Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Vicente F. Benítez R., JSD candidate at NYU School of Law and Constitutional Law Professor at Universidad de La Sabana

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 held that Canadian expats have the right to vote in federal elections regardless of how long they have remained abroad.
  2. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge against a Wisconsin drunk driving law that allows officers to take blood samples from an unconscious driver without a warrant.   
  3. The Indian Supreme Court ruled that Monsanto is entitled to claim patents on its genetically modified cotton seeds.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Lithuania declared that denying residence permits to foreign spouses of gay citizens who married abroad is unconstitutional.
  5. The Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the government to address the rise in the country’s population.       
  6. The Constitutional Court of Congo is hearing an appeal against the recent presidential elections, appeal that was filed by opposition candidate Martin Fayulu.
  7. The International Criminal Court acquitted former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo. However, Gbagbo will remain in ICC custody.  
  8. The Supreme Court of Uganda heard a challenge against a decision of the Ugandan Constitutional Court that upheld an amendment that removed age limits to be President.
  9. The Russian Constitutional Court upheld a law that establishes restrictions on foreign ownership of media outlets, and clarified the rights of foreigners who currently own shares in media companies.    
  10. The Constitutional Court of Romania decided that the investigation protocols signed between the General Prosecutor’s Office and intelligence services are illegal.   
  11. The Supreme Court of Mexico struck down a state law that required migrants to show their identification documents to the authorities.
  12. The Constitutional Court of Moldova held that not only mothers, but also fathers of four or more children are entitled to state-sponsored health insurance.

In the News

  1. Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly speaker, Juan Guaido, declared that the National Assembly is ready to assume executive powers in order to guarantee a smooth transition to democracy, and called for massive demonstrations against Nicolás Maduro.
  2. The Government of Brazil recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
  3. A U.S. Supreme Court spokesperson said that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recovery from her surgery is “on track”.
  4. Nicaraguan Supreme Court Judge, Rafel Solís Cerda, resigned to his post claiming that President Ortega and Vice-president Rosario Murillo were dragging the country towards a civil war.
  5. The Chief Commander of India’s army, General Bipin Rawat, maintained that gay sex and adultery won’t be tolerated in the armed forces.  
  6. The Parliament of Macedonia passed a constitutional amendment which changes the country’s official name to the Republic of North Macedonia. EU and NATO officials celebrated this amendment’s enactment.
  7. The Primer Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, called for and narrowly survived a confidence vote in Parliament after one of Syriza’s partners quit the governmental coalition due to the agreement reached between Greece and Macedonia over the latter country’s name change.        
  8. The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea, Yang Sung-tae, was summoned by state prosecutors who are investigating him for the alleged abuse of power he committed as Chief Justice.
  9. The Lower House of the Indian Parliament approved a bill that grants citizenship and residency rights only to non-Muslim undocumented immigrants, sparking protests in the northeast of the country.
  10. The President of the U.K. Supreme Court, Lady Hale, criticized the government’s austerity measures.
  11. The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, warned that if the EU withdraws from the duty-free trading access over human rights concerns, this will cause the ‘death’ of the political opposition.
  12. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, deplored a Chinese court’s decision that imposed the death penalty on a Canadian citizen accused of drug trafficking. As a response, the government of China characterized Mr. Trudeau’s remarks as “irresponsible”.
  13. In Thailand, protesters rallied against the looming postponement of the general election decreed by the military regime.   
  14. The British Parliament rejected the ‘Brexit’ plan proposed by PM Theresa May. As a consequence, a non-confidence motion was filed against her government, but it was finally defeated in Parliament.   
  15. Judge Jesse Furman, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, held that including a citizenship question in the forthcoming 2020 census is unlawful.
  16. The Government of Panama proposed a bill to the National Assembly to include an extra ballot in the May-2019 elections. Through this ballot, the Government aims to consult the people whether they agree to convoke a constituent assembly in charge of drafting a new constitution.  
  17. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, gave his assent to the recently-passed 103rd Amendment to the Constitution of India. This amendment establishes a 10% quota in government jobs and education seats for ‘economically weaker sections’ of the society.
  18. The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, signed an executive order that seeks to lift several restrictions to buy and own guns.
  19. In Hungary, opposition parties challenged before the Constitutional Court the constitutionality of the so-called ‘slave law’.    
  20. The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, pledged not to run for a new term in office and rejected any potential amendment to remove presidential term limits.
  21. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address which is scheduled for January 29, 2019.   
  22. In Sri Lanka, a new constitution draft will be presented to Parliament before 4 February 2019.  

