Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

–Mauricio Guim, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

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 Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a religion and would not be afforded the same rights as Christian churches.
  2. The Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted a woman isolated in death row for eight years after an accusation of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. The Court upheld the Pakistani law that punished blasphemy by death, but said that there was not enough evidence to convict the accused woman.
  3. The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that poker is a game of skill rather than luck, opening the door for the legalization of poker tournaments in Israel.
  4. The Supreme Court of Israel rejected the appeal presented by Palestinian writer Susan Albuhawa after she was banned from participating in the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival in East Jerusalem.
  5. The Constitutional Court of South Africa decided a landmark case in favor of women’s right to equality and land ownership. The Court’s ruling declared unconstitutional the apartheid-era law. Upgrading the Land of Tenure Rights, which recognized only men as the head of the family and as legal landowners.
  6. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that mining companies cannot communities from their land without their consent, or without compensating them for their lands, even if the mining companies have mining rights over that property.
  7. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld a U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit decision that favored the 2015 net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama Administration.
  8. The Supreme Court of Israel rejected a challenge to a police decision to limit the use of metal detectors at the entrance of Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslim visitors.

In the News

  1. The President elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, affirmed that he would not interfere with the Supreme Court’s decision to end the cannabis prohibition in Mexico.
  2. Mexico’s next interior minister plans to submit a bill to Congress to create a medical marihuana industry and allow recreational use.
  3. The Trump administration is seeking the Supreme Court endorsement to kill the “Dreamers” program, which protects about 2 million of undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children.
  4. The federal judge who convicted former president of Brazil Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva agreed to take a cabinet position in the new government of President Jair Bolsonaro.
  5. Poland’s populist party, the Law and Justice party, suffered a sweeping defeat in municipal elections, but won most seats in provincial assemblies, confirming that Poland is ever more deeply divided between its liberal cities and conservative countryside.
  6. President of Turkey Recepp Tayyip Erdogan is keeping the case of Jamal Khashoggi alive through a steady drip of new leaks.
  7. A 94-year-old man who served as a guard in Germany’s Stuthof concentration camp will be tried of charges of charges of assisting in the murder of hundreds of Jewish, Polish and Russian prisoners who perished there. Because the man was under the age of 21 when the events took place, he will be tried before a juvenile court.
  8. One of the founding members of Philippine’s lawyers group at the forefront of opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s lethal war on drugs, Benjamin Ramos, was killed by three bullets as he was leaving his office for the night. Ramos is the 34th lawyer killed since Duterte became president two years ago.
  9. Hollywood actor Geoffrey Rush is suing the Australian tabloid, The Daily Telegraph, over a two front-page article accussing Rush of sexually harassing a young actress during a production in Sydney of King Lear. The case has become a moment of reckoning for both the Australian entertaining industry and the #MeToo movement.
  10. A report by the NGO Business for Social Responsibility concluded that Facebook failed to prevent its platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence in Myanmar.
  11. According to statistics published by the Japanese government, suicides by young people in Japan rose to their highest levels in three decades in 2017.
  12. Since 2014, China has increased its used to internment camps to indoctrinate Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority living in China, in the principles and values of the Communist Party. Inside the camp, Uighur Muslims are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party, and write self-criticisms essays. In addition to mass detentions, Chinese authorities have expanded the use of informers and expanded police surveillance, installing cameras even inside people’s houses. Uighur minorities are interned in these camps without any due process and not knowing when will be released. China denies these allegations.
  13. The Britain’s information Commissioners Office released a report concluding that the defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica violated British Law when it improperly harvested Facebook data to aid Donald J. Trump 2016 presidential campaign and would face a significant fine if it were not already in bankruptcy. The same report concludes that an insurance company owned by Arron Banks, the main backer of Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union, broke British law when it used costumer data to aid the Brexit effort.
  14. Italy approved a new law that significantly loosens gun restriction in that country. The law makes it possible to own assault rifles such as the AR-15, recently used in kill 11 people in a Synagogue in Pennsylvania.
  15. Iran responded to the Trump’s administration sanction saying that it would not bend to “ the language of force, pressure and threats” and vowed to break the sanctions.
  16. A Belgian court ordered former King Albert II of Belgium to submit a DNA test to determine whether he is Delphine Böe’s biological father, marking the first time a former king is brought to justice in Belgian history.
  17. A Shiite cleric who was central in Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protests, Sheikh Ali Salman, was sentenced to life in prison. The NGO Amnesty International considers the Sentencia a “travesty of justice” that demonstrates Bahrain’s relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form on dissent.
  18. The lawyer for a Christian woman accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad fled Pakistan after acquitted the woman of the blasphemy charges. The Court upheld the blasphemy law, but said there was not enough evidence to convict the accused. Mr. Malook, the lawyer of the accused, left Pakistan after a group of hard-liners threatened to kill him and the judges who acquitted the accused.

