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 Uganda ruled that the refund of a bride price by the woman’s parents or relatives upon a failed marriage is unconstitutional, but the practice of paying a bride price is to continue.
  2. France’s Constitutional Council upheld a law banning the construction of new cockfighting arenas.
  3. A Pennsylvania judge issued a first-of-its-kind ruling, recognizing the common law marriage of a same-sex couple through a retroactive application court decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage.
  4. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a Texas voter identification law discriminated against minorities and violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  5. The Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected all applications challenging the 18th and 21st Constitutional amendments, ruling in favor of the establishment of military courts in the country.

In the News

  1. The Indian government ordered internet service providers to allow access to the 857 previously banned pornography and humor websites, provided they did not include child pornography.
  2. Kenya’s Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) chair Charles Nyachae has accused the office of the Attorney General of delaying preparation of Constitutional Bills on the two-thirds gender rule ahead of the August 27th deadline.
  3. Zambia’s Justice Minister, Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula, deferred Constitution Amendment Bill No. 6 of 2015—which seeks to increase the number of parliamentary constituencies—after realizing that the ruling party did not have the required two-thirds majority in the House to pass the law.
  4. In the second round of talks to forge a coalition government in Turkey, the ruling and main opposition parties have agreed to draw up a new constitution, although differences of opinion on the content of the constitution persist.
  5. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contributor Khadija Ismayilova went on trial in Baku, Azerbaijan on charges of tax evasion, abuse of power, and embezzlement, which she claims is politically motivated punishment for her work exposing government corruption.

New Scholarship

  1. Martin Redish & Matthew Heins, Premodern Constitutionalism, Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 15-13, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 15-41 (2015) (asserting that the core of American constitutionalism has a tripartite theoretical foundation: the principle of skeptical optimism; the political apparatus of countermajoritarian constraint of majoritarian power structures; and the two key structural elements necessary to activate the political apparatus—an entrenched written constitution subject to formal alteration only by supermajoritarian process and a prophylactically insulated judiciary empowered to interpret it)
  2. Bradley Silverman, The Legitimacy of Comparative Constitutional Law: A Modal Evaluation, 2015 (evaluating the legitimacy of the practice of comparative constitutional law by American courts through modal lenses)
  3. Bilyana Petkova, The Safeguards of Privacy Federalism, NYU Jean Monnet Working Paper, 2015 (arguing from a comparative perspective that there is a need to optimize the advantages of federalism to achieve a degree of privacy consolidation on the federal level)
  4. Angela Huyue Zhang, The Faceless Court, 2015 (examining EU competition law by focusing on the behavior of judges and their law clerks at the Court of Justice of the European Union against the unique institutional settings in Europe)
  5. The European Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (Summer 2015) (featuring the scholarship of Jan Zglinski, Joseph Damamme, Michèle Finck, Urška Šadl, Maciej K. Borowicz, Iris H Chiu, Jaime Rodriguez Medal, and Emma Nyhan)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Society of Legal Scholars invites applications from members for the editorship of its prestigious journal, Legal Studies.
  2. Kabarak University School of Law, Boston College Law School, and the International Society of Public Law invite submissions for a two-day Symposium on Constitutional Change and Transformation in Africa, to be held on the campus of Kabarak University in Nakuru, Kenya on June 9-10, 2016.
  3. The New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty Law, Boston College Law School, and The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S) invite submissions for a two-day symposium on quasi-constitutionality and constitutional statutes, to be held on the Pipitea campus of Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law (Old Government Buildings) on Thursday & Friday, May 19-20, 2016.
  4. The Graduate School of Government and European Studies and the European Faculty of Law have issued a call for papers for the 2015 Legal Theory and Legal Philosophy Conference to be held on November 20-21, 2015 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  5. Organizers of the International Legal Ethics Conference VII have issued a call for papers and programs for the conference to be held on July 14-16, 2016 at Fordham Law School.
  6. The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) has issued a call for papers for its 60th Annual Conference—Six Decades of Comparative and International Education: Taking Stock and Looking Forward—to be held at the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver Hotel, in Vancouver, Canada on March 6-10, 2016.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Ken Opalo, Term Limits and Democratic Consolidation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Burundi, ConstitutionNet
  2. Manoj Mate, A Challenge to Judicial Independence in India: The National Judicial Appointments Council (NJAC), JURIST – Academic Commentary
  3. Shawn Marie Boyne, Snowden: Patriot, Whistleblower, or Spy? (Part I), Comparative Law Prof Blog
  4. Phillip Bump, Could Joe Biden pick Barack Obama as his running mate? Yes. But., The Washington Post
  5. Anneke Meerkotter & Graeme Reid, Africa Rulings Move LGBT Rights Forward, JURIST – Professional Commentary


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