Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

–Mauricio Guim, S.J.D. Candidate University of Virginia School of Law.

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in 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 public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of Canada imposed a 50-year embargo on public access to files related to the deliberation of the judges. The 50-year restriction starts from the day the Court issues the ruling, and applies correspondence between the judges, marks up of draft rulings, and communication through law clerks.
  2. The Supreme Court of India upheld the Reserve Bank of India’s circular ending all dealings with cryptocurrencies.
  3. In a 5-4 decision the United States Supreme Court validated the use of class and collective action waivers in arbitration agreements.
  4. The Supreme Court of India approved the Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among the southern riparian states.
  5. The United States Supreme Court affirmed expectation of privacy in rental cars.
  6. The Supreme Court of India has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party to prove that it can muster enough lawmakers to govern the southern state of Karnataka after an indecisive vote earlier this week.
  7. The United States Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional federal prohibitions on sports betting, opening the door college sports betting.
  8. The Constitutional Court of Moldova declared unconstitutional certain provisions on transportation expenses of goods included in custom value.
  9. Following an advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, the Supreme Electoral Court of Costa Rica ruled that citizens may change the name that appears in their identity card to match their gender identity.

In the News

  1. Nicolás Maduro won the presidential elections in Venezuela amid widespread disillusionment and accusations of fraud.
  2. Just two days before the presidential election, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions against Diosdado Cabello, considered the second most powerful man in Venezuela
  3. Former president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, in a recent interview for BBC, suggested that convicted former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be a “necessary presence in the reconstruction of Brazil” and “can help stabilize the country’s democratic institutions.”
  4. Three human rights and opposition activist challenge to President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnamgagwa was withdrawn from the Constitutional Court’s docket. The plaintiff claim that the signatures are forged the move is a fraud.
  5. Six lawyers in Iran filed a petition challenging ban on popular telegram app.
  6. The Trump Administration has proposed to Mexico a “safe third country” agreement that would allow the United States to reject asylum applicants and instead force them to seek protection in Mexico.
  7. Burundians approved in referendum a constitutional amendment to extend presidential term limits from five to seven years.
  8. After more than two months of political deadlock, Italy’s populist parties announced that they had agreed on a common platform and would form a government based on a budget-breaking and anti-immigration agenda.
  9. At least 21 Palestinians and Israeli peace activists were arrested in Haifa during peaceful protests against Israeli occupation in Gaza.
  10. German Afd party sues Merkel amid open-door policy towards migrants.
  11. India opposition party went to the Supreme Court for the third time in three days in a bid to thwart Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist party taking control of key southern states.
  12. The United States Supreme Court was asked by the U.S. Solicitor General to review Yakama Tribe’s gas tax exemption.
  13. Jurors will return to a Silicon Valley courtroom to put a price on patented iPhone design features copied by Samsung in a legal case dating back seven years.
  14. Changes at the Democratic Republic’s of Congo Constitutional Court could clear the way for President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term.
  15. The Consultative Committee charged with drafting a new Constitution for the Philippines has proposed the creation of three supreme courts and specialized courts.
  16. A federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the President of the United State’s habit of blocking critics on Twitter is unconstitutional. According to the judge, the president’s Twitter feed is a public forum protected by the First Amendment against view-point based discrimination.
  17. A new law in Sweden now considers sex without explicit consent –verbal or physical– as rape.
  18. The Minister of Health of Chile issued a regulation allowing medical professional to refuse to perform abortion is doing so violates the religious and moral beliefs.
  19. Saudi Arabia detains activists who pushed to end ban on women driving.

