Month: January 2010
Canadian Supreme Court decision in Khadr handed down
For those following the Khadr case (previously discussed here), the Supreme Court of Canada has handed down its decision. To recap, Khadr is a Canadian citizen who was captured by the U.S. as a teenager and has been tortured in the course of his indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo Bay.
Shoe Throwing at the Israeli Supreme Court
A strange incident at the Israeli Supreme Court — a person with a record of threatening lower court judges threw his shoes (a-la Iraqi journalist move) at no else than Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch during a Supreme Court hearing in a matter unrelated to the shoe thrower.
Socio-Economic Rights: The Second Stage
In a post last week, I argued that the South African Constitutional Court’s first stage of socio-economic rights decisions threaded a needle by enforcing such rights, yet accommodating separation of powers concerns. This new post discusses the second of the Court’s three stages.
Turkish court ruling
Jurist reports that Turkey’s constitutional court has over-turned a law allowing for civilian prosecution of military personnel in civilian courts. The report describes the law as being a barrier to EU accession, but the real politics are likely domestic: the law was promulgated in part to facilitate investigation of military officials and others who were involved in the alleged plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party.
Competing Models of Democracy in Canada and the United States
A few years ago, Michael Adams illuminated the many ways in which the United States and Canada are hardening in their views on civil society, culture, and politics. Entitled “Fire and Ice,” the book marshals an encyclopedic volume of data to show that Canada retains its own distinct identity—one that remains vibrant and strong despite being subject to omnipresent American influences.
Statutes on constitutional amendment procedure?
here is a question from Mongolia, where the parliament is considering drafting a statute on constitutional amendments. Some countries have specific statutes to cover the procedure for proposing and passing an amendment, filling in details not contained in the constitution. Do any readers have examples of such statutes?
How Representative is the Senate Minority Anyway?
Last week’s Senate election in Massachusetts had many of us thinking about the merits and demerits of the filibuster. A basic question that sprang to mind, given the well-known malapportionment of the Senate, was this: what percent of Americans are represented by the 41 would-be filibusterers?
Is the Japanese Supreme Court spreading its wings?
Last week, the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for a municipal government to offer city-owned land without charge for the site of a Shinto shrine. The ruling by the top court’s Grand Bench upheld the contention of the plaintiffs that the municipal government of Sunagawa, Hokkaido had violated the constitutional requirement of a separation of church and state when it granted city land to the shrine without charge.
Three Stages of Socio-Economic Rights?
The South African Constitutional Court has issued internationally significant decisions abolishing the death penalty, legalizing same-sex marriage, and ruling that their Constitution’s socio-economic rights provision are enforceable rather than aspirational. The socio-economic rulings are among the first of their kind internationally with some exceptions (for example, India and Columbia).
Constitutional Overhaul in Mexico?
In 2010, most Latin American countries celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the start of their wars of independence from Spain. Mexico, in addition, celebrates the centennial anniversary of its social revolution. In part because “we cannot afford to waste this year’s symbolic political energy” (words of the Secretary of the Interior), and in part to divert the attention from the war on drugs, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has launched a “Decalogue” of political reforms to update the rules of the political game for the young Mexican democracy.