law, the Constitution Builders Network, the German Turkish Colloquium for Public Law, the International Law Association ILI-Istanbul, and is a founding member of the Association for Research and Application of Constitutional Law. She has served as consultant of UN Women and published two monographs: Constitution and Constitutionalism in the European Union (Anahtar Publishing: 2004) and Methods of Interpretation in Constitutional Adjudication (Beta Publishing: 2010). She has also published two textbooks: Cases & Materials on Constitutional Law for Active Learning (Beta Publishing: 2001) (co-authored) and Constitutional Law in Practice (Beta Publishing: 2008 and 2013) (co-authored). And she has published dozens of articles, editorials and book chapters on various subjects in public law. Fluent in English, German and Turkish, Dean Oder holds degrees from the University of Istanbul, Marmara University (Turkey), and the University of Cologne (Germany).

Richard Albert is a constitutional law professor at Boston College Law School, where he received the 2013 and 2014 Anthony P. Farley Award for excellence in teaching. His research focuses on comparative constitutional amendment, with recent papers on the subject appearing in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Comparative Law (twice), the International Journal of Constitutional Law (twice) and the McGill Law Journal. He is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, a member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Public Law, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, a founding editor of I-CONnect, and a former law clerk to the Chief Justice of Canada. He holds degrees from Yale, Oxford and Harvard.

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Published on January 13, 2015
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 contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Indian Supreme Court held that in matters of affirmative action in the promotion of government employees, courts could not compel either the government or state entities to mandatorily provide for such affirmative action policies.
  2. The Supreme Court of Connecticut declared that ‘Cassandra C.’, a seventeen year old girl must be administered chemotherapy, after the Court found that she was unable to demonstrate that as a minor she had the requisite level of mental maturity to decide on the best course of treatment for her cancer.
  3. The German Constitutional Court refused to interfere with the ban imposed upon Uber in Hamburg, Germany, dismissing Uber’s case on the preliminary point of ‘admissibility’.
  4. The Argentine Supreme Court approved the extradition of a man to the U.S.A., whom the state of Denver intends on prosecuting for causing the death of his wife. The extradition was approved in light of the American prosecutors undertaking that capital punishment will not be pursued in this case.
  5. Hearings in the case of Khemer Rouge leaders committing genocide re-commenced at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The hearings resumed after a brief hiatus owing to non-participation of the defence who were preparing an appeal against a previous decision.

In the News

  1. The Thai Legislature commenced impeachment hearings against Yingluck Shinawatra, the former Thai prime minister. The impeachment proceedings stem from allegations made against her for mishandling a ‘rice subsidy scheme’ which resulted in serous financial loss.
  2. The American president, Barack Obama is understood to have declared that he would exercise veto powers over any legislative move seeking to put in place a ‘40 hour work week’ for health insurance, instead of the ‘30 hour work week’ which is currently in place under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  3. The President of Pakistan assented to an amendment to the Pakistani constitution which authorises the creation of special ‘military courts’ to proceed against individuals charged with perpetrating acts of terror. This amendment means that such defendants will not have the privileges and liberties associated with trials in ordinary courts.
  4. The sparring political groups in Libya have consented to entering discussions, supported by the United Nations, in a bid to rid the nation of political instability. The discussions will be aimed at seeking the creation of a new constitutional order, and setting up a stable government.
  5. The new Criminal Procedural Code of Kazakhstan in seeking to reform the realm of criminal law has incorporated provisions which obligate law enforcement officers to inform arrestees of their rights, and also includes provisions which pertain to ‘plea bargaining’.

New Scholarship

  1. Yan Lin and Tom Ginsburg, Constitutional Interpretation in Law-Making: China’s Invisible Constitutional Enforcement Mechanism (American Journal of Comparative Law, forthcoming) (positing that the Chinese constitution plays an important role through the medium of the legislature, and that principles of constitutionalism assist the legislature to solve areas of tension between governmental branches, and demands grounded in rights)
  2. Grainne De Burca, International Law before the Courts: The European Union and the United States Compared (Virginia Journal of International Law, forthcoming) (surveying the jurisprudential approach of the American Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice towards the appreciation of international sources of law, and exploring the points of convergence in the jurisprudence of the two courts)
  3. Kai Möller, The Global Model of Constitutional Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015) (presenting a theoretical analysis of rights based in constitutional principles, and elaborating on the idea of a ‘global model’ for rights, through a comparative analysis of the development of constitutional rights in several nations)
  4. William Partlett, The American Tradition of Constituent Power (seeking to ‘recover’ the meaning of constituent power in American law and proposing that the power of the people to replace a ‘constitutional order’ can be well channelled through the judicial branch)
  5. Evelyn Ellis and Phillipa Watson, EU Anti-Discrimination Law (Oxford University Press, 2015) (critically evaluating the applicable legal principles in the European Union which disallow discrimination such as gender and religious based discrimination, and advancing recommendations for improving their overall framework)

