Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

–Simon Drugda, Nagoya University Graduate School of Law (Japan)

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. The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously upheld the method of drawing legislative districts based on total population in a Texas electoral redistricting case.
  2. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accused the High Court of Justice of overstepping its authority after the Court struck down a natural gas development deal.
  3. The Constitutional Court of Kosovo declined a request to void the recent presidential election, holding that it had not found any irregularities in the election process.
  4. The South African Department of Justice filed for leave to appeal the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal concerning the government’s failure to detain Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir despite a high court order barring him from leaving the country.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Colombia held that same-sex couples have a right to civil marriage.
  6. The Spanish Congress voted in favor of a proposal to sue the interim government in the Constitutional Court for failing to appear before the lower house to answer members’ questions on government activity.
  7. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany held that essential decisions concerning accreditation of higher education study programs must be adopted by state legislatures and cannot be left to other state agencies.
  8. Violence ensued in the capital of the Republic of Congo after the Congolese Constitutional Court verified results of the presidential election and confirmed incumbent President Denis Sassou N’Guesso for yet another term in office.
  9. Brazil’s Prosecutor General recommended that the Supreme Court block the appointment of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a cabinet minister, alleging that it is intended to disrupt a corruption probe Lula faces.

In the News

  1. The Seychelles National Assembly unanimously voted to amend its constitution to reduce presidential and vice-presidential term limits.
  2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal condemned a joint EU-India statement that made a reference to Nepal’s newly adopted constitution as inappropriate.
  3. Dutch voters rejected a Ukraine-European Union political, trade and defence treaty.
  4. The Council of Europe’s Secretary General and the European Commission First Vice President both expressed concerns over the refusal of the Polish government to recognize the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling on Court reforms. The Polish Justice Minister at the same time warned that the Tribunal would face legal responsibility if they continue to defy an overhaul ordered by the ruling party.
  5. Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro threatened to seek a constitutional amendment to shorten the opposition-led legislature’s term.
  6. The Prime Minister of Iceland stepped down in the wake of the scandal involving the leaked Panama Papers.
  7. Mauritanian ministers proposed the removal of constitutional term limits on the presidency.
  8. Myanmar’s Parliament approved the creation of a new post of a state counselor for Aung San Suu Kyi despite opposition of the military’s representatives in the Parliament.
  9. The Sri Lankan Parliament was converted into a Constitutional Assembly to formulate a new constitution.

