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I·CONnect

Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

RTI Amendments Put India’s Participatory Democracy in Peril

Ashish Goel is currently practicing law in Indian courts. He graduated in law from National University of Juridical Sciences and holds an LL.M from King’s College London.


On August 1, 2019, the President of India assented to two key amendments to the country’s Right to Information (RTI) Act that do not bode well for India’s participatory democracy.

Both amendments were passed by the Indian Parliament in late last month. The first amendment takes away the firmly rooted security of tenure of five years that Information Commissioners currently enjoy. And the second allows the government to dictate the terms and conditions of service of Information Commissioners.

Prima facie, both these amendments fly in the face of the very essence of the RTI law, which is to provide a mechanism for Central and State Information Commissions (at the central and state levels) to work independently and fearlessly, without being susceptible to political influence.

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Published on August 3, 2019
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Book Review: Alex Deagon on “Australian Constitutional Values” (Rosalind Dixon, ed.)

[Editor’s Note: In this installment of I•CONnect’s Book Review Series, Alex Deagon reviews Australian Constitutional Values (Rosalind Dixon, ed., Hart Publishing 2018).


Dr. Alex Deagon, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

Australian Constitutional Values is a bold, illuminating edited collection that articulates and investigates a ‘functionalist’ interpretation of the Australian Constitution.[1] According to the collection’s editor, Rosalind Dixon, such an interpretation ‘emphasise[s] the role of individual judges’ moral and political outlooks as an influence on constitutional interpretation’, and calls for more open engagement with questions of political morality, including practical and policy impact.[2] Yet this ‘values-oriented approach’ also pays due attention to ‘constitutional form’, requiring a ‘serious engagement with the text, history and structure of the Constitution’.[3] Nevertheless, such an approach raises important questions in relation to the substantive content of such constitutional values, the flexibility of values as determined within textual, originalist or progressive frameworks of interpretation, and interaction with other identified values – particularly if there is conflict between values.[4] In this context the authors in the collection consider the viability of recourse to ‘values’ as part of an interpretive framework, and explore the implications for Australian Constitutionalism. Since the book is an edited collection there are many disparate views and contributions. It is simply not possible to do justice to each in a short review like this. So the review will broadly critique the idea of ‘values’ raised in the contributions, with an accompanying apology that this will no doubt neglect some contributions in form, substance or both.

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Published on August 1, 2019
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Book Review: Catarina Santos Botelho on Sabino Cassese’s “A World Government?”

[Editor’s Note: In this installment of I•CONnect’s Book Review Series, Catarina Santos Botelho reviews Sabino Cassese’s book on A World Government? (Global Law Press/Editorial Derecho Global, Sevilla, 2018).


–Catarina Santos Botelho, Catholic University of Portugal

When opening Sabino Cassese’s book, one expects to find an open-minded and thought-provoking writing, with strong normative propositions and theoretical clarity. This fascinating new book does not disappoint. On the contrary, it challenges rooted preconceived ideas and legal formulas.

Throughout his book, Cassese emphasizes the fact that the world is no longer ruled by the Westphalian model of fully sovereign states. The decline of the nation-state and the international opening of national legal systems have encouraged the development of the “transnational law of liberties” (Mauro Cappelletti). The global space, however, lacks a global government or a formal hierarchy. Instead, power is shared between national and supranational rulers, and there are several global regulatory regimes that do not necessarily follow a common pattern (“ad-hoc-cracy”).[1]

The book is divided into four chapters: I – National Governments and Globalization; II – The Globalization of the Law; III – Global Regulation; IV – Judging and Globalization.

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Published on July 30, 2019
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What’s New in Public Law

Sandeep Suresh, Faculty Member, Jindal Global Law School, India

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 contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the current military justice system in the country that does not follow the jury trial system for accused military officials.
  2. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will have three new justices and new President of the Court.
  3. The Constitutional Court of Ecuador legalized same-sex marriages.
  4. The Supreme Court of Norway held that in civil cases, orders to produce digital documents should be solely for relevant evidence, and the cost of producing it must be proportional to the value of the dispute.
  5. The Court of Appeal of Vanuatu held that a national referendum must validate constitutional amendment regarding Parliamentary Secretaries as such changes affect the structure of the parliamentary system. 

