Justice Ginsburg to Egypt: Don’t copy the U.S. Constitution
Let’s say you’re a newly democratizing country – say, Egypt – in the market for a new constitution. What constitutions, if any, should you consider as models in drafting your own? According to Justice Ginsburg, the answer is, maybe Canada or South Africa, or constitutions written after World War II more generally.
Ban Ki-Moon on gay rights in Africa
It’s no secret that the treatment of gays and respect for gay rights in Africa can be spotty at best. (See, e.g., previous coverage on this blog of a particularly chilling chain of events in Uganda here, here, and here. And let’s not forget Zimbabwe either.)
Senegal: Court Clears Wade for Third Term
Yesterday, Senegal’s Constitutional Council ruled that President Abdoulaye Wade can run for a third term, and that popular musician Youssou N’Dour could not run. Riots erupted, leaving a policeman dead. As we described earlier, Wade is relying on a somewhat tortured, though not insane, reading of the constitutional scheme as amended since he acscended to power in 2000.
Scholarly Announcements for Comparativists
Below, I’m pleased to share three announcements from two groups with which I’m involved. The first is a new Call for Papers from the AALS Section on Law and South Asian Studies. It is open to all comparativists irrespective of seniority.
“Guiding Cases” in China
The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China has begun the practice of announcing “guiding cases.” These are cases that, as explained here, “provide guidance to people’s courts in hearing similar cases and handing down judgments, and reference shall be made by judges in hearing similar cases and cited as the basis for reasoning in judgments.”
South Sudan constitutional process beginning
The world’s newest country, South Sudan, has been wracked by serious inter-ethnic conflict in recent weeks, in which cattle raids have escalated to large-scale pogroms between Nuer and Murle ethnic groups. The situation seems to be deteriorating rapidly, and presents serious challenges to the Government as well as international peacekeepers, who have been unable to stop the violence.
Progress in Fiji?
The recent developments in Myanmar remind us that even cosntitutions adopted with low expectations can mark significant political change. In this light, it is worth watching forthcoming developments in Fiji, where military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday lifted the three-year-old state of emergency, and announced the need to move toward a new constitution.
Hungary’s New Constitution
The new constitution of Hungary—called the Fundamental Law of Hungary—became effective a couple of days ago on January 1, 2012. The day after its coming into force, thousands of Hungarians gathered in Budapest to protest the nation’s new constitution. Analyses of the day’s events are available here, here and here.
Japan Equality Case
The Tokyo District Court just handed down a decision finding that a national university’s (Tokyo Institute of Technology or TIT) denial of admission to a foreign student was unconstitutional. The case concerned an Iranian student, a refugee in Japan, who applied to the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the TIT.
Egypt update from International IDEA
As Egypt goes to the polls to begin its long process of electing a parliament, I recommend taking a look at an analysis produced by International IDEA of the “Fundamental Principles” document released earlier this month. The document has been widely criticized for trying to cement a role for the military in future politics.