New Scholarship

  1. Rosalind Dixon, Proportionality & Comparative Constitutional Law versus Studies, Law & Ethics of Human Rights (2018) (calling on scholars and practitioners interested in the doctrine of proportionality to engage in a greater dialogue between themselves, and inviting them to use conceptual and more empirical forms of constitutional comparison)
  2. Isaac de Paz González, The Social Rights Jurisprudence in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2018) (providing a thorough and complete examination of the Inter-American Court’s jurisprudence over its forty years of existence, within the framework of Economic and Social Rights)
  3. Catherine Valcke, Comparing Law. Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments (2018) (reconstructing comparative law scholarship into a systematic account of comparative law as an autonomous academic discipline)
  4. Yuvraj Joshi, Racial Indirection, UC Davis Law Review (2019—forthcoming) (demonstrating how racial indirection has allowed —and may continue to allow— efforts to desegregate America’s universities)
  5. Pia Letto-Vanamo & Ditlev Tamm, Nordic Legal Mind, in Pia Letto-Vanamo, Ditlev Tamm & Bent Ole Gram Mortensen (eds.), Nordic Law in European Context (2018) (discussing peculiarities of the Nordic legal systems and legal thinking)
  6. Cristina Narváez González & Katharine Valencia, Improving Human Rights in the Private Security Industry: Envisioning the Role of ICoCA in Latin America, Business and Human Rights Journal (2019) (claiming that adoption of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers –IcoC– by Latin American private security companies and states, coupled with civil society engagement, may help reduce negative human rights impacts)
  7. Amnon Lehavi, Property Law in a Globalizing World (2018) (identifying the paramount challenges that contemporary processes of globalization pose for the study and practice of property law, and offering a straightforward analysis of legal scenarios implicating cross-border property rights, covering a broad range of resources, from land, goods, and intangible financial assets to intellectual property, data, and digital assets.)
  8. Armin von Bogdandy & Davide Paris, Building Judicial Authority: A Comparison Between the Italian Constitutional Court and the German Federal Constitutional Court, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper (2019) (examining the foundations of the Italian Constitutional Court’s authority by comparing it with that of the German Federal Constitutional Court, and stressing a dynamic of “power in weakness” which explains important features of the Italian Constitutional Court)
  9. Xosé M. Núñez Seixas & Eric Storm (eds.), Regionalism and Modern Europe Identity Construction and Movements from 1890 to the Present Day (2018) (offering an overview of regionalism throughout Europe and exploring the historical roots of current regional movements)
  10. Valentina Rita Scotti, Constitutional amendments and constitutional core values: the Brazilian case in a comparative perspective, Revista de Investigações Constitucionais (2018) (focusing on the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court’s activism when reviewing the constitutionality of constitutional amendments)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Chinese University of Hong Kong calls for proposals for its forthcoming International Conference on ‘Unpacking the Complexity of Regulatory Governance in a Globalising World’, to be held on 4–6 July 2019. Interested scholars should submit their proposals by January 31, 2019.
  2. The Centre for Advanced Studies “Justitia Amplificata: Rethinking Justice – Applied and Global”, invites applications for three post-doctoral fellowships in political theory/political philosophy for the academic year 2019/2020. Applications must be submitted by March 1, 2019. 
  3. PluriCourts, the multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, calls for applicants who are interested in an up-to-three-years post-doctoral fellowship. Fellows are expected to contribute to PluriCourts’ research agenda, by studying the functioning, effects and legitimacy of international courts and tribunals. The deadline for applications is January 25, 2019.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Colombia organizes its Annual Academic Conference which this year will focus on “the Colombian Constitutional Court from a global perspective”. The event will take place on January 24-25, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia.
  5. The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History invites applications for its 2019 Summer Academy to be held on August 5-16, 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Law and Texts in Contexts’. Applications are to be submitted by 31 January 2019.
  6. The editors of ‘Law & Social Inquiry’ invite graduate and law students to participate in their annual competition for the best journal-length paper in the field of law and social science written by a graduate or law student. Interested scholars are invited to submit their articles by March 1, 2019.
  7. The Stanford Center for Law and History at Stanford Law School welcomes fellowship applications for the 2019/2020 academic year. All applications should be submitted no later than February 15, 2019.
  8. The European Society of International Law convenes its ‘2019 ESIL Annual Conference’ and invites submissions from interested scholars. This year’s Conference theme is “Sovereignty: A Concept in Flux?” Abstracts must be sent on or before January 31, 2019.
  9. The Democratic Decay Resource (DEM-DEC) released the sixth monthly update of its bibliography on democratic decay (January 2019 – available here), containing new research worldwide from December 2018; items suggested by DEM-DEC users; information on additional resources recently added to the DEM-DEC Links section; and forthcoming research. A post introducing the Update will be published on Verfassungsblog and the IACL-AIDC Blog shortly.
  10. The Department of Law of the University of Turin invites young scholars who are interested in conducting their research in Turin to apply for its three early-career fellowship grants. The deadline for applications is 11 March 2019.  
  11. The Young Researchers Office of the French Society for International Law calls for papers for its upcoming Conference on “Extraterritorialité et numérique” and “Extraterritorialité et migrations”. Proposals are due by February 15, 2019.  
  12. The Latin American Centre, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and the Oxford Transitional Justice Research Network call for papers for their joint Conference “Justice for Transnational Human Rights Violations: At the Crossroads of Litigation, Policy and Scholarship”, to be held on June 19-20, 2019. The submissions deadline is February 4, 2019.    
  13. The Graduate Law Students Association (GLSA) of McGill University’s Faculty of Law welcomes proposals for its forthcoming 2019 annual Conference “Law: Reactive or Proactive?” The Conference will take place on May 8-9, 2019 in Montreal, Canada. Proposals should be submitted by 15 February 2019.    
  14. City University of Hong Kong invites applications for Research/Postdoctoral Fellowships on Hong Kong Basic Law and Comparative Constitutional Law and Local Government. Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.  
  15. The T.M.C. Asser Instituut invites applications for a Postdoctoral researcher position in Transnational Environmental Law. The deadline to submit applications is January 30, 2019.
  16. The Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton is seeking a student for a PhD Fellowship on the theme of “Global Constitutionalism in an Era of Resurgent State Sovereignty”. The closing date to submit applications is January 24, 2019.     
  17. The Jindal International & Comparative Law Review (JICLR) invites contributions of articles ranging between 15,000 and 20,000 words, as well as shorter pieces up to 10,000 words. Footnotes should conform to the 20th edition of the Bluebook. Submissions may be sent to

