Sadurski. Poland’s Constitutional
Breakdown. Oxford University Press, 2019. Pp. 304. ISBN 978-0198840503
The book’s title refers to the expression “constitutional breakdown”, which seems to reflect the author’s profound thoughts regarding the process of unconstitutional actions that one can observe in Poland following the accession to power of the Law and Justice Party (PiS). The mastery of this study lies in the excellent combination of the descriptive layer with general theoretical considerations. The author, describing the course of events, seeks to conceptualize the Polish case by referring to both older and more recent views of scholarship regarding the erosion of democracy and violations of the rule of law. In this sense, despite the personal tone, often verging on emotional, Sadurski’s work is a contribution of major significance to contemporary scholarship on constitutional law.
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.
Supreme Court of India holds hearings on the validity of civil liberties restrictions in Jammu and
Supreme Court of India referred unresolved questions in a case on the entry of women into places of
worship to a larger bench.
case that could reach the Supreme Court of Canada, a union federation
representing 45,000 teachers in Quebec sues the province over a ban on the wearing of religious symbols by many
Supreme Court of India held that the office of the Chief Justice of India would be covered under
the ambit of the Right to Information Act, which was transparency legislation
enacted to provide citizens information from the government.
Supreme Court of Russia ordered the closure of a prominent human rights group for “breaking
High Court of Justice of England and Wales held that a private television broadcaster could exclude Liberal
Democratic and SNP candidates from a TV debate.
in Maldives voted to remove Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi and Justice Adam
Mohamed Abdulla from their office after a recommendation from the Judicial
Service Commission for alleged
misconduct related to 17 instances where the apex court violated the
constitution or usurped powers of parliament and other state institutions.
Constitutional Review Commission of the Gambia released a draft constitution which contains detailed provisions on, inter
alia, term limits of the president and independent accountability bodies.
will hold a referendum to replace the
country’s dictatorship-era Constitution next year after nearly a month of civil
unrest. The constitutional change has been a key demand of protesters .
in the Cayman Islands accepted the United Kingdom’s proposed constitutional changes which include: a
mandatory requirement for consultation on any proposed legislation or Orders in
Council that will directly impact the Cayman Islands, the removal of key
reserve powers from the governor to write legislation, disallow legislation and
write standing orders.
of State for Media Affairs of Jordan stated that the recent activity of the government concerning the merger and
cancellation of various independent commissions requires a legal basis.
Assembly of Nigeria expressed an interest in amending its Constitution to
provide for a smooth transition of legislative powers.
Government criticized the decision of the Hong Kong High Court on
the government’s mask ban against protesters, which the Court found unconstitutional.
Judgment is available here.
Thai cabinet nominated six experts from outside the government
to sit the committee with the competence to vet constitutional amendments.
Interim President of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, expressed her intention to hold an election
soon and denied accusations of a coup by former leader Evo Morales. The Interim
President has up to 90 days to call for an election pursuant to Article 169(I.)
of the Bolivian Constitution .
Kochenov, Citizenship (2019) (providing key elements of the
concept of citizenship: status, rights, duties, and politics, as enacted in its
granting and enjoyment).
Timothy Zick, The First
Amendment in the Trump Era (2019) (examining the growing number of First
Amendment controversies in the Trump Era by tracing them to the concept of
dissent while examining their connection with episodes throughout American
Gary Lawson and Guy I. Seidman, Deference: The
Legal Concept and the Legal Practice (2019) (presenting the first systematic
study of deference in the law in a number of doctrinal manifestations, as a
broad concept and practice which draws on material from actual court practice
rather than ideal theory).
Gentrification of Human Rights 41(2) Human Rights Quarterly 283 (2019) (outlining
the concept of the gentrification of human rights, while also seeking to
demonstrate how gentrification restricts the ability of human rights to engage
robustly with rising deprivation, inequality, and marginalization within
affluent, “liberal-democratic” societies”).
