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 and Indian Equality Law Visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne.

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

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of India holds hearings on the validity of civil liberties restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. The Supreme Court of India referred unresolved questions in a case on the entry of women into places of worship to a larger bench.
  3. In a 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 public employees.
  4. The 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.
  5. The Supreme Court of Russia ordered the closure of a prominent human rights group for “breaking regulations.”

In the News

  1. The 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.
  2. The Parliament 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.
  3. The 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.
  4. Chile 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 .
  5. Legislators 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.
  6. The Minister 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.
  7. The National Assembly of Nigeria expressed an interest in amending its Constitution to provide for a smooth transition of legislative powers.
  8. The Chinese 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.
  9. The Thai cabinet nominated six experts from outside the government to sit the committee with the competence to vet constitutional amendments.
  10. The new 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 .

New Scholarship

  1. Dimitry Kochenov, Citizenship (2019) (providing key elements of the concept of citizenship: status, rights, duties, and politics, as enacted in its granting and enjoyment).
  2. 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 history).
  3. 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).
  4. Joshua C. Gellers and Trevor J. Cheatham, Sustainable Development Goals and Environmental Justice: Realization through Disaggregation? 36 Wisconsin International Law Journal (2019) (examining the extent to which the UN Sustainable Development Goals and voluntary national reviews reflect principles of environmental justice).
  5. Petra Schleiter, Georgina Evans, The Changing Confidence Relationship Between the UK Executive and Parliament in Comparative Context 72 Parliamentary Affairs 1 (2019) (examining how the changes introduced by The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 strengthens parliament vis-à-vis the government, and discusses their implications against the background of contemporary constitutional practise in developed parliamentary democracies).
  6. Rivka Weill, From Earl Grey to Boris Johnson: Brexit and the Anglo-American Constitutional Model (2019) (historically and doctrinally arguing how Britain has been operating under a common Anglo-American constitutional model for the past 200 years and highlights its implications for comparative constitutional law).
  7. Andrew Fagan,  The 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”).
  8. Ben T. C. Warwick, Unwinding Retrogression: Examining the Practice of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? Human Rights Law Review 1 (2019) (providing a brief history of non-retrogression and identifies what backwardness the doctrine seeks to regulate, its doctrinal position and the steps needed to prove it in practice).
  9. European Law Journal, Special Issue (Jürgen Habermas) (2019) (bringing together a range of scholars to discuss Habermas’ contributions).

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Law Faculty at the Comenius University in Bratislava and the Central and Eastern European Chapter of the ICON-S organize a regional workshop on November 26, 2019, of authors who contributed to the I·CONnect-Clough Center 2018 Global Review of Constitutional Law.
  2. 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 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
  3. Queen’s University Belfast is recruiting a Research Fellow in the Colonialism and Transition Project.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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”.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. The Harvard Law Review published a series of infographics on the Supreme Court of the United States.
  12. 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 by April 30, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Gráinne de Búrca, John Morijn, Maximilian Steinbeis, Stand with Wojciech Sadurski: his freedom of expression is (y)ours, Verfassungsblog
  2. Mark Graber, McCulloch and Fundamental Rights Regimes, Balkinization
  3. Christos Panayiotides, Building a federated system of governance, Cyprus Mail
  4. Jeff King and Stephen Tierney, The Constitution Committee Reports on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, UK Constitutional Law Association Blog
  5. David R. Cameron, After Spain’s left parties agree on coalition, road to power goes through Catalonia, Yale MacMillan Centre
  6. A.G. Noorani, Supreme Court denies justice, Frontline
  7. Moussa Diop, Senegal and its national political dialogue in a time of inclusive democracy, ConstitutionNet
  8. Raul Sanchez Urribarri, Venezuela: Between Autocracy and Hope for Acceptable Elections, ConstitutionNet
  9. Mariana Velasco Rivera, Justifying a Coup d’État in the Name of Democracy?, Verfassungsblog
  10. Carlo Fusaro, The End of Parliamentary Government in Europe, Verfassungsblog
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Published on November 25, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

New Constitution or Nothing! The Promise and Pitfalls of Chile’s Constitutional Moment

Lisa Hilbink, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota[1]

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,[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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?

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Published on November 24, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Special Undergraduate Series—Reservations Based on Economic Criteria: A Policy Assessment: Will the Government Succeed in Bringing an End to Poverty with Reservation?

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.

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Published on November 23, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

Book Review: Oran Doyle on “The United Kingdom and the Federal Idea” (Robert Schütze and Stephen Tierney eds.)

[Editor’s Note: In this instalment of I•CONnect’s Book Review Series, Oran Doyle reviews The United Kingdom and the Federal Idea (Robert Schütze and Stephen Tierney eds., Hart Publishing 2018).]

–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 differentiation.

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.