New Scholarship

  1. Deborah Hellman, The Epistemic Commitments of Nondiscrimination (presenting epistemic commitments behind the commitment to nondiscrimination, and analyzing the potential conflict between moral consideration and epistemic norms).
  2. Martin Brenncke, Judicial Law-Making in English and German Courts (2018) (analyzing the “extent of judicial power” in English and German legal systems from a comparative, constitutional and methodological perspectives).
  3. Faisal Kutty, Blasphemy and Apostasy “Laws” in the Muslim World: A Critical Analysis (2018) (analyzing Pakistani and Malaysian cases applying blasphemy and apostasy laws, and arguing that these laws are untenable in the modern world).
  4. Massimo Brutti & Alessandro Somma (eds.), Diritto: Storia e Comparazione (2018) (criticizing the recent tendency to present law as a depoliticized phenomenon, and proposing the study of legal rules in its space-time coordinates).
  5. Brian Christopher Jones, Dissonant Constitutionalism and Lady Hale (2018) (analysing the public role of judges and arguing that Justice Hale’s extra-judicial speeches display elements of cognitive dissonance in relation to the UK’s constitutional principles).
  6. Morwan Mausher, The Next Arab Uprising: The Collapse of Authoritarianism in the Middle East (2018).
  7. Graham Butler, In Search of a Political Question Doctrine in EU Law (2018) (arguing that there are traces of a political question doctrine in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice).
  8. Ryan Calo, Privacy Law’s Indeterminacy (2018) (analyzing privacy laws from the perspective of American Legal Realism).

Call for Papers and Announcements  

  1. Boston College Law School, with support from the Institute for Liberal Arts Submissions, invites faculty and graduate students to participate in a two-day conference on “Amending America’s Unwritten Constitution,” a timely subject of importance in history, law and politics. Interested scholars should email a CV and abstract no longer than 750 words by November 15, 2018 to on the understanding that the abstract will form the basis of the pre-conference draft to be submitted by April 15, 2019.
  2. The University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Bologna School of Law, and the John Hopkins Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development will be hosting a conference titled “Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives” on April 29 and 30 in Chicago Illinois. Paper proposals received by December 15, 2018 will receive priority. More information can be found here.
  3. The Asian Law Institute and the National University of Singapore will be hosting the first Asian Law Junior Faculty Workshop on June 13, 2019. Deadline for submitting abstracts is November 12, 2018. More information about the conference can be found here.
  4. Paper proposals are solicited for the Fourth Illinois-Bologna conference on Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives, to be held in Chicago on April 29 & 30, 2019.
  5. The ASLI has issued a call for Papers for the 16th ASLI Conference on “The Rule of Law and the Role of Law in Asia,” to be held on June 11-12, 2019 in Singapore. The deadline for submitting abstracts is December 3, 2018.
  6. The North-West University has issued a call for papers for the conference “Law, Roots and Space” to be held in Potchefstroom, SA on April 15-17, 2019. Proposals should be sent by November 30, 2018.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Richard Goldstone & Paul Hoffman, It is Time for an International Anti-Corruption Court, The Daily Maverick.
  2. Jelena Gligorijevic, Breaching Injunctions in Parliament, UK Constitutional Law.
  3. Kathryn Kovacs, Getting Agencies Back into the Game, The Regulatory Review.
  4. Stefanie Ramirez, Disinformation and the Threat to Democracy, The Regulatory Review.
  5. Adeel Hussain, Murder in the Name of Allah: Asia Bibi and Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law, Verfassungsblog.
  6. Marin K. Levy, Construing Precedent, Courts Law Jotwell.
  7. Jack Balkin, Content Moderation, The Press and the First Amendment, Balkinization.
  8. Jenny Gesley, Bosnia and Herzegovina–When the Constitution, Laws, and Political Participation of Minorities Clash, Foreign Affairs.
  9. Andrew Koppelman, How could Religious Liberty be a Human Right, Balkinization.


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