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I·CONnect

Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

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 contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of India dismissed an application for directions to executive authorities for identifying migrant worker, who walk home to their residences, to ensure that they reach their destinations safely. The petition was filed in the wake of the death of 16 migrant laborers in North India.
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada declined an appeal regarding the inapplicability of provincial environmental requirements with respect to federally regulated activities carried out on Port of Québec lands. Analysts say this consolidates a new line of Supreme Court of Canada decisions limiting the application of provincial environmental permit requirements to federal undertakings such as ports, airfields and pipelines. Judgment here.
  3. The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria announced that it had formally opened a case after President Roumen Radev tabled a challenge to the Health Act amendments passed by Parliament earlier this week.
  4. The High Court of Kenya ruled that the Judicial Service Commission violated the law by purporting to admonish three justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2016 after a complaint on gross misconduct was levelled against them.
  5. The Bavarian Higher Administrative Court denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health Care. The regulation made, among other things, wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, and on public transportation mandatory for persons over the age of seven.
  6. The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in two challenges to the constitutionality of so-called “faithless elector” laws – state laws that penalize or remove a presidential elector who does not vote for the candidate he has pledged to support. Analysis of the hearings here.

In the News

  1. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin rejected the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, siding with Republican legislators in a high-profile challenge of the emergency authority of a statewide official during the coronavirus pandemic. Judgment here.
  2. Guinea Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo established a committee on revising the constitution following years of chronic political instability in the West African state.
  3. The President of The Gambia stated that the Ministry of Justice would publish a draft constitution in the Gazette before the end of May 2020, as required by the Constitutional Review Commission Act 2018.
  4. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court will hear petitions filed by opposition parties and civil society against the dissolution of Parliament by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa six months ahead of schedule.
  5. The Algerian government released the draft constitution for public comment. Available here.
  6. The President of Bangladesh issued an ordinance allowing virtual court functions for hearing and disposing of cases.