In the News

  1. The Parliament of India amended the Right to Information Act, 2005 to authorize the Central Government to regulate the tenure and salaries of information commissioners; a move that potentially curtails their independence and consequently tarnishes the citizen’s fundamental right to information.
  2. The European Commission referred Hungary’s infamous “Stop Soros” law that criminalized any form of support to asylum seekers to the European Court of Justice on the ground that it violates the Union’s Fundamental Rights Charter.
  3. The Parliament of Tunisia failed for the seventh time last week to elect members of the country’s Constitutional Court.
  4. A District Judge in San Francisco provisionally stayed the latest policy of Donald Trump’s administration that barred migrants from requesting asylum at the US-Mexico border.
  5. The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved a lawsuit against President Milos Zeman over his repeated gross breaches of the Constitution. Before the suit can be filed in the Constitutional Court, three-fifths of members in the lower house of the Parliament must approve the same.

New Scholarship

  1. Brandon L. Garrett, Federal Criminal Risk Assessment, Cardozo Law Review (forthcoming 2019) (arguing for the introduction and consistent use of risk assessment instruments in the federal criminal justice system in the US).
  2. Chinmayi Arun, Making Choices: Social Media Platforms and Freedom of Expression Norms, in Lee Bollinger & Agnes Callamard (eds.), Regardless of Frontiers? Freedom of expression and information in the 21st century (forthcoming 2019) (discussing the role and influence of social media companies in creating norms affecting freedom of expression).
  3. Dylan Lino, Are Human Rights Enough (in Australia)?, 41 Sydney Law Review (2019) (reviewing Samuel Moyn’s recent book “Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World” and exploring its resonance with Australian political experience).
  4. Stephen Skinner, Lethal Force, the Right to Life and the ECHR: Narratives of Death and Democracy (2019) (examining connections between the right to life and the concept of democratic society in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on the use of lethal and potentially lethal force in domestic policing and law enforcement operations).
  5. Stephen Skinner (ed.), Ideology and Criminal Law: Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes (2019) (examining ideological dimensions of criminal law in anti-democratic regimes of the twentieth century, including Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Nazi-occupied Norway, Franco’s Spain, apartheid South Africa, and authoritarian Brazil, Japan and Romania).
  6. Vagda Galhotra, A Case for Legislative Impact Assessment, 54 Economic & Political Weekly (2019) (explaining the need for institutionalizing a uniform framework for the assessment of the impact of laws both before and after their enactment).

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. Nominations are welcome for the Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law, presented to an early-career scholar. Details are available here. The deadline is August 1, 2019.
  2. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites submissions for its conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change” to be held at the University of Texas Law School on January 17-18, 2020. More details are available here.
  3. The Younger Comparativists Committee (YCC) of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL) solicits nominations, including self-nominations, for the annual Richard M. Buxbaum Prize for Teaching in Comparative Law. Early stage scholars in a tenure-track position at an ASCL Member Institution are eligible to apply.
  4. The Younger Comparativist’s Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL YCC) invites paper submissions from emerging scholars for a panel at the ASCL’s annual meeting to be held at the University of Missouri Law School in Columbia, Missouri, on October 17-19, 2019. The deadline for submissions is August 10, 2019.
  5. The University of Ottawa, University of Melbourne, and University of Cambridge invite submissions for the 4th Biennial Public Law Conference on “Public Law: Rights, Duties and Powers.” The conference will be held from June 17-19, 2020, in Ottawa. Interested scholars must send abstracts of their papers by September 2, 2019, to droitpubliclaw@uottawa.ca.
  6. The Federal Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar host the 6th International Conference on “Legislation and Law Reform” from November 14-15, 2019, in Washington D.C. The conference focuses on how laws are written in the United States and around the world at the international, national, and subnational levels. Interested participants must register for the conference at the earliest.
  7. The African Network of Constitutional Lawyers invites submissions for its Biennial Conference on “The Paradox of Constitutionalism in Africa: Reflecting on 10 years of the Kenyan Constitution.” The event will be held from August 27-29, 2020, in Nairobi. Interested scholars must submit abstracts of their papers by July 31, 2019, to ancl.radc@gmail.com.
  8. The Association of American Law Schools’ Section on European Law invites submissions for the works-in-progress panel at the Annual Meeting of the Association on January 2-5, 2020, in Washington D.C. Papers must relate to European Law and Comparative Law. Interested scholars must submit abstracts of their papers by August 1, 2019.
  9. The Asian Journal of Comparative Law invites submissions for its 2019 and 2020 issues. The journal, published by Cambridge University Press, focuses on works that are theoretical, empirical, socio-legal, doctrinal or comparative works that relate to one or more Asian legal systems, as well as work that compares one or more Asian legal systems with non-Asian systems.

