Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Conference Report–Global Constitutionalism from European and East Asian Perspectives

–Yota Negishi, Associate Professor, Seinan Gakuin Unviersity, Japan

This short contribution reports on two events held in Berlin and Leuven on the edited book Global Constitutionalism from European and East Asian Perspectives (Takao Suami, Anne Peters, Mattias Kumm and Dimitri Vanoverbeke, eds., Cambridge University Press 2018).

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Published on July 14, 2019
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Why Political Pluralism is Not Enough: Moldova’s Constitutional Crisis

William Partlett, Melbourne Law School

[Editor’s note: This is one of our biweekly I-CONnect columns. Columns, while scholarly in accordance with the tone of the blog and about the same length as a normal blog post, are a bit more “op-ed” in nature than standard posts. For more information about our four columnists for 2019, see here.]

Just a month ago in early June, Moldova—one of the smallest and poorest post-Soviet nations—found itself in a major constitutional crisis.  In a space of three days, the Moldovan Constitutional Court blocked the creation of a new coalition government and replaced the sitting president.  Weeks later, however, that same Court annulled these decisions and all six judges resigned in response to allegations that it had “compromised its constitutional role” by “acting exclusively” in the interest of the former ruling party.

This crisis suggests that the problems of post-Soviet constitutionalism are not always ones of judicial weakness. In other post-Soviet contexts, constitutional courts are overly political, deployed as weapons by powerful interests intent on keeping power. Underlying these problems of judicial weakness and weaponization are the same problem: A failure of law and judicial institutions to operate independently from ordinary politics.  

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Published on July 10, 2019
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I·CON Volume 17, Issue 2: Editorial

Best Practice—Writing a Peer-Review Report

The importance of peer review has, if anything, increased in recent times. The enthrallment of current academia with “objective” quantitative measures in the processes of selection, promotion and evaluation of academic performance has put a premium on publication in “peer-reviewed” journals. Instead of a faculty reading carefully the work and making up its own mind as to its quality, they will outsource such to two anonymous peer reviewers. Also, in the face of the avalanche of self-publication in outlets such as SSRN (valuable in and of itself) and the like, peer review may help the discerning reader navigate these channels, thereby providing some guarantee of excellence.

Yet this importance is often not matched by the practice of peer review. The rate of refusal to peer review is as high as 50 percent—oftentimes by authors who themselves have published in, and benefited from, peer-reviewed journals. Authors who publish in I.CON and EJIL undertake to peer review for our journals, an undertaking not always honored. Of course, there is only so much peer reviewing that one can do and we understand when we receive a request to beg off with a promise to do it on some other occasion.

Then there is the problem of tardiness. Four to six weeks is a reasonable time to expect a peer-review report to come in. Frequently, to our and our authors’ frustration it can be as long as twenty-four weeks, after a slew of “gentle” and somewhat less gentle reminders.

And then there is the question of the quality of the review, oftentimes perfunctory and hardly helpful.

So here are some guidelines to this act of high academic citizenship.

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Published on July 9, 2019
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What’s New in Public Law

Gaurav Mukherjee, S.J.D. Candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law, Central European University, Budapest

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of Indonesia rejected an appeal by a woman who was sentenced to six months in prison for recording and sharing a phone conversation she had with her boss to prove that he was sexually harassing her.
  2. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favour of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission imposing a temporary ban on NTV Mir Lithuania broadcasting a program that was deemed to incite hatred based on nationality.
  3. The Supreme Court of India declined to hear a contempt petition which contended that the apex court’s 2018 judgment directing measures to curb mob lynching had not yet been complied with.
  4. The Supreme Judicial Council in Pakistan held a brief hearing on the disciplinary references against Justice Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court, for allegations of irregular possession of properties.
  5. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine filed a notification of suspicion against a former Constitutional Court judge, Serhii Vdovychenko, in connection with the case in which former president Viktor Yanukovych is suspected of usurping power.
  6. The High Court of Australia will hear an appeal against the judgment of the Federal Court, which ruled that beaches north of Broome, Western Australia are the exclusive possession of native title holders.
  7. The Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear Alabama’s bid to revive a Republican-backed state law that would have effectively banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
  8. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a bid to reinstate $4.3 billion in punitive damages against Sudan in a lawsuit accusing it of complicity in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
  9. After the petitioners failed to make out a case for an urgent hearing, the Constitutional Court of South Africa adjourned the hearing on an application for leave to appeal from a decision of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa which questioned the constitutional permissibility of a prohibition on eligible South Africans from standing for election to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures other than through party lists. The case will now be heard on August 15. Judgment here.

In the News

  1. The Hungarian National Assembly passed a controversial bill which drastically reduces the financial and operational autonomy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as certain other research institutions.
  2. The High Court of Tanzania issued a judgment on the human rights implications of suspending the Southern African Development Community Tribunal – regional court set up to consider disputes between states as well as between individuals and states.
  3. The Minister of Interior of the Netherlands considers changes to how the Kingdom elects members of both the Eerste Kamer (Houe of Representatives) and Tweede Kamer (Senate). The changes would give more weight to the candidates’ preference votes.
  4. The Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa dismissed an application by Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party, challenging the constitutionality of one of the last remaining pieces of apartheid-era law.
  5. A proposal in the Dominican Republic that would amend the constitution to allow President Danilo Medina to run for a third term in office sparked protest from opposition lawmakers and critics.
  6. More than 200 major companies urged the Supreme Court of the United States to rule that gay and transgender people are covered by protections afforded under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  7. The parliamentary opposition parties in Romania lodged a proposal to revise the Constitution that would disable amnesty and pardon in cases where persons have been convicted for corruption.

New Scholarship

  1. The German Law Journal put together a commemorative issue on the contributions of Prof. Donald Kommers to the field of constitutional law and beyond.
  2. Lawrence Lessig, Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution (2019) (suggesting that in addition to “interpretive fidelity,” judges in the process of interpreting the Constitution of the United States have sought to maintain fidelity to the perceived judicial role). To find the symposium on the book organized by Balinkization, follow this link.
  3. Maria Bertel, Democratization through Decentralization. Why Electoral Laws Matter, 52(1) Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (2019) (assessing the outcome of the process of decentralization introduced by the Peruvian Constitution of 1993).
  4. Alex Parsons, Digital Tools for Citizens’ Assemblies (2019) (assessing the utility of digital tools to improve the flow of information into and out of Citizens’ Assemblies, using the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment as a case study).
  5. Damjan Grozdanovski, The Workload of The European Court of Human Rights: A Back-Door to Becoming a Constitutional Court of Europe, 2(1) Nordic Journal of European Law (2019) (examining the 2010 changes to the Convention mechanism of the ECtHR designed to improve its handling of the caseload).
  6. Han-Ru Zhou, Erga Omnes or Inter Partes? The Legal Effects of Federal Courts’ Constitutional Judgments, 97 Canadian Bar Review (2019) (examining whether the effects of a decision by the Federal Court of Canada or the Federal Court of Appeal apply only to the parties to the case or extends beyond).
  7. Verónica Undurraga and Michelle Sadler, The misrepresentation of conscientious objection: A new strategy of resistance to abortion decriminalisation, 27(2) Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters (2019) (analyzing the conscientious objection exception for performing abortions, in light of its interpretation by the Chilean Constitutional Court in 2017).
  8. Enrique Rabell-Garcia, Local Governments in Latin America, 52(1) Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (2019) (examining federal asymmetries of state and municipal governments in Latin America to argue that states with more symmetry would have greater governance within the federal pact).
  9. Julia Stephens, Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia (2019) (tracing the colonial roots of contemporary struggles between Islam and secularism in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). A symposium on the book can be found here.

