Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

–Margaret Lan Xiao, Washington University in St. Louis

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 Germany, the Constitutional Court struck down the headscarf ban for teachers.
  2. The Italian government referred a local Anti-Mosque Law to the Constitutional Court.
  3. Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the data retention provisions of the Electronic Communications Act.
  4. In South Africa, the Constitutional Court heard an application for confirmation of a previous high court ruling on the constitutionality of the Eastern Cape Liquor Act.
  5. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the judge-made requirement that an agency use the notice-and-comment process before it can significantly revise an interpretive rule is contrary to the text of the Administrative Procedure Act.

New Scholarship

  1. Joshua C. Gellers, Explaining the Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights: A Global Quantitative Analysis, 6(1) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 75 (2015) (finding that the global expansion of constitutional environmental rights is significantly associated with a country’s international civil society influence, human rights legacy, and level of democracy, and best explained by theories of domestic politics and norm socialization)
  2. Ronald J. Allen, The Perils of Comparative Law Research, working paper (critiquing Michele Taruffo’s assertive belief in the comparative effectiveness of the European legal systems, and arguing that the American adversarial system actually functions well in terms of pursuing accuracy in adjudication)
  3. David L. Sloss, How International Human Rights Transformed the U.S. Constitution, Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 415 (arguing that U.S. anti-discrimination law is intrinsically an outgrowth of the creation of modern international human rights law and pointing out that the anti-discrimination norm did not become a part of the “living” Constitution in U.S. until the Fourteenth Amendment was subjected to the “magnetic pull” of international human rights law such as the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
  4. Colleen Sheppard, ‘Bread and Roses’: Economic Justice and Constitutional Rights, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2015 (examining issues of economic injustice and social exclusion via the lens of constitutional rights and exploring three different dimensions of the critical nexus between constitutionalism and economic justice)
  5. Ernest A. Young, The Volk of New Jersey? State Identity, Distinctiveness, and Political Culture in the American Federal System, working paper (assessing the question of whether contemporary American states are actually differentiated from one another and whether contemporary Americans identify with their states and claiming that reports of the death of state identity, as a unique legal scholarship, are significantly exaggerated)
  6. Adam S. Chilton and Eric A. Posner, The Influence of History on States’ Compliance with Human Rights Obligations, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 513 (rediscovering the influence that geographic factors and historical events may have on human rights performance and claiming that the respect for human rights today may be related to the institutions, events, and conditions from the distant past)
  7. Alison L. LaCroix, Continuity in Secession: The Case of the Confederate Constitution, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 512 (claiming that in both structure and theory, the Confederate Constitution displayed a surprising continuity with the U.S. constitutional regime, given the fact that Confederate statesmen maintained that their new-modeled constitution of 1861 was a seamless “continuation” of the Constitution of 1789)
  8. Marco Dani, The Subjectification of the Citizen in European Public Law, EUI Department of Law Research Paper No. LAW 2015/02 (investigating the condition of the individual qua citizen as shaped and recognised by national constitutional democracies and supranational European public law and introducing the key idea of “subjectification”)
  9. Yaniv Roznai, Unamendability and the Genetic Code of the Constitution, working paper (examining the phenomenon of unamendable provisions and studying the text of unamendable provisions which were and are stipulated in 735 former and current written national constitutions)
  10. Luke Beck, The Establishment Clause of the Australian Constitution: Three Propositions and a Case Study, Adelaide Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2014, pp. 225-250 (arguing that the reasoning in Attorney-General (Vic) ex rel Black v Commonwealth is too narrow and requires reconsideration)
  11. Craig Green, In Human Hands: Constitutional Meaning and Judicial Responsibility, working paper (analyzing the fact that historical disputes over constitutional law usually tend to hang on somewhere between the two poles—“constitutional idealism” and “constitutional purism”—and arguing that a legal order’s balance between those poles is the result of historical and current dynamics)
  12. Antoni Abat Ninet, Improving Constitutional Crowdsourcing to Reconcile the Demos with the Politeia., working paper (elaborating on how revolutionary and innovative the constitutional crowdsourcing experience was and arguing that constitutional crowdsourcing is actually a way to intervene in the “semantic indeterminacy” problem within the democratic societies and to successfully mediate between the demos and the politeia)
  13. Jean-Sylvestre Berge et al (ed.), Boundaries of European Private International Law, Bruylant, 2015 (including academic theses on various aspects ofEuropean Private International Law)

In the News

  1. The Slovak Parliament approved a new law on vocational education.
  2. In China, Senior Communist Party chief in Yunnan, Qiu He, is under investigation for corruption.
  3. China is currently revising its Legislation Law.
  4. The UK Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) issued a landmark report claiming that UK surveillance laws need total overhaul.
  5. The Venezuelan Parliament passed a law to protect its sovereignty and “confront U.S. aggression.”
  6. Britain’s Parliament approved legislation to ban branding on cigarette packs.
  7. Ireland’s Court of Appeal struck down part of a near 40-year old law and ruled that the law controlling the use of several drugs including ecstasy was unconstitutional.

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (CJICL) issued a call for papers for its 4th annual conference to be held on May 8 and 9 2015 at the University of Cambridge.
  2. The University of Zagreb Faculty of Law and the Croatian Academy of Legal Sciences issued a call for papers for the 1st International Transport and Insurance Law Conference to be held on October 15 and 16, 2015.
  3. University of Trento issued a call for papers for a conference of “Comparing Patterns of Territorial Division of Governmental Power” to be held on July 9th and 10th 2015.
  4. Vermont Law School issued a call for abstracts for the Sixth Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship to be held on October 3, 2015.

Elsewhere on Blogs

  1. Natalie Andrews and Michael R. Crittenden, What Is the Logan Act?, The Wall Street Journal
  2. Maarten Van Tartwijk, Dutch Court Strikes Down Country’s Data Retention Law, The Wall Street Journal
  3. Swati Jhaveri, Substantive Legitimate Expectation in Singapore, Singapore Public Law
  4. Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, Protecting Human Rights: The Approach of the Singapore Courts, Singapore Public Law
  5. Tatiana Schlossberg, Should a Cat-Kicker Go to Jail? Readers Respond, The New York Times
  6. Robert Barnes, Supreme Court says Amtrak is more like a public entity than a private firm, The Washington Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *