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. Italy’s Court of Cassation ruled that same-sex couples are not entitled to marriage rights under the country’s constitution.
  2. Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the ban on Muslim headgear in schools introduced last fall by authorities in the Republic of Mordovia.
  3. A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that the federal ban on interstate handgun sales by federal firearm dealers is unconstitutional.
  4. A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama ordered an Alabama state probate court judge to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
  5. Lawyers for Abigail Fisher filed a new petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging, for a second time, the University of Texas affirmative action program.

In the News

  1. Myanmar lawmakers stated that the country’s president has approved a law allowing a referendum on amendments to its constitution later this year.
  2. Greece’s new government, led by the left-wing Syriza party, vowed to extend legal status to same-sex couples.
  3. Human Rights Watch urged Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly to reject a proposed amendment to the Military Court Act that would allow the government to detain civilians for up to 84 days without charging them with a crime.
  4. The Pennsylvania General Assembly voted to amend the state’s constitution to change the mandatory retirement age for state court judges from 70 to 75.
  5. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty, which will remain in effect until he receives and reviews a report from the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment.

New Scholarship

  1. Michel Rosenfeld, A Comparativist Critique of U.S. Judicial Review of Fundamental Rights Cases: Exceptionalisms, Paradoxes and Contradictions, Rights-Based Constitutional Review – Constitutional Courts In A Changing Landscape (Edward Elgar Publishing, Forthcoming 2015) (placing the longstanding controversy concerning the U.S. Supreme Court adjudication of constitutional issues, and in particular those pertaining to fundamental rights, in comparative context)
  2. Malcolm M. Feeley, The Unconvincing Case Against Private Prisons, 89 Indiana Law Journal 1401 (2014) (maintaining that the state monopoly theory erroneously asserts that privatization is inconsistent with the modern state and concluding with a call for policymakers and judges to imbue their future privatization decisions with local knowledge and time-honored pragmatism)
  3. Lawrence B. Solum, The Fixation Thesis: The Role of Historical Fact in Original Meaning, Working Paper (2015) (providing a precise formulation of the fixation thesis, making the affirmative case for fixation, and answering potential objections)
  4. Alma Cohen, Alon Klement & Zvika Neeman, Judicial Decision Making: A Dynamic Reputation Approach, Journal of Legal Studies (Forthcoming 2015) (developing a theoretical model suggesting that judges who are concerned about their reputation tend to “decide against their prior” as they approach elections—that is, judges who imposed a large number of severe sentences in the past, and are thus perceived to be strict, tend to impose less severe sentences prior to elections, and judges who imposed a large number of light sentences in the past, and are perceived to be lenient, tend to impose more severe sentences prior to elections)
  5. Shai Dothan, The Optimal Use of Comparative Law, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2014) (arguing that the Condorcet Jury Theorem depends on decisions being made independently and suggesting that application of the Emerging Consensus doctrine in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), wherein the ECHR finds states in violation of the European Convention if the states do not protect rights protected by the majority of European states, would allow for the benefits of the Jury Theorem to be fully realized)

Elsewhere Online

  1. Shinichi Kitaoka, Japan: Insights into the World – Devise viable path to revise Constitution, ConstitutionNet
  2. Michael Keldsen, Denmark: The case against a constitution – The View from Copenhagen, ConstitutionNet
  3. Mohammad Shahnewaz, How biometric identification can help the judicial management system, AfricLaw
  4. Lissa Griffin, Hearsay: The ECHR, the UK Supreme Court, and the US Supreme Court, Comparative Law Prof Blog
  5. Chris Jenks, UN Report on the Central African Republic: Is the Glass Reflecting the International Community’s Efforts Half-Empty or Half-Full?, JURIST

Calls for Papers

  1. ICON-S has issued the call for papers and panels for its 2015 Conference, scheduled for July 1-3, 2015, in New York City.
  2. The AALS Sections on Comparative Law, and on Defamation and Privacy has issued a call for papers and proposals for a joint program at the 2016 Annual Meeting, held on January 6-9, 2016.
  3. The Transnational Law & Social Justice Project has issued a call for papers for its event to be hosted at the London School of Economics on June 26-27, 2015 on the methodological challenges raised by the study of transnational law.
  4. The University of East Anglia has issued a call for abstracts for the 2015 British Association of Comparative Law Postgraduate Workshop on Comparative Law to be held on April 28-29, 2015.
  5. Editors of Oriente Moderno have issued a call for papers for a special issue on the topic of Islamic Law and Minorities: Past and Present.
  6. The Fordham University School of Law Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics has issued a call for papers for its 2016 International Legal Ethics Conference VII – The Ethics & Regulation of Lawyers Worldwide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives to be held on July 14-16, 2016.


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