Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What is New in Public Law?

–Mauricio Guim, S.J.D. Candidate University of Virginia School of 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.

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 – after eleven years of litigation – ruled that synchronized trades in the futures and options market constitute an unfair trade practice.
  2. The Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled that the right to a healthy environment is a right that can be directly invoked and protected through different international human rights instruments.
  3. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that all employers should ensure all reasonable steps to accommodate disabled and injured workers to the point of undue hardship. The Court expanded the scope of employer’s obligation towards disabled and injured people and established an additional forum in which workers may claim human rights protection against work-related injuries.
  4. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that South Africa has extra-territorial jurisdiction for crimes of terrorism committed outside South Africa, and that his jurisdiction is not limited to just prosecutions for financing terrorism.
  5. The Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the Trump’s administration appeal of two federal judgments that ordered to maintain major pieces of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – while constitutional challenges move forward.
  6. The highest administrative court of Germany ruled that vehicles can be banned from some city streets as part of efforts to improve air quality in urban areas, a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s automakers and the diesel technology they promoted for decades.
  7. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in favor of three employees who left their jobs as a result of alleged racial discrimination which manifested itself in physical‚ verbal and mental abuse.
  8. The Supreme Court of India ruled that two-wheeler manufacturers will have to provide safety measures for pillion riders like saree guard and hand grip.
  9. The Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that the Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka violated the Constitution by using an official statement to criticize the far-right Alternative for Germany.
  10. The United States Supreme Court ruled that immigrants held in long-term detention do not have a right to periodic hearing to argue for their release, overturning a previous precedent that said that detained immigrants awaiting deportation must have a bond hearing every six months.
  11. The Supreme Court of Maldives annulled its own order to free a group of imprisoned opposition leaders after two of the Court’s justices were arrested amid a political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.
  12. The Indian Supreme Court ruled that the state of Karnataka can withdraw up to 284.75 thousand million cubic feet of water from the river each month for the next 15 years, potentially solving a contentious issue – the sharing of water from the Cauvery River – since 1890s.
  13. The Supreme Court of Brazil upheld major changes to laws that protect the Amazon and other biomes, reducing penalties for past illegal deforestation.
  14. The Supreme Court of Israel ordered Bank not to block cryptocurrencies activities setting a potential global precedent.

In the News

  1. The Central Committee of the Chinese’s Communist Party announced a proposal to repeal the constitutional provisions that prescribe that the president and the vice-president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms”, clearing the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.
  2. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Australia initiated an investigation – the first of its kind the world – of Google and Facebook’s use of personal data, their impact on the media’s traditional business model, and the potential effect of that market shift on the ongoing creation of news and journalistic content in Australia.
  3. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation of Israel’s Knesset gave a “green light” to a bill that will strip the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to hear land disputes in the West Bank.
  4. The Judicial Committee of Israel appointed two new judges to the Supreme Court: Alex Stein, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School in New York, and Ofer Grosskopf, current judge of the Tel Aviv District Court.
  5. The Minister of Justice of Poland, Zbigniew Ziobro, announced that the Government would not enforce the new Holocaust Law until the Constitutional Court makes a decision the constitutionality of the legislation.
  6. The Citizens Commission of Anti-Corruption of Mexico denounced that the Government is blocking its investigation by refusing to cooperate in some of the biggest corruption cases facing the nation.
  7. Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz has been accused of coordinating judicial rulings with Israeli Securities Investigator Eran Shacham-Shavit in corruption Case 4000 against Prime Minister Nentanyahu’s family.
  8. The European Union finance head, Valdis Dombrovskis, warned that it would regulate cryptocurrencies if the risks exposed by the meteoric use of bitcoin and their ilk are not promptly addressed.
  9. In an unprecedented step, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia announced the appointment of Saudi woman, Tamadar Bint Yousef al-Ramah as the deputy minister of labour and social development.
  10. The state of Somaliland is expected to pass a law banning female genital mutilation amid complaints from some activists that the move will not go far enough.
  11. Brussels will make public transportation free on high air pollution days.
  12. President of France Emmanuel Macron proposes sweeping reforms to France’s vast state rail system and cut rail workers special employment rights.
  13. President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa announced the makeup of his first cabinet on Monday night, appointing well-respected allies and rivals to key positions but naming as his deputy a provincial power broker with a history of poor management.
  14. The Department of Justice of the United States will back local lawsuits against manufacturers of opioids.
  15. The Government of Venezuela announced it will postpone the presidential election until May 20, allowing an extra month before the vote but doing little to quell critics calling for a boycott.
  16. Bill banning circumcision in Iceland alarms Religious Groups.
  17. The Government of Tasmania promised shooters it plans changes to soften the state’s gun laws that would put it at odds with an updated National Firearms Agreement released last year.

