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 Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government does not have to relinquish its gun-registry database to Quebec.
  2. India’s Supreme Court struck down a law that gave authorities the power to jail people for offensive online posts.
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case to determine whether Miller v. Alabama—wherein the Court held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles are unconstitutional—adopts a new substantive rule that applies retroactively on collateral review.
  4. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a major challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law.
  5. A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit against an anti-Iran advocacy group, ruling the case could raise national security risks by revealing state secrets.

In the News

  1. Government officials announced that Thailand’s 20th constitution will be inaugurated by the country’s king on September 4, 2015.
  2. Legislators in South Sudan voted to extend the tenure of President Salva Kiir by three years.
  3. Italy’s highest court overturned the guilty verdict against Amanda Knox in the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
  4. Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law a religious objections bill that many citizens and business leaders have opposed amid concern it could allow discrimination against LGBT individuals.
  5. An Argentinian appeals court dismissed charges against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchnerv for conspiring to insulate Iranian officials’ from prosecution over their alleged participation in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center.
  6. China’s leadership promised reform for the country’s judicial system in light of broader efforts to improve the rule of law.

New Scholarship

  1. Wojciech Sadurski, Supranational Public Reason: Part 2: Practice, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/22 (2015) (illustrating the proposition that the legitimacy of supranational authorities is often grounded on the type of arguments provided by supranational entities, and in particular, on their appeal to “public reason” by referring to examples from the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American and West African regional human-rights courts, and the WTO)
  2. Gabor Halmai, An Illiberal Constitutional System in the Middle of Europe, in European Yearbook of Human Rights 2014 (submitting that even though external factors can be instrumental to enforce the compliance of a member state with joint European values, the reestablishment of the liberal democracy in Hungary can only be a consequence of actions taken by internal actors both on the institutional and the behavioral level)
  3. Lorenzo Zucca, A Secular Manifesto for Europe, King’s College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law (2015) (proposing that Europe should subscribe to a positive understanding of secularism that can be understood either as a political or as an ethical project)
  4. Holger Spamann, Empirical Comparative Law, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 11, 2015, Forthcoming (discussing the obstacles to causal inference from comparative data and cautioning against inappropriate use of instrumental variables and other techniques)
  5. Craig Green, In Human Hands: Constitutional Meaning and Judicial Responsibility, Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-10 (contrasting “constitutional idealism”—the notion that law should function and should thus be basically good rather than bad—and “constitutional purism”—the approach committed to orthodox methodologies of interpreting law, regardless of their consequences)
  6. Brian Christopher Jones, Preliminary Warnings on “Constitutional” Idolatry, Public Law (Forthcoming October 2015) (contending that although enacting a foundational document encompasses particular implications, attaching the word “constitution” to a foundational document enhances such consequences, leading to a more distinctive “constitutional” fetishism)
  7. Anne Peters, International Legal Scholarship Under Challenge, in International Law as a Profession (Cambridge UP 2015 Forthcoming) (concluding that the charges against international scholarship can be successfully met by a pluralist international legal scholarship)
  8. Julian Arato, Corporations as Lawmakers, Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2015 (arguing that the multinational corporation has acquired the power to create primary rules of international law, at stark cost to the state’s regulatory autonomy)
  9. Jaakko Husa, Nordic Law and Development – See No Evil, Hear No Evil?, The Scandinavian Studies in Law 60 (2015) 15-32 (arguing that one should apply a more informed and critical view on law and development and not merely copy the models provided by global actors as the IMF or the World Bank)

Elsewhere Online

  1. Mohamed Abdelaal, Reforming the Constitutional of Egypt: An Ugly Institutional Competition, Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law
  2. Tseliso Thipanyane, Human Trafficking: African Perspective, Jurist
  3. Steven Schwinn, Anti-Sharia Laws: A Solution in Search of a Problem, Jurist
  4. Clara Burbano-Herrera, It is time to take maternal mortality in Kenya seriously, AfricLaw
  5. Humphrey Polepole, Marking the new constitution for Tanzania: Challenges and Opportunities, ConstitutionNet

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Institute of Judicial Administration at the University of Birmingham has issued a call for papers for an SLSA-funded workshop titled “Appointing Judges in an Age of Diversity” to mark the 10th anniversary of the Judicial Appointments Commission.
  2. The School of Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico announced a call for submissions for its new academic journal, the Latin American Journal of International Trade Law.
  3. The Fordham Urban Law Center and the Sorbonne Center for Study and Research on Environmental, Development, Urban and Tourism Law (SERDEAUT) announced a call for participation for the 2nd Annual International & Comparative Urban Law Conference, which will be held on June 29, 2015 at the Sorbonne Law School in Paris, France.
  4. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Legal Studies and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences invited postdoctoral researchers to apply for a 10-month fellowship programme.
  5. The American Anthropological Association announced a call for papers for a conference on “B/Ordering Infrastructures: Mediating Encounters across Difference.”


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