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), in Bangalore, invites applications for the position of a Research Associate. CLPR is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to constitutional law and policy research, social and governance interventions and strategic impact litigation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  2. The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies invites applications for a two-year, in-residence, postdoctoral fellowship from outstanding scholars at the start of their careers whose work combines disciplinary excellence in the social sciences or law with a command of the language and history or culture of countries or regions outside of the United States or Canada. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2019.
  3. The Varieties of Democracy Institute, seeks Country Experts for the V-Dem Update 2020, as part of a global, collaborative research project providing the largest ever database on democracy.
  4. The Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine invites applications for one or more Assistant Professor positions. Candidates with research interests and expertise in the following areas are preferred: 1) Policing; 2) Global challenges in criminology, law & society; 3) Technology, law, and social control.
  5. The Macquarie University, Sydney invites submissions for an interdisciplinary workshop on “Modes of Activism Under Authoritarian Governance Regimes in The Asia-Pacific,” be held on November 14-15, 2019. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together scholars with research expertise on activism in the Asia-Pacific to explore how civil society actors navigate diverse authoritarian spaces. The deadline for submissions is July 31.
  6. The Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS) invites applications for a workshop on “Stigmatization, Identities and the Law: Asian and Comparative Perspectives,” to be held on June 23-24, 2020. The deadline for submission of abstracts is August 31, 2019.
  7. The Nordic Journal of European Law invites submissions for its second 2019 issue on the theme of the rule of law in Europe. The deadline for submission of papers is September 27, 2019.
  8. The Pretoria University Law Press published the first volume of the African Court Law Report, covering judgments, advisory opinions and other decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2009-16.
  9. The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law invites applications for the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in several areas including public law. The deadline is 4 August 2019.
  10. Yale Law School invites applications for its Ninth Annual Doctoral Scholarship Conference, to be held on November 8-9, 2019. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is July 8.
  11. The Melbourne Institute of Comparative Constitutional Law (MICCL) invites applications for its Young Scholars Forum, aimed at bringing together junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and leading senior international scholars to develop the study of comparative constitutional law through exchange between leaders and emerging scholars in the field. The deadline for submission of applications is August 11, 2019.
  12. The Academic Research Network on EU Agencies and Institutional Innovation (TARN) organizes a two-day conference on “Conference EU Agencies as ‘Inbetweeners’? The Relationship between EU Agencies and Member,” to be held on December 4-5, 2019. The deadline for submission of abstracts is July 31.
  13. The AALS East Asian Law & Society (EALS) Section invites submissions for its main program at the 2020 AALS Annual Conference: “Challenges to the Rule of Law: Lessons from and for Asia.” Those interested in presenting a paper or a work in progress relevant to this topic are invited to submit an abstract by July 31, 2019.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval, Latin America: Walking into the Abyss with eyes wide open, IACL-AIDC Blog
  2. Davide Paris, Overruling Roe v. Wade?, Verfassungsblog
  3. Carmel Rickard, What is a Life Worth in Uganda’s Courts?, AfricanLII
  4. Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, Populism meets Congressional Backlash in Brazil: Recasting executive-legislative relations?, ConstitutionNet
  5. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Completing Armenia’s Revolution: Transitional Justice and Judicial Vetting, ConstitutionNet
  6. Linda Greenhouse, It’s Not Nice to Lie to the Supreme Court, The New York Times
  7. David R. Cameron, After marathon meeting, European Council agrees on EU leadership package – a good one, Yale MacMillan Centre
  8. Charles Fried, A Day of Sorrow for American Democracy, The Atlantic
  9. Samuel Issacharoff, When Constraint Fails, Election Law Blog
  10. Radhika Agarwal, Constitutional Law Developments in South Asia in 2019, IACL-AIDC Blog
  11. Oran Doyle, Northern Ireland border poll must avoid pitfalls of Brexit Referendum, LSE Brexit Blog
  12. Theodore Shulman, Timid Restraint, Verfassungsblog
  13. Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy, The hyper judicialisation of politics in Moldova: Opportunities for constitutional reform, ConstitutionNet
  14. Laurent Pech and Sébastien Platon, The beginning of the end for Poland’s so-called “judicial reforms”? Some thoughts on the ECJ ruling in Commission v Poland (Independence of the Supreme Court case), EU Law Analysis
  15. Sanford Levinson, On the Gerrymandering Decision: Don’t Mourn, Organize–and “Rise Up”, Balkinization
  16. Richard Pildes, The Census Decision: Institutional Realism, Institutional Formalism, and Judicial Review, Balkinization
  17. Hyunah Yang, Punishment for Abortion will Vanish from Korea’s Criminal Code: the April 2019 Constitutional Court Decision, Reprohealthlaw Blog
  18. Jeffrey Toobin, Clarence Thomas’s Astonishing Opinion on a Racist Mississippi Prosecutor, The New Yorker
  19. Amy Howe, Opinion analysis: Justices reverse death sentence for Mississippi inmate, SCOTUS Blog
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Published on July 8, 2019
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Call for Papers–Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change–The University of Texas at Austin–January 17-18, 2020

The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism

invites submissions for

Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change

The University of Texas Law School
Austin, Texas
January 17-18, 2020

Submissions are invited from faculty and graduate students for a two-day conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change,” to be held in Austin at the University of Texas Law School.

The program will feature: (1) concurrent panels in which submitted works-in-progress will be the focus of discussion; and (2) a series of plenary lectures delivered by the Comparative Constitutionalism faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

This conference is convened by Professor Richard Albert (Texas) and is generously sponsored by The University of Texas Law School.

Subject-Matter of the Conference

Submissions are welcome on any subject of constitutional change, broadly defined, including but not limited to constitutional amendment, constitutional reform, constitutional conventions, constitutional transitions, constitution-making, judicial interpretation and review, unwritten constitutional norms, revolution, and forms of direct democracy including referendums.

Eligibility for the Conference

Submissions are invited from faculty as well as students enrolled in graduate programs in various disciplines (including but not limited to history, law, political science, and sociology). Submissions are welcomed on any subject related to the conference theme. Submissions may take comparative, doctrinal, empirical, historical, philosophical, sociological, theoretical, or other perspectives.


The Comparative Constitutionalism faculty at the University of Texas at Austin is diverse across many dimensions including nationality, methodology, jurisdictional focus, and normative commitments but it is lacking in other forms of diversity, most notably gender and racial diversity. The conference will presumptively accept submissions whose authors will diversify the group on those two fronts. It is a goal of the convener, in his capacity as a member of the Appointments Committee, to work towards increasing the diversity of the Comparative Constitutionalism faculty.

Structure of the Conference

The conference will be structured around plenary lectures and concurrent panels comprised of faculty and graduate students in law, history, political science, and other fields of interest.

Each of the plenary lectures will focus on different dimensions of the subject of constitution-making and constitutional change.  Plenary lectures will be delivered by members of the Law and Government faculties at the University of Texas at Austin, including Sanford Levinson and Gary Jacobsohn.

In addition to the keynote lectures, the two-day conference will feature concurrent panels composed of papers selected from this Call. The purpose of the panels is to convene groups of faculty and graduate students for a high-level discussion on enduring and emerging questions raised by the conference theme. Panels will be chaired by members of the Law and Government faculties at the University of Texas at Austin. These panels will offer participants a combination of rigorous scholarly exchange and group discussion on the ideas in the papers. Conference meals will offer an opportunity for more relaxed social interaction.

Submission Instructions

Interested scholars should email a title and abstract no longer than 500 words by September 1, 2019 to on the understanding that the abstract will form the basis of the pre-conference draft or outline to be submitted by November 15, 2019. Scholars should identify their submission with the following subject line: “Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change—Abstract Submission.” All materials should be submitted as a single PDF document, and should include at the top of the first page the author’s name, academic title, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and email address. There is no minimum or maximum length for drafts or outlines (to be submitted by November 15), nor are there plans to publish the papers to be presented at the conference.