New Scholarship

  1. Merris Amos, Human Rights Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United Kingdom (2020) (examining the human rights implications of COVID-19 government measures in the UK).
  2. Olga Shvetsova, et. al., Constitutional and Institutional Structural Determinants of Policy Responsiveness To Protect Citizens From Existential Threats: Covid-19 And Beyond (2020) (arguing institutional and government systems with more authority redundancies are more likely to generate policy in response to crisis faster and find better policy solutions compared to centralized systems with minimal authority redundancies).
  3. K. D. Ewing, Covid-19: Government by Decree, King’s Law Journal (2020) (outlining the problems with the UK government’s executive decree-based response to the Covid-19 pandemic).
  4. Special Issue: Covid-19 and Labour Law. A Global Review, Italian Labour Law Journal (2020) (collating analysis of labour law responses to the Covid-19 pandemic from a number of jurisdictions).
  5. Andreas von Arnauld, Kerstin von der Decken, and Mart Susi (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of New Human Rights Recognition, Novelty, Rhetoric (2020) (bringing together a range of scholars from a variety of jurisdictions to consider the emergence of new kinds of human rights, such as rights to water, land, as well the effects of technologies on existing rights).
  6. Stephen Gardbaum, Comparative Political Process Theory, 18 International Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming 2020) (expanding and adapting Elysian political process theory for comparative constitutional law).
  7. Payal Shah and Dipika Jain, Reimagining Reproductive Rights Jurisprudence in India: Reflections on the Recent Decisions on Privacy and Gender Equality from the Supreme Court of India, 39(2) Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 1 (2020) (arguing for an equality-based approach to reproductive rights, based on an analysis on three recent constitutional cases, on the right to privacy, gender equality and rights to sexuality).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) invites applications for full-time academic appointments assistant, associate, and professors. Applications are invited in all areas of the law.
  2. The University of Hong Kong invites applications for the position of Tenure-Track Professor/Associate Professor/Assistant Professor in the Department of Law.
  3. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites all to register for an online course on “Judging in Times of Crisis: Conversations with High Court Judges around the World,” featuring Supreme and Constitutional Court judges from Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, and Taiwan.
  4. Melbourne Law School will hold a webinar on “Privacy post pandemic: restart or reset?” on May 19, 2020.
  5. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism welcomes all to an online course on “The State of Canada’s Constitutional Democracy,” featuring leading scholars in conversation with registrants on the major questions in Canadian constitutionalism today.
  6. The City University of London will hold a webinar on May 26 dealing with mapping the directions that European Union Law takes, marking the release of a special issue of the Journal of International and Comparative Law on the Future of EU law.
  7. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism welcomes all to register for an online seminar on June 12, 2020, to debate the question “Is the U.S. Constitution Broken?” featuring Mark Graber, Jamal Greene, Sanford Levinson, and Julie Suk.
  8. The IACL Research Group on Gender and Constitutions launched its Covid-19 observatory on the effects of the pandemic on gender equality. Scholars, practitioners and activists willing to contribute are invited to send small posts (1500-3000 words) in English, French or Spanish to vrscotti1@gmail.com.
  9. The MacKell Chair in Federalism at the McGill University, Canada, is collecting sources on the intersection between federalism-writ-large and COVID-19.
  10. The Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) and Verfassungsblog will bring together internationally recognized experts in a three-part online discussion series to reflect on the unprecedented constitutional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic for states worldwide, and their regional and international cooperation. Next webinar on May 19.
  11. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the course “The Future of Liberal Democracy: Global Dialogues with Leading Scholars”. The six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on July 22, 2020.
  12. Católica Law Review invites submissions, including articles and case notes, closely connected to the subject “Public Law in Times of Crisis” for inclusion in Volume V, issue 1. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2020.
  13. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the online course “The Theory and Design of Constitutional Change”. This six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on June 1, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Antonia Baraggia and Giuseppe Martinico, Who is the Master of the Treaties? The Compact Theory in Karlsruhe, Dritti Comparati
  2. Gaurav Mukherjee, Social Rights and Covid-19, IACL-IADC Blog
  3. Stephen Sedley, Waspish Civilities: The Case for a Supreme Court, London Review of Books
  4. Yuvraj Joshi, Harvard’s Affirmative Action Program Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect, Slate
  5. David R. Cameron, German Constitutional Court rejects European Court of Justice ruling on bond purchases as EU heads into “historic recession,” Yale MacMillan Centre
  6. Silvana Sciarra, European Social Policy in the Covid-19 Crisis, IACL-IADC Blog
  7. Marco Dani, Joana Mendes, Agustín José Menendez, Michael Wilkinson, Harm Schepel, Edoardo Chiti, At the End of the Law: A Moment of Truth for the Eurozone and the EU, Verfassungsblog
  8. Zaid Al-Ali, Algeria’s Draft Constitution 2020, IACL-IADC Blog
  9. Tom Gerald Daly, Democracy and the Global Emergency – Shared Experiences, Starkly Uneven Impacts, Verfassungsblog
  10. Dragoș Călin, The appointment of top prosecutors in Romania: minimizing the role of the judiciary, European Law Blog
  11. Arianna Vedaschi, Italy and COVID-19: A Call for an “Italian Emergency Constitution?,” Just Security
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Published on May 18, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

We Teach and Learn Online. Are We All Digital Citizens Now? Lessons on Digital Citizenship from the Lockdown

Sofia Ranchordas, University of Groningen

[Editor’s note: This is one of our biweekly I-CONnect columns. For more information about our four columnists for 2020, please click here.]

Over the past several decades, public administrations, universities, and schools have been debating whether and how to automate administrative procedures and invest in remote learning and working. In a matter of days, the impossible happened. In the months of February and March, schools and universities throughout the world were required to shift classes online, government buildings closed their doors, and citizens were asked to use online portals as much as possible to apply for any permits, requests, and report any situations in need of attention. At first sight, the spread of COVID-19 has appeared to put an end to several hesitations regarding the shift to online teaching, remote working, and the advancement of digital government. Strangely enough, this shift appears to be working, particularly for individuals who do not have homeschooling obligations and enjoy the peace and quiet of their homes. However, a closer look at this situation shows that the rapid digitalization of public services (including health and education) is leaving out a growing number of citizens. Remote learning and working are privileges that are designed for so-called ‘digital citizens’, that is, individuals who can fully engage with technology from an educational, political, and participatory perspective. Nevertheless, many individuals do not yet identify themselves as digital citizens and are not even acquainted with the meaning and implications of this concept. 

In my previous blogpost, I introduced the problem of digital exclusion, its impact on the exercise of fundamental rights, and the importance of adopting more inclusive and flexible approaches to digital government. In this blogpost, I delve into the varying dimensions of digital citizenship as this concept plays a crucial role in the analysis of digital inequalities and digital rights.

