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 Constitutional Court struck down a law that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating, or possessing marijuana.
2. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution secures a right to carry a firearm in some manner outside the home.
3. Thailand’s Constitutional Court denied an opposition party’s petition to annul the results of the country’s recent general elections.
4. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that it had jurisdiction over a request to stop the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay detainees on a hunger strike, but that the detainees failed to establish their entitlement to relief.
5. A federal district court judge struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, concluding that it denied gay couples a fundamental freedom to marry.
6. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that North Carolina’s decision to issue “Choose Life” license plates while refusing to issue pro-choice license plates constitutes viewpoint discrimination at odds with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

New Scholarship
1. Tom Ginsburg, Pier Giuseppe Monateri & Francesco Parisi, Classics in Comparative Law: An Introduction, Edward Elgar (forthcoming 2014) (summarizing themes in the collection, with special attention to how legal systems develop, how we understand variation, and why we should care).
2. Jürgen Basedow, Comparative Law and its Clients, 62 Am. J. of Comp. L. __ (forthcoming 2014) (concluding that research in comparative law is conducted with a view to expectations of “clients” from outside the discipline, and that comparative law research serves a variety of objectives that are defined by the clients of comparative law).
3. David Kinley, A New Human Right to Freedom from Corruption, Sydney Law School Research Paper (February 2014) (suggesting that there ought to be a specific, free-standing human right to freedom from corruption at the level of international law).
4. Louis Michael Seidman, Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery and Preliminary Evaluation, Georgetown Law Center Research Paper (2014) (arguing that a dose of constitutional skepticism, which is based on doubts about whether moral and political disagreement can be bridged by a legal text, might mitigate some current political dysfunction)
5. Sergey Vasiliev, Usages and Limitations of Comparative Law and the Methodology of International Criminal Procedure, Revista Eletrônica de Direito Penal (2014) (arguing that comparative law may be appropriately employed within the context of international criminal procedure if it is not used as a source of normative guidance)

In the News
1. Georgetown University Law Center has become the new host of the American Journal of Comparative Law, in partnership with the McGill University Faculty of Law and the American Society of Comparative Law.
2. A Spanish bill to end women’s right to an abortion on demand survived an opposition challenge.
3. The Mississippi House of Representatives approved a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
4. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda informed members of his party that he would sign a bill imposing harsh sentences for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment in some cases.
5. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced a decree banning gay couples or single people from countries that allow same-sex marriage from adopting Russian children.
6. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington issued a moratorium on the death penalty.
7. The Belgian Parliament is expected to pass a law extending the right to die to terminally ill children.

Elsewhere on Blogs
1. Eugene Kontorovich, What Belgium’s child euthanasia law means for America and the Constitution, The Volokh Conspiracy
2. Kevin Jon Heller, Eugene Kontorovich’s Problematic Attack on Roper v. Simmons, Opinio Juris
3. Richard Ekins, A modest proposal: prudence, proportionality and (forced) prostitution, UK Constitutional Law Association
4. Kevin Cope, South Sudan’s Constitutional Bait-and-Switch, Jurist – Forum
5. Stephanie Toti, Examining the Constitutionality of Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones, Jurist – Hotline

Calls for Papers
1. The Bulgarian Comparative Education Society invites proposals for the 2ndAnnual International Symposium on Comparative Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria.
2. Organizers have issued a call for papers for the Juris Diversitas Annual Conference at Aix-Marseille University in France.
3. The American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association invite proposals for the International Law Weekend 2014 at Fordham Law School.
4. “Glocalism,” a peer-reviewed, open-access, and cross-disciplinary journal, is currently accepting manuscripts for publication.


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