Successful applicants will be notified no later than September 15, 2019.


There is no cost to participate in this conference. Group meals will be generously sponsored by The University of Texas Law School. Participants will also be eligible to apply for reimbursement of their travel costs up to $250.


Please direct inquiries in connection with this Conference to:

Richard Albert
William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
Phone/WhatsApp: +1 617-756-2622

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Published on July 7, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

ICON’s Current Issue (Table of Contents)

Volume 17 Issue 2

Table of Contents


I•CON Foreword

Ran Hirschl and Ayelet Shachar, Spatial statism

Thirty Years from the Fall of the Berlin Wall: The World after 1989

Cora Chan, Thirty years from Tiananmen: China, Hong Kong, and the ongoing experiment to preserve liberal values in an authoritarian state

Wen-Chen Chang, Back into the Political? Rethinking Judicial, Legal, and Transnational Constitutionalism

Sujit Choudhry, Secession and post-sovereign constitution-making after 1989: Catalonia, Kosovo, and Quebec

Erika de Wet, The role of democratic legitimacy in the recognition of governments in Africa since the end of the Cold War

José M. Díaz de Valdés and Sergio Verdugo, The ALBA constitutional project and political representation

Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, 1989–2019: From democratic to abusive constitutional borrowing

James Fowkes and Michaela Hailbronner, Decolonizing Eastern Europe: A global perspective on 1989 and the world it made

Tom Ginsburg, Thirty years after the fall: An academic perspective

Symposium: Public Law and the New Populism

Neil Walker, Populism and constitutional tension

Paul Blokker, Populism as a constitutional project

Ming-Sung Kuo, Against instantaneous democracy

Tamar Hostovsky Brandes, International law in domestic courts in an era of populism

Bojan Bugarič, Central Europe’s descent into autocracy: A constitutional analysis of authoritarian populism

John Morijn, Responding to “populist” politics at EU level: Regulation 1141/2014 and beyond

Robert Howse, Epilogue: In defense of disruptive democracy—A critique of anti-populism

The I•CONnect-Clough Center 2018 Global Review of Constitutional Law       

Iván Aróstica, Sergio Verdugo and Nicolás Enteiche, 2018 Global Review of Constitutional Law: Chile

Carlos Bernal, Diego González, María Fernanda Barraza, Nicolás Esguerra, Santiago García Jaramillo, and Vicente Benítez, 2018 Global Review of Constitutional Law: Colombia

Book Review Symposium

Review symposium on Bruce Ackerman, Revolutionary Constitutions—Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law

Michaela Hailbronner, Introduction:Defending “democratic populism”?  

Arun K. Thiruvengadam, Evaluating Bruce Ackerman’s “Pathways to Constitutionalism” and India as an exemplar of “revolutionary constitutionalism on a human scale”

Diletta Tega, The Constitution of the Italian Republic: Not revolution, but principled liberation

Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Understanding Polish pacted (r)evolution(s) of 1989 and the politics of resentment of 2015–2018 and beyond

Review Essay

Chien-Chih Lin, Dialogic judicial review and its problems in East Asia. Review of Albert H. Y. Chen, ed., Constitutionalism in Asia in the Early Twenty-First Century; Albert H. Y. Chen & Andrew Hardin, eds., Constitutional Courts in Asia: A Comparative Perspective

Book Reviews

Francis Fukuyama. Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (David Fowkes)

Jeffrey S. Kahn. Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire (Péter Szigeti)

Erin F. Delaney and Rosalind Dixon, eds. Comparative Judicial Review (Joshua Phang)

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Published on July 4, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Editorials

Can the President of the Slovak Constitutional Court Defend It?

Simon Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen

For the fourth time since February, the Slovak Parliament failed to select candidates to replace constitutional judges whose term of office has expired. Only seven judges remain to run the most powerful court in the country. What is more, as the Parliament enters summer recess, the next round of hearings will not begin until mid-September.

