Month: July 2010
The unstable presidentialization of Japan’s parliamentary system
Scholars sometimes speak of the presidentialization of parliamentary systems. Japan’s political constitution has been moving in this disrection since the election of Junichiro Koizumi in 2001. In the Japanese system, MPs of the leading parties function as a kind of “electoral college” choosing as Prime Minister NOT their de facto leader BUT rather someone popular with the voters for winning elections.
Georgian President seeks new draft
Georgian President Saakashvili on Wednesday submitted to parliament a draft of a new constitution that would limit the power of the presidency. The opposition has opposed the move, and some speculate that Saakashvili is “pulling a Putin”: empowering a prime ministership for himself to occupy once his term ends.
“… far more onerous than the restrictions found in this Nation.”
In McDonald v. Chicago, Justice Stevens stated in dissent that “the experience of other advanced democracies . . . undercuts the notion that an expansive right to keep and bear arms is intrinsic to ordered liberty. Many of these countries place restrictions on the possession, use, and carriage of firearms far more onerous than the restrictions found in this Nation.”
Constitution-making in Somalia
A fascinating, first-hand account of current UN-led constitution-making efforts in war-ridden Somalia — arguably one of the bleakest, most dysfunctional corners of today’s world — is offered by Professor David Cameron of the University of Toronto’s Department of Political Science. Professor Cameron, a prominent scholar of Canadian federalism and inter-governmental relations, has long been involved in international efforts to draw on constitutional design and on bona fides multi-party constitutional consultations to mitigate strife in conflict or post-conflict hot spots such as Iraq, Sudan and Sri Lanka.
Veiled Equality and Secularism.
The New York Times recently described the newest developments in France to enact a prohibition on the wearing of the face veil. Some of the opposition of course came from religious groups. Meanwhile, as Miguel Schor has pointed out in a recent blog posting here, Argentina has essentially allowed same-sex marriage.
Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage
After 15 hours of debate in the Senate on July 15, Argentina became the first nation in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. One of the more contentious developments in the second half of the twentieth century has been the struggle between religion and the State over the power to regulate family life and gender issues.
The Law and the Social Reality of Other Constitutions
And you thought you knew nothing about the constitution of Morocco? By the time I am done with these posts, you will hardly remember that day. Below, another reflection on reading the constitution of Morocco and then traveling the country of Morocco: The gap between constitutional reality and constitutional text can often be quite profound.
Political Parties and Comparative Constitutional Law
Another thought inspired by reading the Constitution of Morocco: Bruce Ackerman and others have written in the American context of how our Constitution says nothing about political parties, and the problems that has caused. Even given this, though, reading other constitutions is always enlightening because of the substantial attention it shines on just how much other constitutions talk about organizations beyond just the state, and how important these organizations are to these other constitutions.
Important Decision from European Court of Human Rights
As noted here, there was an important ruling on extradition-related matters from the European Court of Human Rights on Thursday.
Televising Supreme Court nomination hearings
Elena Kagan’s nomination hearings have concluded and a vote in the Senate will occur shortly. Although the televised hearings were not the stuff of compelling political theater, they are somewhat exceptional. Polities around the globe have fashioned national high courts and written constitutions but public hearings over nominations are rare.