New Scholarship

  1. Jeffrey Sutton, 51 Imperfect Solutions (studying the interaction of federal and state constitutions, as well as federal and state courts, in school funding, the exclusionary rule, eugenics and mandatory flag salute).
  2. Giuseppe Martinico, Richard Albert, Antonia Baraggia & Cristina Fasone (eds), The Constitution of Canada: History, Evolution, Influence and Reform, Special issue Perspectives on Federalism, Vol. 9 issue 3/2017 (special issue to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada)
  3. Charles Barzun, Three Forms of Legal Pragmatism (presenting three forms of legal pragmatism, and suggesting that the unifying theme that unites them is the philosophical problem of justifying moral and legal values within a naturalistic, non-theological worldview).
  4. Norman Ho, Natural Law in Chinese Legal Thought: The Philosophical System of Wang Yang Ming (presenting Wang Yang Ming as a natural law theorist and suggesting that his philosophical contributions can contribute field of comparative legal theory).
  5. Guarav Mukherjee, The Supreme Court and Executive Law-Making: The Afterlife of failed Ordinances in Krishna Kumar Singh II (analyzing the legality and repercussions of re-promulgated ordinances by the Governor of Bihar).
  6. Son Ngog Bui, Anticolonial Constitutionalism: The Case of Ho Chi Minh (arguing that modern constitutionalism offers a powerful ideational and discursive weapon for colonized people to struggle against colonialism).
  7. Jennifer Reynolds, Book Review: Captured by Evil: The idea of Corruption in Law (reviewing Laura Underkuffler’s book on political and legal corruption).
  8. Murat Mungan, Optimal Preventive Law Enforcement and Stopping Standards (arguing that the optimal level of law enforcement must consider preventive benefits and inconvenience costs and suggesting that suspicionless stoppings can be optimal in a verity of circumstances such as poor performance in forming suspicions; the population is unresponsive to deterrence measures, and the attempt rate is high).
  9. Adam Perry, Strained Interpretations (using Bayes’ theorem to define strained interpretation and propose two reasons in defense of them)
  10. Andrew Coan, Amending the Law of Constitutional Interpretation (suggesting, as a thought experiment, a constitutional amendment originally mandating a nonoriginalist approach to constitutional interpretation).
  11. Brenner Fissel, Federalism and Constitutional Criminal Law (analyzing federalism as a justification for the Supreme Court’s refusal to place limits over the substance of criminal law).
  12. Mark Kende & Jenna Bishop, Two Decades of Obscenity and Free Speech Issues in Hong Kong, with a U.S. Comparative Perspective (analyzing freedom of speech issues in Hong Kong on the twentieth anniversary of its transfer from British to Chinese sorvereignty).
  13. Louis A. Weithorn, A Constitutional Jurisprudence of Children’s Vulnerability (analyzing the judicial construct of children’s vulnerability and proposing a typology of vulnerability based on harm-based vulnerability, influence-based vulnerability, capacity-based vulnerability, and dependency-based vulnerability. The article suggests a tenuous link between scientific knowledge and the courts’ characterization of children’s vulnerability).
  14. Josh Chafetz & David Pozen, How Constitutional Norms Breakdown (suggesting that constitutional norms are in perpetual flux and that it is more worrisome when norms are subtly revised than when they are openly flouted).
  15. Joseph Benjamin Landau, New-Majoritarian Constitutionalism (proposing a new category in addition to “majoritarianism” and “counter-majoritarianism” and arguing that “new majoritarian constitutionalism considers 1) the actual decisions of courts and juries; (2) legislative trends; (3) executive branch practices; and (4) geographic disparities within various jurisdictions.)
  16. Ronald Allen & Michael Pardo, Relative Plausibility and its Critics (arguing that relative plausibility prevails over other theories of proof).
  17. Erin Collins, Punishing Risk, (discussing usage of predictive analytics in sentencing and suggesting that actuarial risk assessment was not intended for use for sentencing decisions).
  18. Giacomo Delledonne, Giuseppe Martinico & Leonardo Pierdominici (eds), Il costituzionalismo canadese a 150 anni dalla confederazione. Riflessioni comparatistiche, Pisa University Press, Pisa, 2018 (reflecting on the Canadian Constitution in comparative perspective on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation)