The new President of the Constitutional Court (PCC), Ivan Fiačan, has kept a low profile during the controversy. When the Parliament resumes its business, however, the PCC should be prepared to defend his Court. Two senates of the Court are now defunct because there are not enough judges to staff them. The Court has been overrun with unassigned cases and a terrible backlog.

The PCC has two potent statutory and one informal power that allow him to put pressure on the Parliament and contribute to the selection process: 1) the power to nominate candidates for constitutional judges; 2) to attend parliamentary sessions; and 3) the exclusive power to speak for the Court. In this contribution, I examine these three powers that have great defensive potential.

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Published on July 2, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

What’s New in Public Law

Davide Bacis, PhD Student in Constitutional Law, University of Pavia (Italy)

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Constitutional Court of Indonesia dismissed the appeal of the opposition leader against President Joko Widodo’s win in April elections.
  2. The Constitutional Court of Turkey held that the year-long detention of reporter Deniz Yücel was unlawful.
  3. The US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law.
  4. The US Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering is a political question out of the reach of federal courts.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Kosovo ruled that the mandate and the competences of the team tasked with negotiating with Serbia are unconstitutional.
  6. The US Supreme Court held 5-4 that a federal law imposing longer prison sentences for crimes committed using firearms is vague, hence unconstitutional.

In the News

  1. The six judges of the Moldova Constitutional Court resigned after accusations of political bias.
  2. The Irish Health Minister approved a new programme that will let people access medical cannabis on a limited basis.
  3. The Democratic party held the first two debates of the 2020 primaries for the presidential elections.
  4. The EU and Mercosur reached a political agreement for a new trade deal.
  5. Spain’s Acting Prime Minister will set a date for the confirmation vote.
  6. The UK Parliament passed legislation setting a goal for zero carbon emission by 2050.
  7. The leader of the Danish Social Democrats has been chosen to lead the Danish Government.

New Scholarship

  1. M. De Visser and B. Ngoc Son, Glocalised constitution-making in the twenty-first century: Evidence from Asia, 8 Global Constitutionalism (2019) (developing an analytical framework to study the interplay between global pressures and domestic interests in constitution-making and illustrating its application with the help of a selected recent Asian case studies).
  2. J. Sapiano, Peace Settlements and Human Rights, iCourts Working Paper Series No. 161 (2019) (showing, through the help of three case studies, how the tension between peace and human rights in transitional contexts can be conducted to a resolution by the work of courts).
  3. S. Baer, The Rule of – and not by any – Law. On Constitutionalism, 71 Current Legal Problems (2019) (offering an analysis on the recent attacks on the rule of law by a plurality of actors and arguing for a defense of the basis of constitutionalism).
  4. B. Fassbender, The state’s unabandoned claim to be the center of the legal universe, 16 International Journal of Constitutional Law (2019) (analyzing how, even if states are not the only actors within the international legal order, the central position of the state is still manifesting itself in a variety of relationships).
  5. D. Fox, Births Rights and Wrongs. How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law (2019) (identifying core reproductive interests in pregnancy and parenthood, and lifting the curtain on reproductive negligence).
  6. L. Rothstein, Would the ADA Pass Today?: Disability Rights in an Age of Partisan Polarization, 12 St. Louis U. J. Health L. & Pol’y (2019) (recounting the story behind the passage of the ADA and providing  a comprehensive analysis on its diminished impact due to administrative agency actions).
  7. S. Hargreaves, Grinding down the Edges of the Free Expression Right in Hong Kong, 44 Brooklyn Journal of International Law (2019) (arguing that the policies adopted by the Government of Hong Kong against unwelcome political speech are unconstitutional and counterproductive).
  8. R. Eksteen, The Role of the Highest Courts of the United States of America and South Africa, and the European Court of Justice in Foreign Affairs (2019) (providing an intensive and well documented examination of the judiciary’s role in foreign affairs).
  9. S. Meijer, H. Annison and A. O’Loughlin (eds.), Fundamental Rights and Legal Consequences of Criminal Conviction (2019) (providing a comprehensive analysis of the restrictions suffered by convicted offenders and discussing whether their fundamental rights are sufficiently protected).
  10.  J.J. Bosland, Restraining “Extraneous” Prejudicial Publicity: Victoria and New South Wales Compared, 41 University of New South Wales Law Journal (2019) (exploring the powers available to Victoria and New South Wales courts to restrain the publication of “extraneous” prejudicial material).

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa (Italy) invites scholars to apply for a Visiting Professorship starting between December 2019 and December 2020. Applications should be submitted by September 27, 2019.
  2. The IACL (International Association of Constitutional Law) is glad to announce the constitution of a new research group on “Gender and Constitutions”.
  3. The UC Berkeley, the University of Bologna (Italy) and the University of Parma (Italy) are inviting scholars to attend the “Italian-American Dialogues on Constitutionalism in the 21st Century” on “Global Law vs National Law?” that will be held on October 10, 2019 in Bologna and on October 11, 2019 in Parma.
  4. The Italian Chapter of the International Society of Public Law (ICON•S) welcomes submissions for its conference on “New Technologies and the Future of Public Law” that will be held in Florence on November 22-23, 2019. Panels and papers proposals must be submitted by July 10, 2019.
  5. TConsult and Taylor’s Law School welcome submissions for the “International Conference on the Future of Law and Legal Practice” that will be held in Selangor (Malaysia) on October 15-16, 2019. Abstracts of no more than 500 words must be submitted by July 31, 2019.
  6. The University of Nairobi, School of Law welcomes submissions for the “African Network of Constitutional Lawyers Biennial Conference” on “The Paradox of Constitutionalism in Africa: Reflecting on 10 Years of the Kenyan Constitution” that will be held on August, 26-27-28, 2020. Abstracts of no more than 500 words must be submitted by July 31, 2019.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Democratic Decay & Renewal (DEM-DEC), Global Research Update on democratic decay and renewal of June 2019, DEM-DEC
  2. David R. Cameron, European Council still at odds over next Commission president and other EU leaders, Yale Macmillan Center
  3. S. Lénárd, Technology is constantly changing the degree of privacy that people may expect, and the courts in response change constitutional rules – conversation with Orin Kerr, Professor of Law, precedens.mandiner
  4. M. Kuo, Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill and Taiwan’s Sovereignty Dilemma, The Diplomat
  5. C. Chan, Demise of “One Country, Two Systems”?, Verfassungsblog
  6. M. Gordon, Privacy International, Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Synthetic Constitution, UK Constitutional Law Association
  7. S. Aydin-Düzgit, T.G. Daly, K. Godfrey, S.I. Lindberg, A. Lührmann, T. Petrova and R. Youngs, Post-Cold War Democratic Declines: The third Wave of Autocratization, Carnegie Europe
  8. M. Rodriguez Ferrere, A. Geddis, The New Zealand Court of Appeal on Extradition to the PRC, UK Constitutional Law Association
  9. C. Murdoch, W. Jordash, Clarifying the Contours of the Crime of Starvation, EJIL: Talk!
  10. R. Thwaites, “Disallegient conduct” and citizenship stripping: Recent Australian developments, Blog of the IACL, AIDC
  11. R. Ziegler, Absent-Present Membership? EU Citizens in Brexit Britain, Blog of the IACL, AIDC

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Published on July 1, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Symposium – The Brazilian Supreme Court and the Protection of Democracy in the Age of Populism: The Supreme Court and the Bolsonaro Government: A Fragmented Court in a Conflictive Political Scenario

[Editor’s Note: I-CONnect is pleased to feature a four-part symposium on the role of the Brazilian Supreme Court and the protection of democracy in the age of populism. This is the final entry of the symposium, which was kindly organized by Professors Conrado Hübner Mendes and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo. Their introduction is available here.]

Diego Werneck Arguelhes, Insper Institute for Education and Research.

