Iowa Supreme Court Crisis?
In November, the people of the State of Iowa voted not to retain three of their seven Supreme Court Justices. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The result received national and international attention, given the real dangers that the vote poses to separation of powers and an independent judiciary.
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.
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.
The famous German legal scholar, Professor Winfried Brugger of the University of Heidelberg, died suddenly. Besides being a leading legal philosopher, and scholar of German constitutional law, he was one of Germany’s preeminent experts on American constitutional law. He also was a frequent visitor to Georgetown Law.
Socio-Economic Rights Decline
In late 2009, several of the South African Constitutional Court’s most famous Justices were scheduled to step down. They still had to write opinions in some difficult socio-economic rights cases. To the surprise of many legal scholars, they authored opinions which appear to put the brakes on the development of a transformative socio-economic rights jurisprudence.
South African Constitutional Court Building
I spent the last few weeks giving lectures at several South African law faculties on socio-economic rights issues, and on my book “Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds: South Africa and the United States.” I will write several posts about what I learned from my South African colleagues.
Kenyan Constitution and Chicago Troika
Here is a great nugget from a recent edition of news at the University of Chicago. It includes some insights into what valuable work is being carried out by other members of this blog. It starts with some biographical material on Tom: “Ginsburg first developed an interest in constitutions through his work at the Asia Foundation in the early 1990s, when he was sent to Mongolia as a young program officer to organize assistance in writing a new constitution.
Freedom of Expression Endangered in South Africa
The post-Apartheid South African press and media have traditionally been vigorous. They have frequently criticized the government as well as opposition groups. The press and media there can sometimes be a bit sensationalistic (hardly unique to South Africa of course). But it’s fair to say that the country’s press freedom has been good overall.
An Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment?
There has been much debate recently over a federal district court ruling that struck down part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The ruling essentially said that the Arizona law was preempted because this is an area of federal authority. The Court did not focus on the argument that the law invited racial profiling and other problems.
Proportionality and Justice Breyer’s New Book
The August 19, 2010 issue of the New York Review of Books contains an excerpt from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s forthcoming book, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View. The excerpt discusses his view of constitutional interpretation in relation to the Supreme Court’s famous case endorsing an individual rights approach to the Second Amendment on gun control, District of Columbia v.