Elsewhere Online

  1. Lawrence Friedman, The Importance of Being Chief Justice, Interdependent Courts
  2. Giacomo Delledonne, Rationalising political representation within the European Parliament: the Italian Constitutional Court rules on the threshold for the European elections, Verfassungsblog
  3. Sofia Collignon, When do central governments decentralise? When it benefits the party in power, Democratic Audit
  4. Tetevi Davi, A Special Declaration: Towards a Culture of Accountability in The Gambia? Justice in Conflict
  5. David R. Cameron, Parliament rejects EU withdrawal agreement, Theresa May survives no confidence vote, the Brexit saga continues, and the Article 50 clock keeps ticking, Yale MacMillan Center
  6. Shoshana Levy, Between Ordinary and Extraordinary Justice – The Contentious First Steps of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia, Justice in Conflict
  7. Alfredo Ortega Franco, Guatemala on the edge of the abyss, Al Jazeera
  8. Gautam Bhatia, Is the 103rd Amendment Unconstitutional? Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy
  9. Alvin Y.H. Cheung, The Express Rail Co-location Case: The Hong Kong Judiciary’s Retreat, Lawfare Blog
  10. Jan van Zyl Smit, After Poland’s Attempted Purge of ‘Communist-era’ Judges, Do We Need New International Standards for Post-authoritarian Countries Reforming Their Judiciary? (Part I), U.K. Const. L. Blog
  11. Mary C. Murphy, What are the Irish government’s Brexit priorities? A united Ireland is not one of them, LSE Brexit Blog


Leave a Reply

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