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Published on May 13, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

What’s New in Public Law


Teodora Miljojkovic, PhD student, Central European University, Budapest/Vienna


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 German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the European Court of Justice’s findings in the Weiss ruling on the legal validity of the ECB’s decisions on the Public Sector Purchase Program (PSPP) “manifestly exceed the judicial mandate conferred upon the CJEU in Art. 19(1).” The FCC concluded that the “CJEU thus acted ultra vires, which is why, in that respect, its Judgment has no binding force in Germany.”
  2. The Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court to temporarily stop the release of the Mueller’s Grand Jury findings to the House of Representatives.
  3. The US Supreme Court unanimously overturned the convictions in the infamous “BridgeGate Scandal” case, concluding that not all local officials’ corruptive acts are federal crimes.
  4. Malawi’s Supreme Court in a unanimous decision rejected President Mutharika’s appeal and upheld its previous ruling on the annulment presidential election result.
  5. United States 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruled that the US Military is allowed to construct a base in Okinawa, Japan, despite the environmental activist’s concerns.

In the News

  1. European Court of Justice responds in an unprecedented press release to the German Constitutional Court ruling, stating that it will not comment on national courts’ judgements, but also noting that the ECJ alone has the right to interpret EU law.
  2. Germany passes a law banning the “gay conversation therapy” for minors.
  3. The US Republican party members of the Senate contemplate the possibility for Trump to fill in another Supreme Court seat.
  4. Poland postpones presidential elections due to COVID-19 pandemic, without setting a new date for the poll.
  5. EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson raises concerns over the fact that COVID-19 crisis spiked the demand for child sex-abuse content up to 30% in some EU member states.
  6. Facebook names first members of the Oversight Board, which will be able to overturn decisions by the company and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on whether individual pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram are allowed and in accordance with the international freedom of expression standards.

New Scholarship

  1. Elena A. Baylis, Regionalized Hybrid Courts, in Kirsten Ainley and Mark Kersten (eds), Hybrid Justice (2020) (discussing the development of hybrid criminal tribunals with the focus examples from Kosovo, Senegal, and South Sudan)
  2. Adam S. Chilton, Kevin L. Cope, Charles Crabtree, and Mila Veersteg, Support for Restricting Liberty for Safety: Evidence During the COVID-19 Pandemic from the United States, Japan, and Israel (2020) (empirically examining the public support for COVID-19 related  restrictions on civil liberties in in three economically advanced democracies — the United States, Japan, and Israel)
  3. Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Constitutional End Games: Making Presidential Term Limits Stick, 71 Hastings Law Journal (2020) (arguing that weaker bans on re-election for consecutive terms, rather than permanent bans on any re-election, are the best response to the end game problem of president trying to extend their term of office)
  4. Mark Tushnet and Bojan Bugaric, Populism and Constitutionalism: An Essay on Definitions and Their Implications (2020) (revisiting the definitions of populism and constitutionalism in order the assess the tensions between the two theoretical concepts)
  5. Kenneth A. Stahl, Local Citizenship in a Global Age (forthcoming 2020) (examining the effect of globalisation on the relationship of local and federal citizenship)
  6. Adam Chilton and Mila Versteeg, How Constitutional Rights Matter (2020) (empirically examining global constitutional rights enforcement)
  7. Charles M. Fombad and Nico Steytler (eds), Corruption and Constitutionalism in Africa (2020) (examining the problem of corruption and measures meant to fight it in Africa)
  8. Chris Hanretty, A Court of Specialists Judicial Behavior on the UK Supreme Court (forthcoming 2020) (offering the first quantitative study of decision-making on the UK Supreme Court)
  9. Vlad Perju, Identity Federalism in Europe and the United States (2020) (examining the vague concept of state identity as a political safeguard of federalism, as well as its transformation from a constitutional discourse to an acknowledged constitutional doctrine)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the course “The Theory and Design of Constitutional Change”. This six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on June 1, 2020.
  2. McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Centre International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in partnership with several word-class universities and institutions invites participants to the 2020 Online International Symposium on “Human Rights, the SDGs & the Law,” which will be held on May 15, 2020.
  3. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the course “The Future of Liberal Democracy: Global Dialogues with Leading Scholars”. The six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on July 22, 2020.
  4. Belgrade Legal Theory Group invites participants to the second online session of the COVID-19 emergency measures related series on topic “State of Emergency in Slovenia: The How of Emergency Decision-making,” which will be held on May 14, 2020.
  5. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites all to join a free live online seminar on “How to Write a Book in Constitutional Law–and Get it Published: Advice from Scholars around the World,” on May 15, 2020.
  6. The deadline for applications for the IACL Round Table “Democracy 2020: Assessing Constitutional Decay, Breakdown and Renewal Worldwide” has been extended until June 1, 2020.
  7. COVID-DEM: How is COVID-19 Impacting Democracy? On 3 April the global research platform DEM-DEC launched the COVID-DEM Infohub, which aims to help democracy analysts worldwide track, compile, and share information on how State responses to COVID-19 are impacting on democracy. It contains curated information including databases, academic research, a ‘super blog’ providing access to analysis on over 30 blogs, policy analysis podcasts, and webinars. You can submit your own work and suggestions to feature on the Infohub, reaching an audience of thousands across over 100 countries.
  8. The American Journal of International Law (AJIL) issued a worldwide call for papers for an Agora symposium on “The International Legal Order and the Global Pandemic.” The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2020.
  9. ICON.S Portugal invites participants to an online session on “COVID-19 and Human Rights,” which will be held on May 11, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Unnati Ghia, Dhruva Gandhi, The Anti-Stereotyping Principle: A Conundrum in Comparative Constitutional Law, IACL-AIDC Blog
  2. Maximilian Steinbeis, We Super-Europeans, Verfassungsblog
  3. Martin Mycielski, Appeal to  the Independent Judges of the Supreme Court, Verfassungsblog
  4. Austin Sarat, Department of Justice Once Again Proves Its Loyalty to the President, Not the Rule of Law, VERDICT
  5. Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s EU envoy: The choice is always yours, euobserver
  6. Janet M. Calvo, Congress Reincarnates Discrimination Against American Citizens Because of Who They Marry, JURIST
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Published on May 11, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Hercules Leaves (But Does Not Abandon) the Forum of Principle: Courts, Judicial Review, and COVID-19

