Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Patrick Yingling, Reed Smith LLP

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 U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities.
  2. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the Department of Justice to turn over a memorandum detailing the legal justification for the government’s targeted killing program.
  3. The Delhi High Court held that the Indian government owes a constitutional duty to provide free medical treatment to individuals suffering from rare and chronic diseases even when the treatment is expensive and recurring.
  4. Ukraine’s Constitutional Court decided to terminate the memorandum on cooperation with the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.
  5. The Supreme Court of Canada declared that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plans to impose terms limits on senators and to create an election process for choosing nominees cannot be done by the federal government alone.

New Scholarship

  1. Ozan O. Varol, Stealth Authoritarianism, Iowa Law Review, forthcoming (offering a comprehensive cross-regional account of stealth authoritarianism, whereby authoritarians cloak repressive practices under the mask of law, imbue them with the veneer of legitimacy, and render anti-democratic practices difficult to detect and eliminate)
  2. Larry Catá Backer, The Crisis of Secular Liberalism and the Constitutional State in Comparative Perspective: Religion, Rule of Law, and Democratic Organization of Religion Privileging States, Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 48, forthcoming 2015 (considering the “return” of religion from a comparative constitutional perspective and concluding that for secular liberalism the price of preserving the privileging of the practices and autonomy of religion in a multi-religious state is the disbarring of institutional religion (though not religious values) from organized political life)
  3. Angelique Devaux, The New French Marriage in an International and Comparative Law Perspective, Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law, forthcoming (examining issues related to same-sex marriage and conflict of laws and suggesting a new approach to deal with coming questions in accordance with the international and European law)
  4. Robert A. Kahn, Does it Matter How One Opposes Hate Speech Bans? A Critical Commentary on Liberté Pour L’Histoire’s Opposition to French Memory Laws, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper, 2014 (examining Liberté pour l’Histoire, a group of French historians who led the charge against that nation’s memory laws and raised unique arguments not found elsewhere in the debate over hate speech law)
  5. Leah Fiddler, The Preamble in Constitutional Endurance: Preambular Content and Its Effect on the Lifespan of National Constitutions, Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law No. 2, April 2014 (finding that preambles referencing the constitution’s drafting process are associated with reduced constitutional lifespan, while those that reference international legal instruments are likely to last longer)
  6. Dian A.H. Shah, Constitutional Arrangements on Religion and Religious Freedom in Malaysia and Indonesia: Furthering or Inhibiting Rights?, 1 Indon. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 260 (2014) (examining the theoretical and practical aspects of the constitutionalization of religion and religious freedom in Malaysia and Indonesia).

In the News

  1. A meeting between Thailand’s Election Commission and some 60 political parties failed to reach an agreement on the date for a new election.
  2. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan made a formal complaint with the country’s constitutional court on Friday, calling secret recordings spread on social media a violation of his family’s rights.
  3. The Senate of Brazil passed a bill that puts limits on the metadata that can be collected from Internet users in the country.
  4. Lawmakers in Kosovo voted 89-22 to create an EU-backed court that will investigate crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during the 1998 war with Serbia.
  5. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law that bans abortions after 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period, or as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Vasujith Ram, Article 3, Federalism and the Silence in our Constitution: Perspectives in the Context of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization, Journal of Indian Law and Society
  2. Satang Nabaneh, Crusade to root out homosexuality like malaria, AfricLaw
  3. William Partlett, International Constitution-Making in Ukraine, JURIST
  4. Will Baude, Should President Obama (and President George H.W. Bush before him) have signed an unconstitutional law?, The Volokh Conspiracy
  5. Jacob Rowbottom, McCutcheon and the US campaign finance laws: Responsiveness to money or people?, UK Constitutional Law Association

Calls for Papers

  1. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law has issued a call for participants for a symposium on “The Constitution of Conventions / Conventional Constitutionalism,” to be held on November 15, 2014 at Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.
  2. The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies invites paper submissions for their workshop entitled: “Female Islamic Authority in Comparative Perspective: Exemplars, Institutions, Practices,” which will be held in Leiden on January 8-9, 2015.
  3. The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law and the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative at Yale University are calling for papers for their new Working Paper Series on “Public Participation and Climate Governance.”
  4. The Adam Smith Research Foundation of the University of Glasgow is seeking abstracts for a research seminar on the theme of “Latin American Constitutionalism: between Law and Politics,” to be held on July 2, 2014.
  5. The European China Law Studies Association invites papers and full panel proposals for its 9th Annual General Conference on “Making, Enforcing and Accessing the Law,” to be held on November 15-16, 2014 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.



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