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Published on November 22, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Reviews

Announcement–New Book: “Comparative Constitution-Making” (Edward Elgar 2019)

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.

And here, immediately below, are the contents of this new book:

1. Introduction
Hanna Lerner and David Landau

Part I: Foundations

2. Revolutions and Constitution-Making
Andrew Arato

3. Constitution Making and Social Transformation
Heinz Klug

4. International Involvement in Constitution-Making
Cheryl Saunders

5. Constituent Power, Primary Assemblies, and the Imperative Mandate
Joel Colon-Rios

6. Amendment and Revision in the Unmaking of Constitutions
Richard Albert

Part II: Techniques and Processes

7. The Constitutional Referendum in Historical Perspective
Zach Elkins and Alexander Hudson

8. Constitutional Design Deferred
Rosalind Dixon

9. Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Places
Brendan O’Leary

10. Civil society, participation and the making of Kenya’s constitution
Yash Ghai

11. How Constitutional Crowdsourcing can Enhance Legitimacy in Constitution-Making
Carlos Bernal

Part III: Contexts and Contents

12. Religion and Constitution-Making in Comparative Perspective
Asli Bali and Hanna Lerner

13. Constitution Making and State Building
Joanne Wallis

14. The Making of ‘Illiberal Constitutionalism’ with or without a New Constitution: The Case of Hungary and Poland
Gabor Halmai

15. Constitution Making: The case of ‘Unwritten’ Constitutions
Janet McClean

16. The Making of Constitutional Preambles
Justin Frosini

Part IV: Historical Perspectives

17. Constitutionalism Ancient and Oriental
Patricia Springborg

18. First Constitutions: American Procedural Influence
Lorianne Updike Toler

19. National Identity and Constitutions in Modern Europe: Into the Fifth Zone
Bill Kissane and Nick Sitter

20. Constitution Making and Constitutionalism in Europe
Chris Thornhill

Part V: Regional Perspectives

21. The Unsurprising but Distinctive Nature of Constitution Writing in the Arab World
Nathan Brown

22. Constitution Crafting in South Asia: Lessons on Accommodation and Alienation
Menaka Guruswamy

23. Constitution-making and Public Participation in Southeast Asia
Melissa Crouch

24. Voluntary Infusion of Constitutionalism in Anglophone African Constitutions
Francois Venter

25. Post-Soviet Constitution-Making
Will Partlett

26. Constituent Power and Constitution-Making in Latin America
David Landau

Please join me in congratulating David, and his co-editor Hanna, on their new book!

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Published on November 21, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

What’s New in Public Law

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.

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. 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. 
  2. The 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.
  3. The 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 their identification.
  4. The 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.
  5. The US Supreme Court heard a racial discrimination case against Comcast.
  6. The Supreme Court of India delayed a ruling on ban on women entering Hindu temple.
  7. The Supreme Court of Singapore heard a case challenging the constitutionality of a colonial-era law punishing male homosexual acts.

In the News

  1. The US House of Representatives began public hearings into allegations against President Donald Trump.
  2. Royal Mail won a court action to block planned postal strikes in the run-up to Christmas.
  3. In Spain, the Socialist Party won the most of votes at General Election, but fell short of a majority.
  4. A Belgian court recognized the right to publish pictures of police officers performing their duties in public spaces.
  5. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected President Trump’s attempt to keep his financial record private.
  6. A resolution of the European Parliament condemned the criminalization of sex education by a Polish draft law.
  7. 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.

New Scholarship

  1. Zoltan Barany, Sumit Bisarya, Sujit Choudhry, Richard Stacey (eds.), Security Sector Reform in Constitutional Transitions (2019) (providing an introduction to security sector reform, including case-studies and hints to emerging democracies)
  2. 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)
  3. Stephen Gardbaum, The Counter-Play Book: Resisting the Populist Assault on Separation of Powers (2019) (arguing that, since populism undermines institutional checks and balances, constitutional democracies shall be protected through the application of an anti-concentration principle that prevents the separation of powers from being dismantled)
  4. 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)
  5. Karen J. Greenberg (ed.), Reimagining the National Security State. Liberalism on the Brink (2019) (providing a comprehensive picture of the US government’s policies and laws enacted in the name of the war on terror, taking into account historical, legal, political and theoretical issues)
  6. 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)
  7. David Landau, Hanna Lerner (eds.), Comparative Constitution Making (2019) (analysing constitution making around the world and exploring debates on constitutionalism)
  8. Lee J. Strang, Originalism’s Promise. A Natural Law Account of the American Constitution (2019) (analysing the originalist interpretation of the American Constitution and giving account of the debate between originalist and non-originalist theories)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. The University of Aberdeen is seeking to appoint a Chair in Comparative Law. Applications close on December 13, 2019.
  7. 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.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Armin von Bogdandy, Fundamentals on Defending European Values, Verfassungsblog
  2. David R. Cameron, Spain goes to the poll for fourth time in four years – and again no party has a majority, Yale MacMillan Center
  3. Jorge Contesse, A Constitution Borne Out of Actual Bullets: A Reply to Sergio Verdugo, Verfassungsblog
  4. Adam Feldman, Empirical SCOTUS: The recent role of separate opinions, SCOTUS Blog
  5. Seamus Hughes, Devorah Margolin, The Fractured Terrorism Threat to America, Lawfare
  6. Dimitrios Kyriazis, Playing Chess like Commissioner Vestager, EU Law Blog
  7. Sergio Verdugo, The Chilean Political Crisis and Constitutions as Magic Bullets: How to Replace the Chilean Constitution?, Verfassungsblog
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Published on November 18, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Reminder–2nd Annual Conference–ICON-S Italy Chapter–“New Technologies and the Future of Public Law”

–The Editors

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.

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Published on November 16, 2019
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Judges Cannot Run in Parliamentary Elections in Slovakia Anymore

Simon 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.

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Published on November 12, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

What’s New in Public Law

Simon Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen

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

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Constitutional Court of Germany held that sanctions imposed on recipients of unemployment benefits to enforce their cooperation obligations are in part unconstitutional.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Korean police questioned the Mongolian Constitutional Court President over allegations that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a Korean Air flight.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The Supreme Court of Israel upheld a government decision to order a senior Human Rights Watch employee to leave.

In the News

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The President of Nepal removed governors of all seven national provinces.
  4. The Court of Justice of the European Union received a preliminary question from Malta on the judicial appointment procedure.
  5. 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.

New Scholarship

  1. Shai Dothan, International Judicial Review: When Should International Courts Intervene? (2019) (critically examining under which conditions intervention by international courts into domestic affairs is recommended and evaluating the implications that international courts have on society)
  2. Anna Fruhstorfer and Michael Hein, Institutional interests and the politics of constitutional amendment, International Political Science Review (2019) (asking what affects the likelihood that a constitutional amendment will be adopted and showing that this is mainly driven by the initiator of a given amendment)
  3. Peter Beck, The Parts We Skip: A Taxonomy of Constitutional Irrelevancy, 34 Constitutional Commentary (2019) (identifying and categorising clauses in the US Constitution that are without legal force, because they are often skipped)
  4. 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)
  5. Timothy Zick, The First Amendment in the Trump Era (2019) (cataloguing and analysing the various First Amendment conflicts that have occurred during the Trump presidency)
  6. 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 Announcements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Anthony Arnull, The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, UK Constitutional Law Association
  2. Mark Tushnet, Academic Constitutional Theory and Judicial Constitutional Practice, Balkinization
  3. Kate O’Regan, Equality, reconciliation and instability: the challenges before the South African Constitutional Court, UK Human Rights Blog
  4. Pierre Olivier Lobe, Cote d’Ivoire’s contested Electoral Commission and Ouattara’s third term: A recipe for political crisis?, ConstitutionNet
  5. Keiran Hardy, A Secretive State: The Collaery Trial and National Security Disclosures, AUSPUBLAW
  6. Cormac Devlin, From contract to role: using human rights to widen the personal scope of employment protections, OxHRH
  7. Emilio Peluso Neder Meyer, Thomas Bustamante, Marcelo Cattoni, Threats to Brazilian Democracy Gain Traction, Verfassungsblog
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Published on November 11, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Reviews

Book Review: Eszter Bodnár on “Constitutional Politics and the Judiciary: Decision-Making in Central and Eastern Europe” (Kálmán Pócza ed.)

[Editor’s Note: In this installment of I•CONnect’s Book Review Series, Eszter Bodnár reviews Constitutional Politics and the Judiciary: Decision-Making in Central and Eastern Europe (Kálmán Pócza ed., Routledge 2019)]

–Eszter Bodnár, Associate Professor, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

The constitutional systems of the Central and Eastern European region have always held an important place in comparative constitutional research projects. In the beginning of the 1990s, the world followed the democratic transitions and the establishment of new constitutional courts, which had no real precursors in most of the countries, with close scrutiny. Recently, the increased interest in the region is due to the constitutional backlash that constitutional courts in these countries, especially Poland and Hungary, are facing.

The volume edited by Kálmán Pócza brings the constitutional courts of the region into the limelight again, covering both of the above-mentioned constitutional periods from a fresh perspective. Instead of continuing the work on theoretical and legitimacy issues, two research questions remain at the center of the book: how differentiated are the decisions of the Central European constitutional courts (diversity of judicial decisions); and to what extent have these differentiated decisions of Central European constitutional courts constrained the legislature’s room to manoeuvre (strength of judicial decisions)?

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Published on November 9, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Reviews