New Scholarship

  1. Stephen Gardbaum, How Do and Should We Compare Constitutional Law?, in Comparing Comparative Law, Samatha Besson, Lukas Heckendorn and Samuel Jube eds. (forthcoming 2016) (arguing that rather than adopting either a single, more uniform approach or a series of specialized and compartmentalized sub-fields, comparative constitutional law should acknowledge the pluralism and interdependence of its methods as mutually important pieces of the overall enterprise)
  2. Nicholas W. Barber and Adrian Vermeule, The Exceptional Role of Courts in the Constitutional Order (2016) (examining exceptional cases in which judges are called upon to pass judgment on the constitution itself)
  3. Zachary S. Price, Seeking Baselines for Negative Authority: Constitutional and Rule-of-Law Arguments Over Nonenforcement and Waiver, The Journal of Legal Analysis (forthcoming 2016) (reflecting on constitutional and rule-of-law debates that have emerged regarding negative executive authority in the US—the authority to limit or undo what Congress has done through nonenforcement or waiver)
  4. David Kosař, Perils of Judicial Self-Government in Transitional Societies (2016) (investigating different forms of accountability and the taxonomy of mechanisms of control to determine the best practice methodology to insulate the judiciary from the daily politics, enhance its independence and ensure judicial accountability)
  5. Karin Loevy, Emergencies in Public Law, The Legal Politics of Containment (2016) (providing a framework for understanding emergencies as long-term processes rather than ad hoc events, and as opportunities for legal and institutional productivity rather than occasions for the suspension of law and the centralization of response powers)
  6. Aziz Z. Huq and Jon D. Michaels, The Cycles of Separation-of-Powers Jurisprudence, 126 Yale Law Journal (forthcoming 2016) (identifying a pervasive trend of doctrinal cycling between rules and standards as a distinctive element of separation-of-powers jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court and questioning whether such a purposeful approach can be justified as a judicial strategy)
  7. Jiunn-rong Yeh, The Constitution of Taiwan, A Contextual Analysis (2016) (providing a contextual analysis of the Taiwanese constitutional system, its transition to democracy and constitutional transformation)
  8. Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (2016) (examining the history, development, and impact of the Indian Constitution)
  9. Andrew Arato, Post Sovereign Constitution Making, Learning and Legitimacy (2016) (examining the development of a new, democratic paradigm of constitution making, and the resulting change in the normative discussions of constitutions, their creation, and the source of their legitimacy)
  10. Olga Frishman, Court-Audience Relationships in the 21st Century, Mississippi Law Journal (forthcoming 2016) (proposing a new framework for understanding and analyzing court-audience relationships, utilizing insights from organizational theory and concepts of “intended image” and “organizational image”)
  11. Maartje de Visser, We All Stand Together: The Role of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions in Promoting Constitutionalism, 3 Asian Journal of Law and Society (2016) (critically evaluating the interplay among courts with constitutional jurisdiction in Asia within the specific context of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC))
  12. Albert H.Y. Chen, The Law and Politics of the Struggle for Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong, 2013–15, 3 Asian Journal of Law and Society (2016) (examining the story of Hong Kong’s quest for democratization, focusing particularly on the context of the “Occupy Central” Movement that emerged in 2013, its aftermath, and the inherent tensions in the concept of “One Country, Two Systems”)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. Manuel José Cepeda Espinosa, President of the International Association of Constitutional Law, will deliver the 2016 Human Rights Lecture at the University of Melbourne. You can register to attend the lecture here.
  2. The Lisbon Law Review issued a call for papers for its second issue of 2016. The deadline for paper submission ends on June 1, 2016.
  3. The SMU Dedman School of Law and the University of Houston Law Center invite submissions for the second annual “2016 Texas Legal Scholars Workshop” for early-career scholars, to be held on August 26-27, 2016. The deadline for registering is June 1, 2016.
  4. The Edinburgh Legal Theory Research Group at the University of Edinburgh Law School issued a call for presenters for its 2016/17 seminar series.
  5. Université de Montréal issued a call for papers for a special spring 2017 issue of the Supreme Court Law Review on “The Court and the Constitution.”
  6. Université de Montréal issued a call for papers for an interdisciplinary conference on “The Canadian Confederation: Past, Present and Future,” which will be held on May 16-18, 2017. Deadline for proposals is June 1, 2016.
  7. The UCD Sutherland School of Law issued a call for papers for its Postgraduate Workshop, to be held on May 19, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. Papers are invited from postgraduate and early career researchers on topics that fall within the broad theme of “Law and Social Change.” The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 22, 2016.
  8. The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) invites early-career scholars and new faculty members to register for its 34th Workshop for New Law School Teachers, which will be held June 9-11, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
  9. The Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law invites submissions for its 4th Annual TAU Workshop for Junior Scholars in Law on “Law in a Changing Society,” which will be held on November 21-23, 2016.
  10. McGill University’s Faculty of Law and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism invite submissions for the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism. The deadline for submission of essays is September 30, 2016.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Brian Christopher Jones, Dear America: Brexit Is About Democracy, Not (Merely) Economics, The Huffington Post
  2. Giancarlo Anello, Freedom of Religion vs Islamophobia: Lombardy’s “Anti-Mosque Law” is Unconstitutional, Verfassungsblog
  3. Thorvaldur Gylfason, Iceland’s Citizen Constitution: the Window Remains Wide Open, Verfassungsblog
  4. Emmett Macfarlane, Here’s how Canada should vet its Supreme Court nominees, National Post
  5. Noah Feldman, Subverting Myanmar’s Constitution for Its Own Good, Bloomberg View
  6. George Williams and Daniel Reynolds, The First Four Years of Australia’s Parliamentary Scrutiny Regime for Human Rights, UK Constitutional Law Association
  7. Anne Marie Lofaso, Scalia’s Record on Labour Rights as Human Rights – Justice Denied, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  8. Thiago Amparo, Bureaucratising Sexual Rights in Brazil, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  9. Maartje de Visser, Recalibrating the roles of the Dutch Parliament and Dutch judges when engaging with international law?, Blog of the IACL, AIDC
  10. Webcasts of a lecture by Honorable Salim Joubran, Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, who presented at the Chapman University School of Law on “Freedom of Religion and the Role of the Supreme Court in Israel”; Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s inaugural lecture at Harvard Law School titled “On Being First: Judge Constance Baker Motley and Social Activism in the American Century”; and a moderated discussion between Adam Bodnar, Armin von Bogdandy, Christoph Grabenwarter and Renáta Uitz at the Max Planck Forum on “How to Protect European Values – Assessing European Responses to Recent Reforms in Poland“ are now accessible for viewing online.


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