Prof Anuscheh Farahat (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg) & Dr Ingrid Leijten (Leiden University), members of the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nuremberg (CHREN) announced a conference on “Human Rights Overreach.” Interested applicant should send an abstract by December 20, 2019, to email@example.com. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and set out the topic and main argument of the paper, as well as its relation to conference them
Queen’s University Belfast is recruiting a Research Fellow in the Colonialism and Transition Project.
The Cork Online Law Review invites submissions for its 19th Edition, to be published on the website and in hard copy in early March 2020. The initial deadline is December 1, 2019, and the final deadline is January 13, 2020. All interested parties should submit their articles and enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ILS Law College, Pune submission of abstracts for its conference honoring former Prof. S.P. Sathe on Contemporary Trends in Comparative Public Law. Abstracts due by December 16, 2019.
The Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong will hold its first law and humanities summer school on June 8-13, 2020. Applications are due by January 6, 2020.
The University of East Anglia invites applications for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentship (Masters and PhD) awards to work with various departments at the intersection of other social sciences.
The International IDEA published a report on “The Global State of Democracy 2019 Report: Addressing the Ills, Reviving the Promise” which is packaged as a “global health check of democracy ”that aims to influence the global democracy debate, by nuancing the current doom and gloom narrative and proposing solutions to current challenges”.
CUNY Law Review invites scholars, legal practitioners, advocates, and organizers to submit articles for consideration for publication in an upcoming volume of CUNY Law Review, dedicated to an upcoming symposium on democracy, especially on issues relating to 2020 Census, voter disenfranchisement, election security/hacking, lack of oversight over ballot counting technology.
The student chapter of the American Constitution Society and Law Review at Barry University School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law are hosting the Fifth Annual Constitutional Law Scholars Forum at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law Campus in Orlando, FL. More information is available here. The deadline to submit proposals is December 1, 2019.
The Harvard Law Review published a series of infographics on the Supreme Court of the United States.
The International Association of Centre for Federal Studies (IACFS) announced the Ronald L. Watts Young Researcher Award 2020 for the best unpublished article or paper on an aspect of federalism. Nominations and papers must be submitted to email@example.com by April 30, 2020.
In the wee hours of Friday, November 15th, Chile reached a historic milestone: Congressional representatives from nearly all political parties, across the political spectrum, signed an agreement to open the path to a new constitution. After four dramatic weeks of mass protests, and following two long days of intense negotiations, the national political leaders thus responded to one of the principal demands of the mobilized citizenry. In an uprising driven by pent-up rage over inequality, exclusion, and perceived systemic injustice, citizens have insisted on the replacement of Chile’s current constitution. That charter, inherited from the military dictatorship, was designed to entrench a neoliberal socio-economic model, and during the thirty years since the transition back to democracy, it has effectively served to prevent reforms that would strengthen the public sector and more equitably distribute wealth and power. Citizens thus view the revamping of that illegitimate document as a necessary part of the transition to a more just and democratic social order.
The congressional Agreement for Social Peace and a New Constitution answered the public’s call for a binding, national plebiscite to decide whether and how to write a new constitution. The plebiscite, to be held in April of 2020, will ask voters (1) if they want a new constitution (yes or no) and (2) which of two forms a constituent body should take: a mixed convention, half of whose members would come from the sitting Congress and half who would be elected uniquely for the convention, or a fully separate constituent convention, whose members could not be sitting members of Congress and whose mandate would be limited to writing the new constitution. The Agreement also laid out a calendar and some basic ground rules for the constituent process, including a two-thirds threshold for passage of all articles in the new constitution. Upon announcing the agreement, the congressional leaders made clear that the new constitution would be elaborated on a “blank page,” such that nothing in the existing constitution could bind the drafting body and only items achieving two-thirds support would become part of the new supreme law of the land. What was unthinkable just a few weeks ago, then, has thus become a reality. The Agreement formally marks the beginning of the end of the control that the authoritarian forces sought to extend over Chile’s political and economic development, and starts the country down the path to its first ever democratically-crafted constitution. Yet the most challenging part is yet to come. What lies ahead is a long, demanding, and, no doubt, trying process, and there are no guarantees that it will not go off the rails. What are the factors that favor or threaten a successful constitutional transition in Chile?