New Scholarship

  1. Joshua C. Gellers & Christopher Jeffords, Toward Environmental Democracy? Procedural Environmental Rights and Environmental Justice (2018) (reporting the results of a statistical analysis showing that states with procedural environmental rights are more likely than non-adopting states to attain environmental justice).
  2. Giuseppe Franco Ferrari, Reijer Passchier and Wim Voermans (eds.), The Dutch Constitution Beyond 200 Years: Tradition and Innovation in a Multilevel Legal Order (2018) (providing the first comparative-thematic coverage of the Constitution of the Netherlands in English).
  3. Michael Hein, Impeding constitutional amendments: why are entrenchment clauses codified in contemporary constitutions? , Acta Politica (examining the empirical factors that influence the codification of entrenchment clauses in contemporary constitutions).
  4. Brannon Denning, Can Judges Be Uncivilly Obedient (2018) (arguing that judicial uncivil obedience –scrupulous attendance to the law as a mechanism of protests– is possible and speculating why uncivil obedience might be a particularly attractive form of dissent by inferior courts in a hierarchical judicial system).
  5. David Pozen, Transparency’s Ideological Drift (2018) (tracing transparency’s drift in the United States from a progressive toward a more libertarian orientation and offers some reflections on the causes and consequences of that drift—and on the possibility of a reversal.)
  6. Rivka Weil, Exploring Constitutional Statutes in Common Law Systems (2018) (arguing that statutes are identified as constitutional based on either the process of their enactment or their content, which may itself be subdivided into two classifications: content in terms of importance and content in terms of entrenchment language, and exploring the ramifications of this new classification).
  7. Desirée C. Schmitt, The Doctrine of Consular Nonreviewability in the Travel Ban Cases: Kerry v. Din Revisited (2018) (analyzing the Travel Ban cases in light of the Doctrine of Consular Nonreviewability and its “counsin” the Plenary Power Doctrine).
  8. Kate Andrias, The Fortification of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine and the Political Economy (2018) (arguing that Judge-made constitutional doctrine, though by no means the primary cause of rising inequality, has played an important role in reinforcing and exacerbating it, particularly in areas of labor and education).

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Global Justice Journal of the Philippe Kirsch Institute, affiliated with the Canadian Centre for International Justice, is seeking submissions of 1500-2000 words on current issues of international human rights and humanitarian law, transnational and transitional justice.
  2. The American Society of International Law will hold a roundtable on “New Perspectives in International Legal Theory” and is seeking three scholars to present and receive feedback on unpublished papers on topics related to international legal theory.
  3. Richard Albert and Martin Scheinin request submissions for the Workshop on Abuse of the Constitution in Times of Emergency at the 10th World Congress in Constitutional Law, scheduled for June 18-22, 2018 in Seoul.
  4. The International Association of Constitutional Law announces a call for abstracts for the 10th World Congress of Constitutional Law “Violent Conflicts, Peace-Building and Constitutional Law” on 18-22 June 2018 in Seoul. The deadline for a submission of abstracts is 30 March 2018.
  5. The University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge organize a conference “The Frontiers of Public Law” on 11-13 July 2018 in Melbourne. Online registration is now open.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Rahul Unnikrishnan, Debate: the Supreme Court is Indeed Rescuing Secularism, The Wire.
  2. Dominic Nardi, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court and Public Opinion, New Mandala.
  3. Lyle Denniston, A Second Setback fro Trump Team on DACA, Constitution Daily.
  4. Neil H. Buchanan, Gun Violence: Trump’s Non-Solutions and Some Real Solution, Dorf on Law.
  5. Michael Dorf, Do 18 Years Old Have a Constitutional Right to Guns?, Take Care Blog.
  6. Agustín Casagrande, History, Memory and Pardon in Latin American Constitutionalism, Verfassungs Blog.
  7. David Pozen, Straining (analogies) to make sense of the First Amendment in Cyberspace, Balkanization.
  8. Kim Lane Scheppele, Is the Rule of Law too vague a notion?,
  9. Marci Matczak, The Rule of Law in Poland: A Sorry Spectacle, Verfassungsblog.


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