Brazilian politics has taken a turn to the far right. The 2018 elections brought to office President Jair Bolsonaro, who, in less than one year, had gone from being a fringe congressman to almost winning the elections in the first round. Bolsonado adopted an anti-establishment and social conservative discourse that marked a shift in the center of gravity in Brazilian politics.  Although the Worker’s Party (PT) is still the largest party in Congress, the current legislature is arguably the most right leaning the country had since 1988, when a new constitution was enacted as part of the transition to democracy.

Taking initial steps towards his campaign promises, Bolsonaro has introduced measures to make it easier to own and carry a gun and to dismantle the existing structure of civil society councils within the executive branch. Both measures were adopted by executive decrees, and not by the usual legislative process, and, unsurprisingly, both were immediately challenged before the Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, “STF”). The decree extinguishing civil society councils was ruled partially unconstitutional by the STF on formal grounds, and, while Bolsonaro has somewhat backtracked regarding the gun possession decree, it is still possible that the court will rule on the matter in the near future.

In the last few months, the STF has been making important advances in protecting some minorities and vulnerable groups. It has issued important rulings on transgender persons’ rights, and a majority of Justices ruled that the Constitution requires the criminalization of homophobia – a bold display of activism that has been criticized as “completely wrong”  by Bolsonaro himself.

In terms of design, the STF is both powerful and independent, and Brazilian politics has become so judicialized that any controversial political issues are bound to trigger constitutional review. Do these episodes suggest that the STF – currently composed of judges entirely appointed by governments to the left of Bolsonaro – will use these powers to act as a check on the government in the near future?

In this post, I will briefly discuss three points that, taken together, caution against assuming that the STF will necessarily be able (or willing) to counter all potentially controversial measures of the Bolsonaro government.

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Published on June 29, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

Symposium – The Brazilian Supreme Court and the Protection of Democracy in the Age of Populism: The Empirical Turn in the Brazilian Supreme Court: Getting it Right

[Editor’s Note: I-CONnect is pleased to feature a four-part symposium on the role of the Brazilian Supreme Court and the protection of democracy in the age of populism. This is the third entry of the symposium, which was kindly organized by Professors Conrado Hübner Mendes and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo. Their introduction is available here.]

Debora Diniz, University of Brasilia

I would describe Brazil as an ongoing experiment in the effects of the post-truth wave on public institutions and spaces. If post-truth is a global phenomenon, with president Mr. Donald Trump as one of its leading voices, Latin America is a particularly fertile region for observing the effects of the phenomenon on politics due to the weakness of the region’s democratic institutions. The election of Mr. Jair Bolsonaro as the president of Brazil is one of the most recent milestones of the post-truth wave, which is characterized by the persecution of academics and science, the distrust of journalists, and the dissemination of fake news via social media channels. 

Mr. Bolsonaro has not changed the composition of the Brazilian Supreme Court, yet. During his tenure, it is expected that he will have the opportunity to nominate at least two new Justices to the Court, which could significantly shift the power balance on sensitive issues, particularly those involving the rights of minority groups. Recently, Mr. Bolsonaro announced his wish to have an “evangelical Justice” as a potential candidate, even though the current Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, the former judge who sentenced former president Mr. Lula to jail, had been considered the top candidate. Bolsonaro’s comments provoked a strong reaction among the legal community about the meaning of a secular state.

Given the recent radical change in the political scenario, the Brazilian Supreme Court now has a particularly crucial role in protecting fundamental rights for women, LGBTQI, and racial minorities. However, to honor its mandate of protecting the Constitution, the Court has to strengthen its capacity to resist the post-truth mindset that dominates politics in Brazil. I would argue that there is a particular entry point that can facilitate such a role for the Court: the “empirical turn” of legal studies. The “empirical turn” has started at the legal schools with a demand for more rigor in the use of science in legal argumentation and is slowly migrating to the everyday legal work in Brazil. As a professor of methodology to Law students, I have been following a path in changing the legal mindset in country.

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Published on June 28, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis