Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

–Margaret Lan Xiao, Visiting Scholar, East Asian Legal Studies Center, UW-Madison Law School EALSC

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. In the Czech Republic, the Constitutional Court rules that the fees charged by banks for managing loan and mortgage accounts are legal.
  2. The Indian Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as an official third gender.
  3. The South African Constitutional Court orders the country’s Social Security Agency to initiate a new tender process for the payment of social welfare grants.
  4. Some of the judges who served on Ukraine’s Constitutional Court may face investigations launched by the prosecutor-general based on their ties to former president Yanukovych.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Slovakia rules that the personal rights of former gangster Volodymyr Yegorov were violated during previous judicial proceedings.

In the News

  1. China will amend its Environmental Protection Law to further prioritize environmental preservation over economic development.
  2. In Germany, more than 100 criminal law professors signed a petition asking for the legalization of marijuana in the foreseeable future.
  3. The European Union has passed a series of rules in order to build up a “banking union” system across Europe.
  4. In Turkey, the parliament has passed a bill to empower and strengthen the legal capability of its National Intelligence Organization.
  5. In New Zealand, a series of proposals striving for an efficient and effective anti-corruption legal framework will be put forward before the Cabinet very soon.
  6. In Egypt, the interim government is planning to adopt several new counter-terrorism laws which might make the usage of death penalty more common.
  7. In Vietnam, it is highly possible that the National Assembly will cancel the previous ban on gay marriage and acknowledge the existence of gay couples under the law in May.

New Scholarship

  1. Adrian Vermeule, Optimal Abuse of Power (Northwestern University Law Review, forthcoming) (arguing that we should treat the abuse of governmental power within the context of an administrative state not as a total evil, but rather as something waiting to be “optimized,” in order to attain other desirable ends)
  2. Randy E. Barnett, We the People: Each and Every One (Yale Law Journal, forthcoming 2014) (critiquing Bruce Ackerman’s book series We the People for its excessive reliance on the constitutional claim of collectivity or supermajority and also arguing that Ackerman’s conceptual framework of an informal process of constitutional amendment might not be thoroughly sound)
  3. Stanley L. Paulson, How Merkl’s Stufenbaulehre Informs Kelsen’s Concept of Law (Revus – Journal for Constitutional Theory and Philosophy of Law, Vol. 21, 2013) (arguing that both the process of law-making and coercion should be viewed as an integrated single concept of law within Kelsenian theory and concluding that Merkl’s Stufenbaulehre is very helpful as genuine guidance for the relevant analysis and reasoning)
  4. Suja A. Thomas, Blackstone’s Curse: The Fall of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries and the Rise of the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the States (William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 55, 2014) (telling a new story about how the original substance of a jury’s power under the Constitution has gradually, continually, and most importantly, irrevocably been shifted into other parts of government)
  5. Friedrich Kratochwil, The Status of Law in World Society (Cambridge University Press, April, 2014) (endorsing the analytical edge and prevalence of constructivism and pragmatism over legal positivism in understanding the role played by law in the international arena)
  6. Drew F. Cohen, A Constitution at a Crossroads: A Conversation with the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights, Vol. 12, 2014) (presenting an interview of South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng wherein the Chief Justice talks about how to narrow the gap between transformative constitutionalism and unsatisfactory social realities.)
  7. Mark Tushnet, Advanced Introduction To Comparative Constitutional Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014) (introducing a variety of key issues about constitutional design and structure such as constitution-making, constitutional review, and the new so-called “transparency” branch in constitutions all over the world)

Call for Papers

  1. The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism announces a call for papers for its Tax Justice and Human Rights Research Collaboration Symposium, which will be held at the McGill Faculty of Law on June 18-20, 2014.
  2. The Poverty Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) announces a call for papers for the session of “working but poor: understanding and confronting the working poor phenomenon” during the upcoming AALS annual meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C., January 2-5, 2015.
  3. The University of Richmond School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law issue a call for papers for the Second Annual Workshop for Corporate & Securities Litigation, which will be held in Richmond, Virginia, October 24-25, 2014.
  4. The Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth issues a call for papers for the Seventh Annual Searle Conference on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy, which will be held at Northwestern University School of Law, September 19-20, 2014.
  5. The University of Bristol Law School issues a call for papers for the Seventh Annual Legal Research Network Conference, which will take place on September 3-4, 2014.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. Will Baude, Judges weigh in on credibility findings for law enforcement, The Washington Post
  2. Ilya Somin, Speed limits, immigration, and the duty to obey the law, The Washington Post
  3. Jacob Gershman, Scalia to Student: If Taxes Get Too High, “Perhaps You Should Revolt,” The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
  4. Jess Bravin, Chief Justice Roberts Refuses to Block Ruling Canceling Teva Patent, The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
  5. David M. Herszenhorn, What is Putin’s “New Russia”?, The New York Times
  6. Adam Tyner, Can China’s New Urbanization Plan Work?, The Diplomat
  7. Alison Griswold, Why People Are Freaking Out Over General Mills’ New Legal Policy, Slate


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