Elsewhere on the Web

  1. Venkatesan, Tyranny of the majority, Frontline
  2. Kate Stone, Human Rights and the Arms Trade Treaty, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  3. Murali Krishnan, 2014- What happened at the Supreme Court of India, Bar and Bench
  4. Ruthann Robson, Ninth Circuit declines en banc review of same-sex marriage case and updates, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  5. Angelo Marletta, The Ceju and the Spasic case: Recasting mutual trust in the area of freedom, security and justice? European Law Blog

Call for Papers/Conferences

  1. The University of Milan’s Department of National and Supranational Public Law and the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law welcome the submission of papers for a full-day workshop on comparative constitutional law, to be held on the campus of the University of Milan on Monday, May 4, 2015 from 10h00 to 16h00.
  2. Boston College Law School and the International Association of Constitutional Law’s Research Group on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change invite submissions for a full-day workshop on comparative constitutional amendment, to be held on the campus of Boston College Law School on Friday, May 15, 2015.
  3. The Younger Comparativists Committee (YCC) of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL) invites nominations, including self-nominations, for the first annual Richard M. Buxbaum Prize for Teaching in Comparative Law by younger scholars.
  4. A call for papers has been issued by The International Journal of Transitional Justice for a special issue on ‘Reconsidering Appropriate Responses to Victims of Conflict’ scheduled for 2016. All papers must be sent in by the 1st of July, 2015.
  5. Journal of Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Institute of Law, Nirma University, requests articles, case studies, and book reviews for being considered for publication in its 2014-2015 volume. All entries are due by the 15th of February, 2015.
  6. Papers are invited by the Birbeck Institute for Social Research and Birbeck Institute for the Humanities for a conference on ‘Reflections on Social Change: Metamorphosis or Transformation?’ to be held at Birkbeck, University of London on the 15th and 16th of May, 2015. Abstracts of papers must be submitted by the 24th of February, 2015.
  7. The Utrecht Journal of International and European Law invites papers for an issue on ‘General Issues’ within International and European law.’ Papers are due by the 30th of April, 2015.
  8. The School of Law at the University of Dundee and K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea, University of Tromsø, invite participants for a conference on ‘The European Union and the Arctic’ to be held on the 29th and 30th of May, 2015 at Dundee, Scotland. Abstracts of papers are to be submitted by the 15th of January, 2015.

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Published on January 12, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Invitation to Friends of I-CONnect: Symposium at McGill University on the Senate Reference

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

Friends of I-CONnect are invited to attend the McGill Law Journal’s 2015 symposium on “Democracy, Federalism and the Rule of Law: The Implications of the Senate Reference.” All are welcome: scholars, students, lawyers and the general public.

The event will be held at McGill University’s Faculty of Law on Friday, January 30, from 8:30am to 5:00pm, with a reception to follow. Registration is free.

Here is the full program:

Introductory Remarks

Hoi Kong (McGill)

Panel I: Taking Democratic Constitutionalism Seriously: Reforming the Senate

Allan Hutchinson (Osgoode Hall Law School) & Joel Colón-Ríos (Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, NZ)

Panel II: Democratic Deliberation and the Rule of Law

Richard Albert (Boston College Law School)

Yasmin Dawood (University of Toronto, Faculty of Law)

Panel III: Les Fondements de la Constitution canadienne

Noura Karazivan (Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal)

Patrick Taillon (Faculté de droit, Université Laval)

Panel IV: The Judicial Function in Constitutional Amendment

Kate Glover (McGill University, Faculty of Law)

Emmett Macfarlane (University of Waterloo, Department of Political Science)

Background on the Senate Reference

In the recent Senate Reference, the Supreme Court of Canada advised the Government of Canada on the constitutionality of various proposals to reform the Senate. The Court’s reference is available here. Useful background on the Senate reform proposals is available here.

Here is the description of the McGill Law Journal’s scholarly program:

Held in conjunction with the Journal’s forthcoming special issue on the Senate Reference, this symposium will explore and evaluate the impact of the Senate Reference on democracy, federalism, constitutional amendment, the political process, and electoral politics.

The papers presented at this symposium will represent the first major scholarly assessment of this important decision. The invited panelists and discussants, who represent a broad cross-section of views on the Senate Reference, will take doctrinal, historical, constitutional, comparative and theoretical perspectives on the Senate Reference, and will draw connections to other recent public law decisions, including the Supreme Court Act Reference.

Registration is free here. Please direct questions to Nicole Leger at journal.law@mcgill.ca.

We look forward to seeing you in Montreal if you are available. Congratulations to the McGill Law Journal’s editorial leadership, in particular Editor-in-Chief William Stephenson, for leading the organization of what promises to be an important and provocative scholarly program.

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Published on January 10, 2015
Author:          Filed under: Developments