Special Series: Perspectives from Undergraduate Law Students LL.B. Student Contribution
–Manisha Bhau, B.A., LL.B Student (Hons.), National Law University, Delhi
Despite reports that the numbers have nearly halved, India is still home to about 364 million people leading lives without access to basic healthcare, nutrition and sanitation. There are a multitude of reasons behind India’s rampant poverty, and recently the Government of India amended the Constitution to allow states to enact reservation laws for the economically weak sections (‘EWS’).
The aim of this post is to enlarge the debate beyond the question of constitutionality of the 124th Amendment and to analyse the efficacy of the Amendment as a policy for economic upliftment and the wisdom of conflating the reservation with poverty removal programmes. The question is whether reservation is the right policy to support the poor, especially because of the role that caste plays in India in its overlap with poverty and the inability to come out of it.
–Oran Doyle, Trinity College Dublin; University of Pennsylvania
Laws do not exist as abstract disembodied
propositions, akin to the axioms of geometry, but rather hold true in
particular places at particular times. In a simple view of the post-colonial world,
laws form the legal system of a state and have the same geographic extent as
that state. But this picture is complicated by the laws of supranational or
international organisations as well as by intra-state territorial
Federalism, understood broadly, provides a conceptual
framework that explains both how laws can a have different geographic dimension
from the state and how different legal systems can apply in the same geographic
area. Federal structures allow discrete political communities to be combined
and/or recognised within a larger political entity. To prevent the larger
political entity collapsing into a welter of competing and contradictory laws, however,
some central authority must ensure the unity of the system as a whole. But the
assertion of that authority may make the federal arrangements unacceptable to one
or more of the discrete political communities.
The United Kingdom and the Federal Idea engages these issues with breadth, depth and rigour, in the exciting crucible of law and politics that is the UK Constitution. Ten thematic chapters, previously presented at a workshop in late 2015, are bookended by a thought-provoking Introduction and Conclusion, penned by Robert Schütze and David Armitage respectively. Although the UK is often characterised as devolutionary rather than federal, the contributors mostly adopt a less exacting account of federalism as, in Armitage’s words, ‘a family of ideas and practices’ (278) rather than specific institutional prescriptions.
—Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin
My colleague and co-editor here at I-CONnect, David Landau, has just published a new and important volume on “Comparative Constitution-Making” (Edward Elgar 2019).
David and Hanna Lerner have brought together over 20 scholars to produce a comprehensive study of constitution-making. Here is a short description of the volume:
Recent years have witnessed an explosion of new research on constitution making. Comparative Constitution Making provides an up-to-date overview of this rapidly expanding field.
Bringing together leading scholars from political science and comparative public law, this handbook presents a broad historical and geographical perspective, exploring debates on constitutionalism across the world. Contributions provide original, innovative research on central issues related to the process and context of constitution making and identify distinctive elements or models of regional constitutionalism.
Insightful and comprehensive, this handbook offers impeccable guidance for students and scholars of constitutional and comparative public law, as well as political science, sociology and history, who are interested in the study of constitution making, democratization and post-conflict reconstruction. Lawyers, civil servants and NGOs in the field of constitutional advising and post-conflict institution building will also benefit from this handbook’s unique insight.
—Chiara Graziani, Ph.D. Candidate and Research Fellow in
Constitutional Law, University of Genoa (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.
The European Court
of Human Rights held
that Finnish decision to deport an Iraqi man who was killed when he arrived
back in his country of origin violated arts. 2 and 3 of the European Convention
of Human Rights.
Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice ordered
Ireland to pay pecuniary penalties for not carrying out environmental
assessment in respect of a wind farm.
UK Supreme Court ruled
that, before completion of a criminal proceeding, no one shall reveal or
publish the names of the appellants or any information potentially leading to
US Supreme Court will
rule on the White House’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals Act, as part of an immigration crackdown.
US Supreme Court heard
a racial discrimination case against Comcast.
The Supreme Court of India delayed a ruling on ban on
women entering Hindu temple.
