Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

–Nausica Palazzo, Ph.D. Researcher in Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Trento

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 US Supreme Court incorporated through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. 
  2. The German Constitutional Court has held that the disenfranchisement of persons placed under full guardianship and of criminal offenders confined in a psychiatric hospital is unconstitutional.
  3. The Supreme Court of India directed states to take “prompt” action to prevent incidents against Kashmiris, after the recent terror attacks.
  4. A 16-state coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, made in an effort to fund the border wall between the US and Mexico.
  5. Alaska’s Supreme Court halted the 2013 regulations limiting Medicaid coverage of abortion services.
  6. Minority parties in Lithuania challenged the constitutionality of the Law on the Referendum and, consequently, of the referendum that would reduce the size of the Parliament.
  7. In declaring inadmissible an appeal against Turkey, the ECHR declared that it has no jurisdiction to consider whether a construction project could undermine a cultural heritage.
  8. The Supreme Court of India agreed to review its verdict in the controversial Rafale deal case, which gave the greenlight to the government jets deal with France.
  9. The South Africa’s Constitutional Court modified the test that municipalities should apply to decide on building applications.
  10. The High Court of Kenya postponed until May the decision on decriminalizing homosexual conduct.

In the News

  1. Brazilian president proposes a constitutional amendment to reform the costly pension system.
  2. Nigeria orders foreign oil and gas companies to pay over 20 billion in back taxes and royalties.
  3. According to a UK legislative report, Facebook massively violated UK data privacy and competition laws.
  4. A Turkish court of appeals upheld the convictions for terrorism of 19 opposition journalists.
  5. Amnesty International filed an amnesty appeal in favor of Cameroon’s opposition leader and supporters facing death penalty over rebellion charges for a peaceful protest.
  6. The Croatian Parliament decided not to hold two nation-wide referenda on withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention and on amending the electoral law.
  7. The South African government challenged the rules forcing Olympic athletes to lower testosterone levels, as specifically targeting Olympic campion Semenya. 
  8. The former President of Maldives was brought into custody over bribery allegations.

