Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Month: March 2011

  • The death penalty around the world in 2010: an empirical snapshot

    Amnesty International has released figures on worldwide use of the death penalty in 2010. The U.S. clocks in at number 5 in terms of the sheer number of executions, ahead of Saudi Arabia and behind Yemen. These are absolute numbers, though, not per capita figures.

  • Cairo Update: After the referendum, a new turn in constitutional developments

    Just a few days before the constitutional amendment referendum held in Egypt on March 19, the current ruling authority, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), announced that the results of the referendum, positive or negative, would be followed directly by a “constitutional declaration.”

  • The Confederate States of America Constitution at 150

    This month marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Confederate Constitution into law. Following weeks of deliberation by forty-three delegates from seven states, the Confederacy formally ratified the document on March 11, 1861. Four more States, and two territories, would later join the Confederate States of America (CSA) and in doing so adopt this constitution for the war’s duration.

  • Hungary’s proto-authoritarian new Constitution

    Hungary is about to give itself a new constitution: 21 years after the peaceful transition from communism to democracy the nationalist-conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, by virtue of its 2/3-majority in parliament, has tried to put the country on a entirely new constitutional course, with exceptional haste: Last week a draft for a new constitution was published, this week parliament has begun to discuss it, and in the week before Easter it will be adopted and promulgated.

  • From Cairo: Kristen Stilt on Assessing Tahrir’s First Ballot Box

    [cross-posted from] The need to establish stability during a period of great uncertainty was a central issue in Egypt’s constitutional amendment referendum held on March 19. Advocates of a “yes” vote championed an immediate path to political, economic, and social stability through amendments to the most offensive provisions of the constitution, which would be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in the coming months.

  • Transition for a Constitution in Exile

    In light of the momentous events in the Middle East, some may have missed an important story out of India: The Dalai Lama has announced his intention to retire and has asked for amendments to Tibet’s “Constitution” to allow him to do so.

  • The Indian Supreme Court and the Government of Pakistan

    In a recent judgment issued just last week (Gopol Dass thr. Brother Anand Vir vs. Union of India & ANR, writ petition No. 16 of 2008), the Supreme Court of India addressed its decision directly to the Government of Pakistan. Speaking on behalf of an Indian citizen imprisoned in Pakistan since 1984, the Indian Supreme Court made an impassioned plea to Pakistani officials for his expeditious release.

  • Dispatch from Cairo: What the Egyptian Constitutional Amendment Referendum is Really About

    Many Egyptians are intensely debating the pros and cons of the constitutional amendment referendum taking place here in Egypt on Saturday, March 19, but in these discussions, what would seem to be the most obvious topic is almost completely missing: the content of the amendments themselves.

  • Landmark ECtHR ruling on Crucifix in the Italian Classroom

    While many observers have been focusing on pertinent developments in Egypt, the world of constitutional law marches on. Earlier today (March 18), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its ruling in Lautsi v. Italy (case no.

  • New report on Judicial Terms

    The Reports section of this website has a new report on the length of judicial terms for highest courts. About 10% of national constitutions provide for an unspecified life term for supreme court justices; another 5% provide for a life term subject to a specified retirement age.