Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Month: December 2009

  • The ECHR and ethnic discrimination in the Bosnia and Herzegovina constitution

    The European Court of Human Rights had a holiday gift for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s smaller minority groups today. The story is widely reported; Deutsche Welle has coverage here. The court ruled that provisions of the country’s post-conflict constitution are discriminatory in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • The Irish SC and Gay Rights

    Last week the Irish Supreme Court handed down a significant decision in relation to the rights of gays and lesbians living in Ireland. In McD v. L [2009[ IESC 81, the Supreme Court held that in a dispute over legal guardianship and access, a male biological parents (and sperm donor) was in principle entitled to statutory rights of access, even though this ran contrary to a prior agreement with a child’s current parents and guardians (lesbian couple) and their wishes.

  • UKSC rules on Jewish school admission criteria

    As the New York Times and other media outlets report, on Wednesday, Dec. 16 the newly established UKSC released its landmark ruling in a case involving apparently discriminatory admission criteria by a Jewish school in North London. According to the traditional Orthodox Judaism definition, a person may be recognized as Jewish only if his or her mother was Jewish, or if he or she converted to Judaism via Orthodox conversion practices.

  • The Church and Constitutional Fidelity

    Nearly a month ago, the Wall Street Journal carried an interesting story on the role of the Catholic Church in the Honduran constitutional crisis. The Church, as it turns out, supported the coup (a highly contested word in this context, I know) for which they received a fair amount of criticism from Zelayistas.

  • Turkey’s Constitutional Court bans pro-Kurdish party

    Under the 1982 Turkish Constitution, Turkey’s Constitutional Court – a stronghold of Kemalist-statist interests and an active defender of Turkey’s militant secularism – is vested with the power to order the closure of political parties whose agenda is found to be “in conflict with the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, human rights, national sovereignty, and the principles of the democratic and secular Republic” or when “the internal functioning and the decisions of political parties [is] contrary to the principles of democracy” (Article 143).

  • Observations on Kenya’s Draft Constitution II: the “Birthers” were Right…

    …about Barack Obama. Article 17(2) of the Draft provides that “A person born outside Kenya is a citizen if, at the date of the person’s birth, either the mother or the father of the person is a citizen . . .

  • Addendum to Iraq’s Election Quandary

    The Speaker of Iraq’s Parliament acknowledge today the inevitability of a “constitutional and legislative vacuum” as a result of the unavoidable gap between the end of the current Parliament’s legislative term and the time before elections can be conducted and a new Parliament and government formed — about two months by the Speaker’s estimation.

  • Observations on Kenya’s Draft Constitution I

    Kenya’s draft constitution is now in a period of public comment. The draft is long—over 300 articles—and is all in all a very impressive piece of work. It features a semi-presidential system, an extensive bill of rights, and significant devolution of power to the local level.

  • The Election Law Passed But Iraq Still Stands To Miss a Constitutional Dead Line

    The impasse over Iraq’s election law has now caused United Nations officials to publicly admit what many have feared for weeks — Iraq is going to miss its constitutionally mandated deadline for parliamentary elections. Delays this past summer and fall were do to two key disagreements among Iraqi law-makers: (1) whether to have open or closed list voting; and (2) how to deal with Iraq’s disputed territory of Kirkuk.

  • A constitutional conundrum in Fiji

    There have been three coups in Fiji since independence. There have been two since the latest Constitution was enacted in 1997, following a respectable local constitution-making process. The Constitution was reinstated after the first of these, in a remarkably docile response to a judicial decision that it had not effectively been abrogated.