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. The German Court concludes that the European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme might contradict the essential principles of the German Constitution. The Court simultaneously refers the ECB’s bond-buying to Europe’s top court. Some commentators claim that the decision actually “changes nothing”.
2. In Taiwan, the President of the Judicial Yuan Hau-Min Rai proclaims that he will focus on the continual promotion of jurisdictional reformation, especially on launching the internal campaign of  anti-corruption and enhancing the judicial transparency.
3. In Indonesia, the Constitutional Court issues a ruling favoring the long-term protection of a pre-modern forest tribe by granting them some extent of autonomy to manage their own forest.
4. In Bulgaria, the Constitutional Court repeals tax law amendments passed by the Legislature in 2012, concluding the amendments failed to legislate the subject matter “in a clear-cut and non-contradictory fashion.”

New Scholarship
1. Or Bassok, The Supreme Court’s New Source of Legitimacy, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law (2013) (suggesting that the invention and dissemination of the method scientific public opinion polls has significantly influenced the Court’s approach and legitimacy)
2. Adrian Vermeule, The Constitution of Risk (Cambridge University Press, December 2013) (claiming that the best way to manage political risks is an approach of “optimizing constitutionalism,” and arguing that “constitutional rulemaking is best understood as a means of managing political risks”)
3. Keith E. Whittington, The Least Activist Supreme Court in History? The Roberts Court and the Exercise of Judicial Review, Notre Dame Law Review (2014) (demonstrating that the Roberts Court can be called the least activist Supreme Court in history, largely due to its “unusual restraint in the exercise of judicial review”)
4. Angela Huyue Zhang, Bureaucratic Politics and China’s anti-monopoly Law, Cornell International Law Journal (forthcoming 2014) (arguing that China’s antitrust enforcement outcome “is largely the result of struggle among government agencies advancing policies that serve particularistic interests”)
5. Steven G. Calabresi and Jasmine Owens, The Origins of Judicial Review, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper (arguing that judicial review “usually emerges in response to a nation’s need for an umpire to resolve federalism or separation of powers boundary line disputes”)
6. Jose Antonia Cheibub, Zachary Elkins and Tom Ginsburg, Beyond Presidentialism and Parliamentarism, British Journal of Political Science (2013) (concluding that if one wanted to predict and analyze the powers of the executive and legislature, the questions where and when the constitution was written is more important than “whether it was presidential or parliamentary”)

In the News
1. Japan plans to introduce new legislation to crack down on the social problem of revenge porn.
2. The Russian President has signed legislation that will merge Russia’s two top courts into one “super court.”
3. In Brazil, the tighter anti-corruption legislation has been implemented.
4. In Canada, Bill C-24, along with some other reforms, might lengthen the application process for citizenship.
5. In Saudi Arabia, a new counterterrorism law has been passed, and some commentators worry about its consequences for human rights.

Elsewhere on Blogs
1. Donald Clarke, China’s GDP: services are largest sector for the first time in the modern era, Chinese Law Prof Blog
2. Bertrand Benoit, ECB Bond Buying: The German Court’s message to Berlin, The Wall Street Journal Blog
3. Elizabeth Olson, Brisk Business in Big Law Firms Hiring Other Firms’ Partners, Study Finds, The New York Times Blog
4. Mary Williams Walsh, Puerto Rico’s Second Cut to Junk Debt, The New York Times Blog

Calls for Papers
1. SUNY Buffalo law school has issued a call for papers for its conference on Vulnerability, Resilience and Public Responsibility for Social and Economic Justice, which will be held on June 13-14, 2014.
2. Organizers invite proposals for the Fourth Biennial Conference of Teaching Transactional Law and Skills, which will be held on June 6-7, 2014, Emory University School of Law.
3. University of Hong Kong’s Legal Scholarship Workshop has issued a call for papers for its 2014 meeting, which will be held on June 2, 2014.
4. Cornell University Law School’s 10th Annual Inter-University Graduate Conference has issued a call for papers, and the conference will be held on April 11-12, 2014.
5. The Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen has issued a call for papers for the 15th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law (IRSL 2014)


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