Vicente F. Benítez R., JSD candidate at NYU School of Law and Constitutional Law Professor at Universidad de La Sabana*

Introduction

Several analysts have warned about the sudden concentration of power in the hands of chief executives in the wake of the COVID-19 situation. From the Americas to Africa, and from Europe to Asia, we have witnessed a common pattern by which the executive branch has claimed extraordinary powers to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic.[1] This expansion of the executive’s prerogatives might be necessary in some places to cope with these exceptional circumstances. But it also comes with a price. Presidents and prime ministers not only can use but also abuse of the enhanced powers granted by the exception.[2] As a result, some of these commentators have asked courts to actively intervene and keep a vigilant eye on the measures enacted by more-powerful-than-usual executive officials. Since strong executive offices could take advantage of this juncture to erode constitutional democracy, the argument goes, courts should be up to challenge and adopt a less deferential stance than the one they normally embrace in ordinary times. As an esteemed colleague from Colombia argued, ‘the more power the President has, the more judicial oversight courts should employ’.[3]

Although I share the normative thrust behind this stance, in this entry I want to voice a realistic note of judicial caution and prudence. Courts are akin to vessels. Their objective is to safely arrive to their normative destination. Having a captain who knows the route, like Hercules, is very important to attain that end. But this is not sufficient. Courts navigate dangerous political waters in normal times. In emergencies, the navigational conditions are even more extreme—they may open the door more easily to would-be autocrats attacking the court, and an overly vigorous review of emergency measures could be the perfect pretext to dominate them. Thus, captains should also adopt a realistic attitude and be sensitive to this reality to avoid a wreck.[4] This is an invitation, then, to expand our toolkit to analyze courts operating under adverse political settings and to include other considerations in addition to purely normative reasons (which are very important ones).[5]

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Published on May 8, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

Are Quebec and Canada having a “Schmittian” (or Iheringian) moment?