The Supreme Court
of Singapore heard a case challenging the constitutionality
of a colonial-era law punishing male homosexual acts.
In the News
The US House of
Representatives began public hearings into allegations against
President Donald Trump.
Royal Mail won a court action to block planned postal
strikes in the run-up to Christmas.
In Spain, the Socialist Party won the most of votes at General Election,
but fell short of a majority.
A Belgian court recognized the right to
publish pictures of police officers performing their duties in public spaces.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected President Trump’s
attempt to keep his financial record private.
A resolution of the European Parliament condemned the
criminalization of sex education by a Polish draft law.
The leader of the
Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, confirmed that his party
will stand in all Labour-held seats at next month’s General Elections.
Christian Bumke, Andreas Voßkuhle (eds.) (translated by Andrew Hammel), German Constitutional Law (2019) (offering a comprehensive analysis of the case law of the German Federal Constitutional Court, with specific focus on fundamental rights, state structure, European integration)
Benjamin J. Goold, Liora Lazarus (eds.), Security and Human Rights (2019) (collecting essays from leading academics and practitioners in several fields of law, shedding light on the challenging relationship between security and rights)
Christopher Kuner, Lee A. Bygrave, Christopher Docksey, Laura Drechsler (eds.), The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): A Commentary (2019) (providing an article-by-article commentary of Regulation (UE) 2016/679 and including, among authors, a variety of specialists who represent different categories of stakeholders)
David Landau, Hanna Lerner (eds.), Comparative Constitution Making (2019) (analysing constitution making around the world and exploring debates on constitutionalism)
The online platform Democratic Decay & Renewal (DEM-DEC) released its latest Global Research Update (October 2019 – available here), containing new research worldwide from October 2019; items suggested by DEM-DEC users; a list of forthcoming research; and new additions to the Resources Database. The Update Editorial was published on Verfassungsblog on Wednesday, November 13, and will be published shortly on the IACL-AIDC Blog.
The London School of Economics and Political Sciences is seeking to appoint an Assistant Professor in Technology Law and Regulation. Applications close on November 18, 2019.
The Law and Society Association calls for submission of abstracts for its 2020 Conference, to be held in Denver, Colorado (USA) on May 28-31, 2020. Abstracts can be submitted until November 20, 2019.
The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law welcomes the submission of abstracts for the Workshop “Contested norms of international peace and security law”, to be held in Heidelberg, Germany, on May 7-8, 2020. Abstract should be submitted no later than November 24, 2019.
The Associazione Italiana di Diritto Comparato and the American Society of Comparative Law – Younger Comparativist Committee invite submissions for the “Trans-Atlantic Young Scholars Conference” on “New Topics and Methods in Comparative Law Research”, to be held in Perugia, Italy, on June 5-6, 2020. Abstracts are due no later than December 10, 2019.
The University of Aberdeen is seeking to appoint a Chair in Comparative Law. Applications close on December 13, 2019.
The University College London (UCL) invites applications for a Distinguished Visiting Professorship for the academic year 2020-2021. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2019.
On November 22-23, 2019 the University of Florence will host the second conference of ICON-S Italian Chapter. The conference will focus on “New technologies and the future of public law” and will feature two plenary sessions and 112 panels. It will investigate the legal-theoretical, practical, and institutional challenges posed by technological developments, and in particular the implications of digital technologies, neurosciences, and genomics for contemporary legal systems, through an interdisciplinary and intergenerational discussion.
The complete program of the conference is available here. Participants are kindly requested to register through the registration section of the conference here.
Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen
The Speaker of the Slovak Parliament announced
the date of the general election for February 29, 2020. This upcoming election
will be a high-stakes game because of the popular extreme-right parties on the
rise, rampant disinformation on social media and uncertainty
about the election-silence period. It is difficult to predict.
One candidate, however, is sure to lose
something whatever the outcome. Štefan Harabin, a
controversial Supreme Court judge, will run as the leader of his newly procured
party that goes by the name “Homeland.”