Elsewhere Online

  1. David R. Cameron, Zelensky’s party wins in a landslide in Ukraine parliamentary election, Yale MacMillan Center
  2. Matthias Hartwig, Strengthening the President – Betraying Maidan?: Ukraine’s Constitutional Court Decision on the Premature Dissolution of the Ukrainian Parliament, Verfassungsblog
  3. Gautam Bhatia, The judicial presumption of non-citizenship, The Hindu
  4. Solomon T. Ebobrah, State, Law and Sexual Orientation in Africa: A peep into the judgment of the Kenyan High Court, Opinio Juris
  5. Working People’s Charter, Craftily Written Labour Codes Exclude Millions, Pay Little Heed to Equality, The Wire
  6. Tom Spencer, The Sovereignty of Parliament, the Rule of Law, and the High Court of Parliament, UK Constitutional Law Blog
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Published on July 29, 2019
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Last Call for Nominations–Deadline August 1–Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law

Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

In my capacity as Chair of the AALS Section on Comparative Law, I have created a new award to recognize untenured scholars at AALS Member Schools for excellence in comparative law. I invite our readers to submit nominations for the award, which will be named the “Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law.” Self-nominations are welcome as well. The Call for Nominations follows below.


Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law

Call for Nominations

The AALS Section on Comparative Law is pleased to announce the inaugural “Mark Tushnet Prize” to recognize scholarly excellence in any subject of comparative law by an untenured scholar at an AALS Member School.

The Prize will be given to the author(s) of a scholarly article judged to have made an important contribution in the field of comparative law. This article must have been published in an academic journal between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

The Prize will be awarded for the first time at the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting, scheduled for January 2-5, 2020. It will be awarded every year thereafter. All untenured scholars—including but not limited to tenure-track professors, visiting assistant professors, lecturers, academic fellows, doctoral candidates—are eligible.

Nominations should be sent by email to Trish Do (tdo@law.utexas.edu) no later than 12:00pm Central time on August 1st, 2019. Nominations should include the full name, institutional affiliation, and contact information for the nominated scholar, in addition to a PDF version of the published article to be considered for the Prize. Self-nominations are welcomed.

For all questions, please contact Professor Richard Albert (richard.albert@law.utexas.edu), Chair of the AALS Section on Comparative Law.

Prize Committee

  • Richard Albert (Texas) (Chair)
  • Mark Kende (Drake)
  • Margaret Woo (Northeastern)

About Mark Tushnet

Mark Tushnet, a former president of the Association of American Law Schools, is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, Tushnet is an authoritative voice in constitutional law and theory. His scholarship spans all areas of public law, including comparative constitutional law, a field in which he has co-authored a leading casebook. A respected teacher, a devoted mentor, and an influential scholar, he will retire from the Harvard faculty in June 2020.

About the AALS

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association of 179 law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national, and international. Founded in 1900, AALS also serves as the learned society for the more than 9,000 law faculty at its member schools, and provides them with extensive professional development opportunities, including the AALS Annual Meeting which draws thousands of professors, deans and administrators.

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Published on July 28, 2019
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Call for Papers–Deadline September 1–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.

Diversity

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 tdo@law.utexas.edu 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.

Notification

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

Costs

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.

Questions

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
Email: richard.albert@law.utexas.edu
Phone/WhatsApp: +1 617-756-2622

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Published on July 27, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Five Questions with Joana Mendes

Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

In “Five Questions” here at I-CONnect, we invite a public law scholar to answer five questions about her research.