Maxime St-Hilaire, University of Sherbrooke, Faculty of Law

On June 16, 2019, the Quebec legislature invoked Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to suspend, with regards to the Act respecting the laicity (secularism)of the State (ALS) that it was passing, all constitutional rights and freedoms which this section permits. The ALS prohibits certain categories of persons, such as public officials and managers, civil servants, administrative justices and statutory arbitrators, from wearing religious symbols in the exercise of their functions. It also states that certain public services must both be provided and received with one’s face uncovered. Insofar as the reception of these services is concerned, however, this obligation applies only where face uncovering is “necessary to allow […] identity to be verified or for security reasons”. The face-uncovering obligation that is incumbent upon the beneficiaries of public services “does not apply to persons whose face is covered for health reasons or because of a handicap or of requirements tied to their functions or to the performance of certain tasks”.

On March 13, 2020, the Quebec government declared a state of public health emergency under the province’s Public Health Act (PHA) –a statute that does far more than providing for such a declaration– but this declaration was not accompanied by a similar invocation of Section 33 of the Charter. The government has since renewed the state of emergency four times, without Quebec’s legislative assembly being able to consider suspending constitutional rights.

Suspending rights would have done nothing to reassure the public. But there is something paradoxical in the comparison I have just made, at least if it is conceded that the current global pandemic is more serious than the wearing of religious symbols. Quebec is prepared to derogate from constitutional rights in normal times but not when faced with an emergency. This paradox is an opportunity for defenders of the rule of law to take a step back, to try to take a global view of the situation and to think carefully before taking comfort in the present non-derogation from fundamental constitutional rights on the grounds of a public health emergency. Rather than being purely contingent, contextual or particular, the paradox of the current situation could be rooted in what has been a fundamental legal issue for centuries.

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Published on May 6, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

What’s New in Public Law


Matteo Mastracci, PhD Researcher, Koç University, Istanbul


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. Human Rights Committee adopted a statement on derogations from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic clarifying the fulfilment of the requirements and conditions laid down in Article 4 of the Covenant.
  2. US Supreme Court dismissed landmark gun rights case.
  3. German Federal Constitutional Court struck down a provision of the Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled for the cancellation of security checks of public employees due to violation of their right to privacy.
  5. The Moldovan Constitutional Court blocked the disbursement of a 200 million euro ($214.94 million) loan from Russia.
  6. Slovakia’s Constitutional Court rejected the request for election annulment.
  7. The Constitutional Court of Korea ruled against banning teachers from joining political groups.

In the News

  1. The European Commission launched a new infringement procedure against Poland regarding the attack on the independence of judiciary.
  2. Vladimir Turcan, president of the Constitutional Court of Moldova, has been dismissed from his post.
  3. Kyrgyz MP, former judge Kurmankul Zulushev, has initiated a draft law to hold a referendum to amend the Kyrgyzstan’s Constitution of 2010.
  4. UK, in the post-Brexit scenario, might risk a formal rejection of the application to remain part of the Lugano convention.
  5. Lesotho amended its Constitution narrowing the prime minister’s powers to dissolve the Parliament and call new elections. 

New Scholarship

  1. Sofia Ranchordás and Yaniv Roznai (eds.), Time, Law, and Change: An Interdisciplinary Study (2020) (offering a unique perspective on the relationship between time, change, and law-making processes)
  2. Matej Avbelj and Jernej Letnar Černič, The Impact of European Institutions on the Rule of Law and Democracy: Slovenia and Beyond  (2020) (arguing that the Slovenian EU dream might be seen as a misleading conception in the EU accession discourse)
  3. Cora Chan and Fiona de Londras (eds.), China’s National Security: Endangering Hong Kong’s Rule of Law? (2020) (exploring how to protect national security while preserving the rule of law in the China-Hong Kong context)
  4. Mark Elliott and Kirsty Hughes (eds.), Common Law Constitutional Rights (2020) (inquiring on both the content and role of individual common law constitutional rights in the legal reasoning of UK Supreme Court)
  5. András Jakab and Sebastian Schmid (eds.), ZöR Festausgabe 100 Jahre B-VG (2020) (analysing the history, doctrinal features and efficacy of the 100 years old Austrian Federal Constitution of 1920)
  6. Jorge Roa Roa, The Role of Constitutional Courts in Latin American Transformative Constitutionalism, (2020) (arguing for the existence of a transformative constitutionalism model in Latin America)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. IACL December Roundtable: Submission Deadline Extension and Update. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extended the submission deadline to 1 June and we are reviewing the format for the IACL Roundtable scheduled for 10-11 December: ‘Democracy 2020: Assessing Constitutional Decay, Breakdown and Renewal’. The Update Announcement is here
  2. COVID-DEM: How is COVID-19 Impacting Democracy? On 3 April the global research platform DEM-DEC launched the COVID-DEM Infohub, which aims to help democracy analysts worldwide track, compile, and share information on how State responses to COVID-19 are impacting on democracy. It contains curated information including databases, academic research, a ‘super blog’ providing access to analysis on over 30 blogs, policy analysis podcasts, and webinars. You can submit your own work and suggestions to feature on the Infohub, reaching an audience of thousands across over 100 countries.
  3. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites all to join a free live online seminar on “How to Write a Book in Constitutional Law–and Get it Published: Advice from Scholars around the World,” on May 15, 2020.
  4. University of Oslo, Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX), invites applications for a PhD Research Fellow to work on the project “Comparing Histories of Antisemitism in Contemporary Europe”.
  5. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the course “Modern Challenges in Constitutionalism: Perspectives from the World’s Leading Experts”. The eight-week course will be held on Zoom starting on May 20, 2020.
  6. Sant ’Anna Pisa, School of Advanced Studies, invites applications for admission to the PhD in Law. Deadline for submission is June 5, 2020.
  7. WATER, open access journal on water science and technology, invites submission for the special issue “Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance”. The deadline is January 15, 2021.
  8. The IACL-AIDC research group on “Gender and Constitutions” invites scholars, practitioners and activists to contribute for the ‘Observatory on COVID-19 effects on gender equality’.
  9. The City Law School Jean Monnet Chair of Law & Transatlantic Relations, the Institute for the study of European Law (ISEL) and the International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) will host a webinar on “The Law of Facebook: Borders, Regulation and Global Social Media” the next 15 May (UK Time).
  10. Publius: The Journal of Federalism invites scholars to submit article proposals for the special issue, “Federalism and the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The deadline is May 20, 2020.
  11. The University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and the Serbian Association for Legal and Social Philosophy are organizing the 7th annual Student conference in theory and philosophy of law on the following subject “International Tribunals and the Rule of Law”. Abstracts should be sent by September 1, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Jack Balkin, Symposium on Richard Albert, Constitutional Amendments: Collected Posts, Balkinization
  2. Juan Auz, Global South climate litigation versus climate justice: duty of international cooperation as a remedy?, Vöelkerrechtsblog
  3. Jorge Contesse, The Downfall of a Constitutional Court, Verfassungsblog
  4. Asylai Akisheva, Presidential Immunity v. Equality before the Law: the Case of the Kyrgyz Constitutional Chamber, cogitoIXVII
  5. Lucia Serena Rossi, A ‘new course’ of the Bundesverfassungsgericht in the context of constitutional complaints: the balancing of conflicting rights and the application of Union law, EU Law Analysis
  6. Irina Criveț, Improving domestic compliance with UN treaty body decisions, Küremer
  7. Max Steuer, Slovak Constitutionalism and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Implications of State Panic, IACL-IADC Blog
  8. Stephen M. Griffin, American Federalism, the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the Legacy of Hurricane Katrina, ConstitutionNet
  9. Ali Yurtsever, Legal Effects of COVID-19 on Rent Payments and Employment, Turkish Law Blog
  10. David R. Cameron, European Council approves Eurogroup’s €540 billion package, agrees to establish recovery fund  , Yale MacMillan Center
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Published on May 4, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Human Rights in Africa in the Context of Covid-19


–Sean Molloy, Research Associate, Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University


In response to Covid-19, countries across Africa are declaring a state of emergency (these include Botswana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Botswana, Ethiopia and Senegal, to name a few). Doing so allows the authorities, in times of urgent necessity, to take actions necessary to safeguard national security, maintain law and order, protect citizens’ lives and property, keep essential public services working, concentrate relief resources and direct them to the areas of greatest need, and in general to restore normality. While providing a degree of flexibility necessary to respond to the current pandemic, declaring a state of emergency also brings significant risks, particularly those relating to human rights (Ali Yildiz and Olga Hałub-Kowalczyk). Emergency powers must, therefore, be monitored scrupulously and on an ongoing basis. Yet, this requires legal certainty and clearly defined parameters regarding what is and is not permissible under a state of emergency. This post argues that the current Covid-19 brings into stark relief a long-standing ambiguity relating to derogations versus claw-back clauses under the African system of human rights. In order to ensure uniformity in how emergency measures are monitored, this will require clarification sooner, rather than later.

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Published on May 1, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

A Liberal Darling or an Inadvertent Hand to Dictators? Open-Ended Lawmaking and Taiwan’s Legal Response to the Covid Pandemic


–Ming-Sung Kuo, Associate Professor, University of Warwick, UK. Email: M-S.Kuo@warwick.ac.uk 


Taiwan has recently received unusual international coverage for its stellar performance in the global fight against the Covid pandemic. It is noted that the Taiwan society and government drew hard lessons from their painful experience in the 2003 Sars outbreak. Learning from the experience with the help of the civil society is said to make Taiwan’s proactive response to the Covid pandemic a success story. With Xi Jinping’s China coming out of the pandemic shadow cast by the early outbreak in Wuhan, Taiwan is emerging as a newfound darling in the eager search for an alternative model to the Chinese dystopia among liberal-minded societies. Taiwan’s public health performance in this real global fight notwithstanding, the legal picture currently being drawn of Taiwan’s response to the Covid pandemic is still incomplete (here and here) and a cautionary note should be sounded about this success story.          

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Published on April 30, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Developments
 

Lies in the Time of Corona: Attempts to Inoculate Truth from a Pandemic

Andrea Scoseria Katz, NYU School of Law

[Editor’s note: This is one of our biweekly I-CONnect columns. For more information about our four columnists for 2020, please click here.]

The problem with lying in politics, the philosopher Hannah Arendt once pointed out, isn’t that people start to take the lies seriously, but rather that “nobody believes anything any longer”:

A people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.[1]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of stricken people being turned away from overburdened health care systems and forced to seek remedies, financial help, medical advice, or just good news where they can, public lying can be a matter of life or death—a fact that hasn’t stopped scores of unscrupulous actors from peddling falsehoods to profit from the crisis: TV personalities and internet influencers touting their own “remedies,” “detox diets,” or “immune-boosting” vitamins to ward off the disease, religious leaders in South Korea, Brazil, and Mexico downplaying the dangers of COVID-19, or cybercriminals posing as authorities from the UK government or the World Health Organization to steal people’s personal data.

But nothing compares to the phenomenon of heads of state taking to the podium to spout untruths. This includes authoritarian China, where it turns out that the government may have underreported the total of domestic coronavirus cases by a factor of four; embattled Venezuela, where, in a video since deleted by Twitter, President Nicolás Maduro touts a “natural brew” to fight the virus; and Brazil and the United States, two otherwise robust democracies headed by illiberal populists who figure among the world’s worst offenders in sheer mendacity. After initially dismissing the severity of the virus, both Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump have attempted to muzzle negative press coverage of the crisis, silenced their own expertsmedical guidance, and advocated untested drugs as a cure for the infection, Trump even conjecturing last week that exposure to UV light or ingesting disinfectant by injection could be cures for COVID-19, a baseless claim alarmed experts rushed to debunk.

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Published on April 29, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

Polexit is Coming or is it Already Here? Comments on the Judicial Independence Decisions of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

Agnieszka Bień-Kacała, Nicolaus Copernicus University

The COVID-19 crisis changed the dynamics of the deterioration of Polish constitutionalism; it has relocated and refocused legal arguments to an extent that could lead us to Polexit. The argument based on the sovereignty of Poland is no longer considered as a mere electoral campaign tool, but has now become a legal ground for Constitutional Tribunal (CT) decisions. 

At the beginning of the Andrzej Duda presidential election campaign in February 2020, I predicted that the sovereignty of Poland would be its guiding theme. Election capital could then be built on the emphasis of this sovereignty, pitted against EU competences and values. The CJEU decision on judicial independence (striking down changes to the Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber),[1] its implementation resolution by the Supreme Court (SC),[2] and its disregard by the Sejm in the Muzzle Act, which further weakened Polish judicial independence,[3] provided context for this expectation. It was expected that symbolic legislation and reliance on the sovereignty argument, which was utilized in the case involving the lowering of judicial retirement ages,[4] would also be pulled from the political toolbox. Just as a brief reminder: in the retirement case, the legislature in the end backed off and implemented the interim measure of the CJEU.

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Published on April 28, 2020
Author:          Filed under: Developments