Month: December 2010
Venezuelan Democracy in a broader context
I would like to follow up Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez’s excellent post on the troubling state of democracy in Venezuela with a few observations placing the events in that nation in a broader context. One could argue that Venezuela is simply reverting to what has long been in the mean in Latin America which is that strong presidents sweep aside institutions to favor cronies and, in some cases, articulate a broader vision for the nation.
A One-Two Knockout to Venezuelan Democracy?
The exploits of the Mexican Chavez family are well known to boxing fans. Beginning with Julio Cesar Chavez in the early eighties and moving on to his sons Julio Jr. and Omar in the present day; the family has earned many titles and championships through a combination of vicious one-two punches (wherein a first strike disorients and a second does the real damage) and a sheer stubborn unwillingness to go down for the count.
ECHR: Irish abortion law violates European Convention on Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has just handed down a decision in A, B, and C v. Ireland, in which it holds that Ireland’s strict ban on abortion violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for one’s privacy and family life).
Justices Giving Speeches…
During my visit to South Africa in October, I heard a speech on separation of powers by the Chief Justice of their Constitutional Court, Sandile Ngcobo. The speech was at the University of Stellenbosch Law Faculty. Justice Ngcobo gave a very interesting and scholarly view of differing theories of separations of powers as applicable in the South African context.
Valium, Floods, and Presidential Decree Power in Venezuela
You have to admire Hugo Chavez’s directness, if nothing else. Today he exercised his constitutional prerogative to request decree powers from the National Assembly, which is expected to oblige. The opposition, of course, was none too pleased at the thought of more Chavezian decrees.
EU says Turkish reforms aren’t enough
In these pages, Ozan Varol posted a nice overview of the Turkish constitutional amendments in September. Varol had noted that the otherwise democratic reforms could potentially do some real damage to the independence of the judiciary. According to a story in Today’s Zaman, an English-language paper published in Turkey, help may be on the way.
In memoriam: Cai Dingjian
China lost one of its most distinguished scholar in Constitutional Law, and a leading advocate of political and legal reform, with the death of Cai Dingjian at the age of 54 on November 22, 2010. His funerals provoked a wave of emotion among his students and colleagues, and all of those working to promote legal reform in China.
World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law in Mexico City
For those with an interest in comparative constitutional law, a good place to be this coming week is Mexico City. The VIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law kicks off tomorrow at the Hilton Reforma Mexico City. The latest version of the program is available here.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Constitutional Council invalidates election results
Per the wire feed carried by the New York Times, Cote d’Ivoire’s Conseil Constitutionnel has just overturned the election commission’s conclusion that the opposition candidate won the country’s presidential election, and has instead handed victory to the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo.
More Diversity on the U.S. Supreme Court
Over at Balkinization, Jason Mazzone discusses the need for more diversity on the U.S. Supreme Court. The concept of diversity can be viewed in several ways of course. It has been argued that the U.S. needs Justices from more varied law schools, that there should be more racial diversity on the Court, that the Justices should not possess mainly academic and judicial job experience, etc.