This edition of “Five Questions” features a short video interview with Joana Mendes, Professor of Comparative Administrative Law at the University of Luxembourg.

Asked to identify her favorite publication among her entire body of work thus far, Mendes chose “Bounded Discretion in EU Law: A Limited Judicial Paradigm in a Changing EU,” available here.

To nominate someone for a future edition of “Five Questions,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

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Published on July 26, 2019
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Citizenship Data Wars

–Bilyana Petkova, Assistant Professor, Maastricht University; Visiting Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

Hardline anti-immigration policies are the bread and butter of worrying nationalism trends in both Europe and the United States. Both United States President Donald Trump and Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, run their election campaigns on anti-immigration rhetoric. Both were ready to follow up with legally questionable, direct attacks on immigrants: Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico and Salvini’s closing of Italian waters to NGO rescue ships are cases in point. More recently, Trump has innovated in his effort to clamp down on immigration by waging an indirect, but equally illegal battle through the use of citizenship data. Will the judiciary withstand that fire?

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Published on July 24, 2019
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Conference Report: Proportionality in Public Policy–Balancing Rights and Public Interests

–Talya Steiner, PHD Candidate at Hebrew University; Manager of the “Proportionality in Public Policy” project at the Israel Democracy Institute

On May 19-20, 2019, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem hosted a conference on the topic of: “Proportionality in Public Policy: Balancing of Rights and Interests in Decision-Making”, which was the culmination of a six year research project conducted at IDI and funded by an ERC advance grant. The project focused on the theme of right limitations from the perspective of policy makers, and utilized a variety of empirical methodologies. The conference brought together constitutional researchers, experts on public policy and behavioral scientists studying decision making, to present and reflect upon the main research products of the project.

The full conference is available for viewing here.

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Published on July 23, 2019
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Second-to-Last Call for Nominations–Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law–Deadline August 1

Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

In my capacity as Chair of the AALS Section on Comparative Law, I have created a new award to recognize untenured scholars at AALS Member Schools for excellence in comparative law. I invite our readers to submit nominations for the award, which will be named the “Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law.” Self-nominations are welcome as well. The Call for Nominations follows below.


Mark Tushnet Prize in Comparative Law

Call for Nominations

The AALS Section on Comparative Law is pleased to announce the inaugural “Mark Tushnet Prize” to recognize scholarly excellence in any subject of comparative law by an untenured scholar at an AALS Member School.

The Prize will be given to the author(s) of a scholarly article judged to have made an important contribution in the field of comparative law. This article must have been published in an academic journal between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

The Prize will be awarded for the first time at the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting, scheduled for January 2-5, 2020. It will be awarded every year thereafter. All untenured scholars—including but not limited to tenure-track professors, visiting assistant professors, lecturers, academic fellows, doctoral candidates—are eligible.

Nominations should be sent by email to Trish Do (tdo@law.utexas.edu) no later than 12:00pm Central time on August 1st, 2019. Nominations should include the full name, institutional affiliation, and contact information for the nominated scholar, in addition to a PDF version of the published article to be considered for the Prize. Self-nominations are welcomed.

For all questions, please contact Professor Richard Albert (richard.albert@law.utexas.edu), Chair of the AALS Section on Comparative Law.

Prize Committee

  • Richard Albert (Texas) (Chair)
  • Mark Kende (Drake)
  • Margaret Woo (Northeastern)

About Mark Tushnet

Mark Tushnet, a former president of the Association of American Law Schools, is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, Tushnet is an authoritative voice in constitutional law and theory. His scholarship spans all areas of public law, including comparative constitutional law, a field in which he has co-authored a leading casebook. A respected teacher, a devoted mentor, and an influential scholar, he will retire from the Harvard faculty in June 2020.

About the AALS

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association of 179 law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national, and international. Founded in 1900, AALS also serves as the learned society for the more than 9,000 law faculty at its member schools, and provides them with extensive professional development opportunities, including the AALS Annual Meeting which draws thousands of professors, deans and administrators.



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Published on July 22, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments