Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Category: Zachary Elkins

  • A Review of Iceland’s Draft Constitution from the Comparative Constitutions Project

    –Zachary Elkins, University of Texas; Tom Ginsburg,University of Chicago;                James Melton,University College London On the heels of an extraordinarily interesting experiment in constitutional design by crowdsourcing, Iceland is headed to the polls this week to test the public’s reaction to the draft constitution.  

  • Notes from Behind the Bench

    Willy Forbath and John Ferejohn (visiting from NYU) are running a unique colloquium at Texas this spring.  They’ve invited six of the leading justices from constitutional courts around the world to visit and share insights from their time on the bench.  

  • The Right to Food in Mexico

    As the price of commodities has skyrocketed in recent years, a number of countries have seen citizens take to the street to let the authorities know of their displeasure at the price of their favorite grain — whether it’s rice in Asian countries, wheat in Europe, or corn in Mexico, where tortillas should accompany any meal.

  • Valium, Floods, and Presidential Decree Power in Venezuela

    You have to admire Hugo Chavez’s directness, if nothing else. Today he exercised his constitutional prerogative to request decree powers from the National Assembly, which is expected to oblige. The opposition, of course, was none too pleased at the thought of more Chavezian decrees.

  • EU says Turkish reforms aren’t enough

    In these pages, Ozan Varol posted a nice overview of the Turkish constitutional amendments in September. Varol had noted that the otherwise democratic reforms could potentially do some real damage to the independence of the judiciary. According to a story in Today’s Zaman, an English-language paper published in Turkey, help may be on the way.

  • What would happen if the U.S. repealed the 14th amendment?

    So many constitutional issues came up in the context of the 2010 U.S. election that I’m just now summoning the energy to react to them. One issue was the provocative proposal by Senators Jon Kyl and Lindsay Graham (among others) to repeal the 14th amendment, or at least that part of the amendment that grants citizenship to all those born in the territory of the United States.

  • Sri Lanka and Executive Self Dealing

    The Sri Lankan parliament voted on Wednesday to approve the 18th amendment to their constitution, which strikes down the 2-term limit on presidential re-election. We’ve all seen this movie before. Critics responded by characterizing the amendment as a step towards authoritarianism, since its beneficiary is the sitting president, Mahinda Rajapakse.

  • Looking like “yes” in Kenya

    Kenyan citizens go to the polls tomorrow for an up and down vote on the new constitution. According to reports in the Daily Nation, voters are expected in record numbers. Despite early warnings from the government that funds were in short supply to support the election, ballots appear to be in place, a national holiday proclaimed, and security measures taken.

  • How Representative is the Senate Minority Anyway?

    Last week’s Senate election in Massachusetts had many of us thinking about the merits and demerits of the filibuster. A basic question that sprang to mind, given the well-known malapportionment of the Senate, was this: what percent of Americans are represented by the 41 would-be filibusterers?

  • Will the head of state in Canada please stand up?

    Several years after you read Peter Russell’s excellent book on the evolution of the Canadian constitution (now in its 3rd edition), you will be forgiven for forgetting the details of the many twists and turns of Canada’s constitutional odyssey. You will likely remember, however, Russell’s anecdote in the preface in which he describes the motivation for the book.