Call for Papers and Announcements  

  1. The University of Alabama invites submissions for the Midwestern Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting. The papers can be on any topic of public law informed by economic thought. The submission deadline is June 25, 2018. Persons interested in applying should email Shahar Dillbary at
  2. “The Law” feature at Presidential Studies Quarterly is seeking submissions on topics related to executive and/or presidential interpretations of the Constitution, congressional acts, federal court cases, and international agreements.
  3. Tristin Green, University of San Francisco; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, UC Berkeley; and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis announce the Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum to be held in November 2018. Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by July 1, 2018 to Tristin Green, USF School of Law at
  4. Northern Illinois University College of Law will host a Junior Scholars Works-in-Progress conference at Loyola University School of Law on October 5, 2018. Interested scholars are expected to submit a working title and abstract of 200-300 words to LeAnn Baie ( no later than June 15, 2018.
  5. The seventh edition of the Summer Program-Jean Monnet Module on “Parliamentary democracy in Europe” is receiving application. The application deadline is on June 10th. Prospective applicants should contact Illaria Del Vecchio at
  6. Alan Greene is launching his book “Permanent States of Emergency and the Rule of Law: Constitutions in an Age of Crises.” The event will take place on May 30 at 1 P.M. at the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights at Oxford University. More information about the book and the event can be found.
  7. The University of Texas Department of Government is organizing the Fifth Annual Graduate Conference in Public Law. The Conference will take place on October 25-26 in Austin Texas. The application deadline is August 15th. Scholars interested in participating should e-mail the organizers at
  8. Verfassungs and Recht Übersee is seeking subsmissions for its special edition “Between Centralized Federalism and Regionalized Centralism: Varieties of Territorial Organization in Latin America.” The application deadline is August 1st Scholars interested in applying should contact Andreas Gutmann at
  9. The University of Bologna, University of Strasbourg, and King’s College London are organizing the Summer School for the Protection of Human Rights in Europe. The program will take place in Bertinoro on June 24 to 29. Interested persons should contact Giovanni Zaccaroni at

Elsewhere Online

  1. Diego Bastidas Chasing, Lenin’s Moreno Referendum, The Chronicle of a Political Crisis Foretold, We The People.
  2. David Fontana, Washington is a cool city. That’s terrible news for democracy, Washington Post.
  3. Cristina Regina Bonoan & Bjorn Dressel, Dismantling a liberal constitution, one institution at a time, New Mandala.
  4. Emmet Macfarlane, The Supreme Court is being unjustifiably secretive about its internal deliberations, CBC.
  5. James W. Snyder, The United States Supreme Court Paves the Way for some Great Big Ten Prop Bets, Off Tackle Empire.
  6. Nora Shelly, Land Reform Debate Needs to Shift, Sunday Times.
  7. Philip Slayton, The Supreme Court’s failure to Connect, The Globe and the Mail.
  8. Christian Davies, Hostile Takeover, How Law and Justice Captured Poland’s Courts, Freedom House.
  9. Aziz Rana, Democracy and the Left: Rana Responds to New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, Dorf On Law.
  10. Joseph Fishkin, The Rule of Law, Balkanization.
  11. Angie Chan, Understanding Malaysia’s Political Earthquake, New York Times.
  12. Chris Buckey, Chinese’s Legal Maverick, Facing Political Gales, Bides His Time, New York Times.
  13. Katrinn Bennhold, Germany Acts to Tame Facebook, Learning from its Own History of Hate.
  14. Bernard Avishai, The Fight to Define the Very Essence of Israel, The Guardian.
  15. Goodman, The Opiod Crises Compels New York to look to Canada for Answers, New York Times.
  16. Adeel Hussain, Save the Constitution!,
  17. Sanford Levinson, The Supreme Court as a running dog of the capitalist empire: Reflections on the Arbitration cases, Balkanization.


Leave a Reply

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