The election will cost Harabin his office, because of the new
legislation, which is meant to prevent judges from swinging back and forth
between politics and law. The new rules say that judges have to give up their
office to run for parliamentary elections. This contribution reviews the rules
on the political activity of judges in Slovakia from 1993 onwards to
contextualise the change.
—Simon Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of
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
The Constitutional Court of Germany held that sanctions imposed on recipients of unemployment benefits to enforce their cooperation obligations are in part unconstitutional.
The Hungarian Constitutional Court will hold its sessions in one of Parliament’s office spaces for the next six months due to the renovation of the Court’s Donáti Street building.
A judge with Turkish origin was selected as the President of the Constitutional Court in Macedonia on Wednesday, becoming the first Turk to serve as the chairman of the top judicial body. Presidents of the Constitutional Court of Macedonia are selected by their peers pursuant to Article 109 of the Constitutional.
Korean police questioned the Mongolian Constitutional Court President over allegations that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a Korean Air flight.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has proposed two controversial former MPs among its nominees for the country’s Constitutional Court, against criticism from opposition politicians, who argue that the government is undermining judicial independence.
The Court of the Justice of the European Union ruled that Poland violated EU law by distinguishing between the retirement age of male and female judges and prosecutors and when it gave the Minister of Justice more authority than allowed by law.
The Constitutional Court of Malawi has suspended its requirement that lawyers and judges wear traditional white wigs and black robes in the courtroom as an early-season heatwave sweeps Malawi.
The Standing Committee of Legal Affairs in Albania approved three candidates for the first vacancy at the Constitutional Court to be filled by Parliament. All three candidates have a final confirmation from the vetting institutions.
The Supreme Court of Israel upheld a government decision to order a senior Human Rights Watch employee to leave.
In the News
The US government notified the UN of its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The US submitted a formal withdrawal notification to the UN, and the withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a decision by a lower court that an accounting firm employed by President Donald Trump must comply with a subpoena to release the president’s tax returns.
The President of Nepal removed governors of all seven national provinces.
The Court of Justice of the European Union received a preliminary question from Malta on the judicial appointment procedure.
The President of Slovakia vetoed a change in the electoral law that would extend the silence period, prohibiting the publication of opinion polls, from 14 to 50 days. The general election will be held on February 29, 2020. The Parliament may break the veto by an absolute majority of all MPs.
Astrid Kjeldgaard-Pedersen, The International Court
of Justice and the Individual, in Achilles Skordas (ed), Research Handbook on the International Court
of Justice (forthcoming 2019) (studying the relationship between the ICJ and “the
individual” in a broad sense, including both human beings and private companies)
Roberto Niembro, La Justicia
Constitucional de la Democracia Deliberativa (The Constitutional Justice of Deliberative
Democracy) (2019) (proposing a theory of constitutional judges and the design
of judicial review harmonized with the tenets of deliberative democracy, and
defending a dialogic model of constitutional justice as an alternative route to
judicial supremacy and parliamentary supremacy based on the discursive paradigm)
Call for Papers and
The Indian law Society invites submissions for an international conference “For Remembering S.P. SATHE: 14th International Conference on Contemporary Trends in Comparative Public Law,” to be held on March 6-8, 2020. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is January 31, 2020.
The National University of Singapore invites submissions for a workshop on “Artificial Justice,” to be held on March 18-19, 2020. The deadline for submission of abstracts is December 1, 2019. The organizer can provide round-trip economy flights and accommodation to all selected presenters.
The Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Melbourne invites submissions for a workshop on “Federalism and Socio-economic Inequalities,” to be held on May 13, 2020. The deadline for submission of abstracts is December 15, 2019.
The Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford, in association with All Souls College, is looking to appoint an outstanding legal scholar to the Vinerian Professorship of English Law. The deadline for applications is December 2, 2019.
The University of Copenhagen invites applications for several positions, including: a PhD position in Law; a postdoc in responsible research and innovation in drug discovery and development at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL); Assistant Professorship in Law at the Department of Food and Resource Economics; and a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in Law.
We welcome substantive submissions via email on any subject of comparative public law. Submissions usually, though not always, range from 750 to 1000 words. All submissions will be reviewed in a timely fashion.
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.