Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

[Editor’s Note: I-CONnect congratulates today’s contributor, Angelique Devaux, on the recent birth of her son, Marceau. I-CONnect wishes Marceau a long, loving, healthy, fulfilling and prosperous life! –Ed.]

Angelique Devaux, French Licensed Attorney (Notaire)

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in comparative 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 comparative public law blogosphere.

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. Benin’s Constitutional Court confirmed the victory of Patrice Talon in the country’s presidential election.
  2. Zambian President Edgar Lungu appointed six and swore-in five prominent lawyers to serve on the country’s Constitutional Court.
  3. The Italian Constitutional Court rejected a motion to hear testimony from expert witnesses in the case of a couple wishing to donate their non-viable embryos to science.
  4. The Supreme Court of the United States heard a new challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act involving religious-sponsored non-profit corporations.
  5. The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled that any taxpayer who has made an unlawful payment to the tax authorities has the right to charge interest from the date on which such payment was made and until the date of actual refund.

In the News

  1. Senegal voted overwhelmingly in favor of limiting presidential terms to five years.
  2. The Twelfth Round of Negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’s public report has been published.
  3. Russian Duma deputies proposed a bill to introduce the death penalty for terrorism-related crimes.
  4. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that prevents local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination ordinances.
  5. The European Commission launched public consultation on the Transparency Register to gather stakeholder views on a future mandatory system for all EU institutions.
  6. Russia and the United States agreed to push for a political transition in Syria by having a new draft constitution by August.
  7. France’s Court of Cassation ruled that judicial phone taps between former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his attorney were legal and admissible as evidence in an eventual case involving corruption accusations.
  8. Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law a bill banning abortions by concerned of the fetus’ gender, race or potential disabilities.

New Scholarship

  1. Oran Doyle, Constitutional Cases, Foreign Law and Theoretical Authority, 5 Global Constitutionalism 85 (2016) (suggesting that the judicial use of foreign law in constitutional cases is often unsatisfactorily explained in terms of persuasive authority and arguing that the central case of the judicial use of foreign law involves judges treating foreign case law as theoretically, rather than practically, authoritative)
  2. Ozan O. Varol, Lucia Dalla Pellegrina & Nuno M. Garoupa, An Empirical Analysis of Judicial Transformation in Turkey, American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming 2016) (finding a significant break in the Turkish Constitutional Court’s ideological position following the 2010 reforms to the Court’s structure and detecting a conservative ideological shift following the reforms that is increasing in magnitude with time)
  3. Benjamin Mason Meier and Averi Chakrabarti, The Paradox of Happiness: Health and Human Rights in the Kingdom of Bhutan, Health and Human Rights: An International Journal (forthcoming 2016) (examining the normative foundations of Bhutan’s focus on “a more meaningful purpose for development than just mere material satisfaction”through an analysis of the Bhutanese health system, documentary review of Bhutanese reporting to the UN human rights system, and semi-structured interviews with health policymakers)
  4. William A. Schabas, The European Convention on Human Rights (2015) (commenting article-by-article on the ECHR and its Protocols)
  5. Damir Banović, Human Dignity in European Legal Culture — The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2016) (providing an overview of the notion of human dignity in the constitutional system of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  6. Michael Lewis Wells, Judicial Federalism in the European Union, Houston Law Review (forthcoming) (comparing European Union federalism with the American version)
  7. Michael Kagan, When Immigrants Speak: The Precarious Status of Non-Citizen Speech Under the First Amendment, 57 Boston College Law Review (forthcoming 2016) (suggesting that the legal protection of free speech for immigrants in the United States is surprisingly limited and that current case law is in tension with the prohibition on identity-based speech restrictions as articulated in Citizens United v. FEC)
  8. Ming-Sung Kuo, Towards a Nominal Constitutional Court? Critical Reflections on the Shift from Judicial Activism to Constitutional Irrelevance in Taiwan’s Constitutional Politics, 25 Washington International Law Journal (2016) (suggesting that Taiwan’s constitutional politics has moved in the direction of dejudicialization as the Taiwan Constitutional Court turned away from judicial activism in the face of escalating constitutional conflicts)
  9. Wei Cui, Does Judicial Independence Matter? A Study of the Determinants of Administrative Litigation in an Authoritarian Regime, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law (forthcoming) (challenging the utility of a normative conception of administrative litigation through empirical and comparative analyses of two decades of administrative litigation in China)
  10. Mohamed A. ‘Arafa, Insights on Divine (Islamic) Law: Islamophobia versus Terrorism, Death Penalty, and Transitional Justice, CALUMET: Intercultural Law & Humanities Review (2016) (arguing that Middle Eastern and Arab countries cannot build prosperous systems without having the productive soil of an educated community along with changing cultural traditions and paranoia)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law has issued a call for submissions on constitutional law issues that are relevant to Africa and the developing world for its November 2016 inaugural issue.
  2. The University of Trento, Italy, Faculty of Law is organizing a new Summer School on Comparative Interpretation of European Constitutional Jurisprudence on the theme of “Constitutional Legitimacy of Political Parties: Streitbare Demokratie and Anti-System Parties in Europe” to be held on August 1-5, 2016.
  3. The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law of Indianapolis is organizing the Summer Institute in American Law and Comparative Law from June 12 to July 8, 2016.
  4. The International Law and Human Rights Unit, part of the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool, has issued a call for papers for postgraduate research students for its inaugural Postgraduate Conference in International Law and Human Rights to take place on June 14-15, 2016.
  5. The University of Bonn, Germany has issued a call for papers for its first conference for young private international law scholars on “Politics and Private International Law” to be held on April 6-7, 2017.
  6. The Department of Legal Studies of Central European University has issued a call for papers for its undergraduate summer conference to be held in Budapest on August 25-26, 2016.
  7. The Max Planck Institute Luxembourg is undertaking a European Commission-funded Study on the laws of national civil procedure of the 28 Member States and the enforcement of European Union Law.
  8. Yale Law School will host a full-day conference on “Canada in the World: Comparative Perspectives on the Canadian Constitution,” to take place on April 12, 2016 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Anita Banicevic and Mark Katz, Recent Developments in Canadian Cartel Enforcement, Kluwer Competition Law Blog
  2. Saul Leal, Biko and the right to happiness, AfricLaw
  3. EU referendum: How would Brexit change VAT and import duties?, The Guardian
  4. Steven D. Schwinn, Argument Preview: Does the Accommodation to the Contraception Requirement Violate Religious Freedom?, Constitutional Law Prof Blog
  5. Lyle Denniston, Constitution Check: Where does the Second Amendment stand now?, Constitution Daily
  6. David Ignatius, It’s time to fix Europe – or lose it, The Washington Post
  7. Lissa Griffin, Is the English Adversarial Process Changing?, Comparative Law Prof Blog
  8. Sari Bashi, In Israel, Atypical Detention and Typical Judicial Review, Jurist


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