New Scholarship

  1. Rehan Abeyratne, More Structure, More Deference: Proportionality in Hong Kong, in Po Jen Yap & Mark Tushnet (Eds.), Proportionality in Asia (forthcoming, 2019) (exploring the ways the proportionality test is applied in Hong Kong’s constitutional jurisprudence, and arguing that, while increasingly articulated, the test has gradually become more deferential to governmental authority and expertise).
  2. Or Bassok, The Schmitelsen Court: The Question of Legitimacy, German Law Journal (forthcoming, 2019) (arguing that several courts worldwide are fulfilling Kelsen’s vision of a court as the guardian of the constitution yet possessing the mission, the means to achieve it, and the source of legitimacy that Schmitt envisioned for the president as the guardian of the constitution. Hence, these courts are Schmit-elesen courts).
  3. Laure Clément-Wilz (Ed.), The Political Role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (in French) (Bruylant, 2019) (analyzing the political choices made by and the political role of the Court of Justice of the European Union).
  4. Tom Gerald Daly, Democratic Decay: Conceptualising an Emerging Research Field, Hague Journal on the Rule of Law (arguing that conceiving of the scattered cross-disciplinary literature on the deterioration of democracy as a research field and providing an account of recent conceptual development can help to map a rapidly developing landscape, maximise the analytical utility of key concepts, identify resonances and duplication among concepts and across discrete literatures, and can help to ensure that this emerging quasi-field develops in a more coherent and rigorous manner)
  5. Stephen Gardbaum, Pushing the Boundaries: Judicial Review of Legislative Procedures in South Africa, in Constitutional Court Review IX (forthcoming, 2019) (analyzing the current comparative outer boundary of the practice of judicial review of legislative processes, in South Africa, and presenting a defense of it that suggests the need for a friendly amendment to Ely-style political process theory).
  6. Ming-Sung Kuo, Between Choice and Tradition: Rethinking Remedial Grace Periods and Unconstitutionality Management in a Comparative Light, 36 UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal (forthcoming, no. 2, 2019) (comparing the use of remedial grace periods in constitutional review under the Civil Law and Common Law models, and offering the case study of Taiwan to argue that both the role of the judiciary and legal tradition contribute to shaping the doctrine of remedial grace periods).
  7. Bilyana Petkova, Privacy as Europe’s First Amendment, 25 European Law Journal (forthcoming, no. 2, 2019) (arguing that Europe is experiencing privacy-as-constitutional identity, in a similar way as the U.S. did with freedom of speech).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. Submissions are invited from comparative law scholars around the world for a works-in-progress roundtable on all subjects of comparative law to be held at the University of Texas at Austin on May 21, 2019. Preference will be given to early-career scholars as well scholars working on book projects.
  2. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law (YCC) invites submissions for the Phanor J. Eder LL.B./J.D. Prize in Comparative Law, open to students currently enrolled in a J.D. or LL.B. program. The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2019.
  3. The Chicago-Kent College of Law is now accepting entries for the Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize, aimed at honoring scholarship that addresses the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary US. Entries are accepted through July 1, 2019.
  4. The Supreme Court Economic Review (SCER) solicits paper submissions for a Roundtable on the Economics of Criminal Procedure, Punishment, and Their Consequences, to be held at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, on March 26-27, 2020. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2019.
  5. The University of Kent invites applications for the Kent Summer School in Critical Theory, which will be held July 1-12 at the Paris Centre of the University of Kent, in Paris France. Applications are due by March 3, 2019.
  6. University of Leipzig invites applications for the Summer School “Human Rights in Theory and Practice”, to be held on 1-7 September 2019 in Leipzig. The deadline for early bird registration is March 31, 2019.
  7. The European Policy for Intellectual Property association (EPIP) announces its 14th Annual Conference on “The Future of IP”, to be held in Zurich, Switzerland, on September 11-13, 2019. The submission deadline is April 7, 2019.
  8. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is seeking to appoint a Brexit Research Fellow to investigate the legal implications of Brexit. The application deadline is March 3, 2019.
  9. The University of Leeds – School of Sociology & Social Policy has opened three positions for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researchers (PhD positions) in Disability Advocacy Research. The deadline to apply is March 14, 2019.
  10. The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya issued a call for 6 postdoctoral research fellowships. The deadline for submitting applications is March 10, 2019.

Elsewhere Online

  1. David R. Cameron, After another Brexit defeat, UK-EU talks continue – and the Article 50 clock keeps ticking, Yale MacMillan Center
  2. Ramesh Ponnuru, Justice Thomas on Libel, National Review
  3. John Morijn & Israel Butler, Tracking Anti-Values MEPs: EP Seat Projections and Rule of Law Protection, Verfassungsblog
  4. Oliver Garner, Henry VII Arrives in Florence: The UK’s Withdrawal from the Convention Establishing a European University Institute, European Law Blog
  5. Vikram Aditya Narayan & Jahnavi Sindhu, A Multi-layered Indian Judicial Crisis: Listing and hearing of cases before the Supreme Court of India, IACL-AIDC BLOG
  6. Lena Riemer, The ECtHR as a drowning ‘Island of Hope’?’ Its impending reversal of the interpretation of collective expulsion is a warning signal, Verfassungsblog
  7. Pierre de Vos, Mistakes tarnish the reputation of our highest court, Daily Maverick
  8. Fola Adeleke, Postponement fuels lack of trust in Nigeria’s ability to hold fair elections, IACL-AIDC BLOG
  9. Cristina Leston Bandeira & Viktoria Spaiser Do parliamentary e-petitions debates enhance public engagement?, The Constitution Unit
  10. Vishakha Choudhary & Vishesh Sharma, The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018: A Tale of Reneged Promises, OxHRH Blog
  11. Felix Lange, Hard times for voices from the Global South, The Völkerrechtsblog
  12. Nicholas Bagley, The United States Owes Tens of Billions to Insurers, Notice & Comment


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