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 Israel stayed an order to deport a Human Rights Watch official from the country. 
  2. The Constitutional Court of Romania postponed, for the fifth time, a decision on a controversy between the Parliament and the High Court regarding the makeup of the three-judge panels in charge of adjudicating corruption lawsuits.
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court placed a new limitation on the Chevron doctrine after reviewing a decision issued by the Social Security Administration.
  4. The Supreme Court of Canada held that over-policing of racial minorities without any reasonable suspicion constitutes a breach of the Charter.
  5. A submission to the International Criminal Court calls for the prosecution of some of the EU and its member states’ officials for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean.  
  6. The Constitutional Council of Algeria cancelled the next presidential election scheduled for July 4 2019, right after rejecting the presidential candidates’ applications.
  7. The Constitutional Court of Colombia struck down some provisions that prohibited the consumption of alcohol and certain drugs in public areas (such as public parks and the like). The Court held this measure was unreasonable as it unduly restricted consumers’ right to individual freedom. One Justice dissented, while two of them filed concurring votes.  
  8. The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland temporarily suspended the International Association of Athletics Federations’ ruling that prevented Caster Semenya from running some distances races.
  9. The Supreme Court of Argentina upheld a law that seeks to protect the country’s glaciers after a challenge was filed against the law by a mining company.
  10. The Supreme Court of Spain temporarily suspended the exhumation and transfer of the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco. 
  11. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the government’s request to speed up the review of DACA.
  12. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is set to hear a petition to evaluate the constitutionality of the recent dissolution of the country’s Parliament.
  13. The Constitutional Council of Mozambique declared the nullity of the acts inherent to the loan contracted by Ematum SA, and the respective sovereign guarantee granted by the government in 2013.
  14. The Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong ruled that a same-sex couple has the same right to employment and tax benefits as an opposite-sex couple.
  15. The Supreme Court of Brazil held that state-owned companies do not require congressional authorization to sell their subsidiaries.        

In the News

  1. The presidents of the two chambers of the Brazilian Congress are confident that the pension reform, supported by President Jair Bolsonaro, will pass in the near future. 
  2. The President of the Supreme Court of Israel Esther Hayut and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked exchanged critical remarks against each other over their stances on the independence of the judiciary.  
  3. The Minister of Defence of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, expressed his disappointment about China’s detention of several Canadian citizens and called for their immediate release.
  4. In India, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared that all animals in the state of Haryana are “legal persons.”
  5. In light of the recent Colombian Constitutional Court’s ruling that confirmed the congressional override of President Duque’s veto on the peace jurisdiction bill, a congressman filed a constitutional complaint to overturn Congress’ President’s decision to sink the granting of 16 congressional seats to representatives of victims.
  6. The Constitutional Review Commission, in charge of drafting a new Constitution for Gambia, met with key stakeholders to know their views on specific constitutional provisions.
  7. In Nepal, leaders of the Samajbadi Party Nepal announced that they will withdraw from the governmental coalition should the government continue to ignore their calls to amend the Constitution.
  8. The Indigenous Australians Minister, Ken Wyatt, recognized that the achievement of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution will be a long and delicate process which he wants to “get it right.”
  9. The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Peter Pellegrini, stated that the 1968 Soviet-led invasion to Czechoslovakia was illegal and expressed his disagreement against an attempt on the part of the Russian Duma to legitimize it.
  10. In Myanmar, the Tatmadaw (military) and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) submitted an amendment bill to the Assembly of the Union. This proposal seeks to curtail the powers of the President.
  11. A trial Court in Sweden rejected a petition to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange detained in absentia.
  12. Opposition parties in Japan introduced a bill to recognize same-sex marriages.
  13. Thousands of people in Honk Kong gathered to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
  14. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, called political parties to amend the Constitution in line with the anticorruption referendum held previously. The main opposition party, the National Liberal Party, supported this petition.
  15. A massive demonstration calling for PM Andrej Babiš’s resignation was held in Czech Republic.   
  16. The citizens of San Marino voted to amend the Constitution and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a referendum that took place on Sunday, June 2 2019.
  17. The government of Hungary postponed the introduction of the new administrative court system.
  18. The government of France banned the publication of statistical information about judges’ decisions, and established a maximum punishment of five years in prison for anyone who breaks the new law.
  19. The new parliament of Thailand elected former Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Prayuth Chan-ocha, as the country’s Prime Minister.
  20. After dozens of demonstrators were shot in Sudan, the African Union suspended Sudan’s participation in the organization.
  21. In Thailand, the Future Forward Party (FFP) asked the Constitutional Court to suspend 30 MPs, mostly from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) due to their alleged ownership of shares in media companies.
  22. The Department of Commerce and the Department of the Treasury of the United States of America released new limitations on non-family travel to Cuba.   
  23. In Denmark, the Social Democratic Party won the parliamentary elections held last Wednesday.    
  24. The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development of Ghana, Hajia Alima Mahama, set December 29 as the day for a referendum on the election of Chief Executive Officers of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
  25. The Lower House of Brazil passed a constitutional amendment that grants Congressmembers more control over public spending.

New Scholarship

  1. Kristīne Krūma & Sandijs Statkus, The Constitution of Latvia – A Bridge Between Traditions and Modernity, in Anneli Albi & Samo Bardutzky (eds.), National Constitutions in European and Global Governance: Democracy, Rights, the Rule of Law (2019) (analyzing the amendments introduced to the Constitution of Latvia in 1996 and 1998, and discussing the role of the Constitutional Court thereafter)
  2. Helena Alviar García, Neoliberalism as a form of authoritarian constitutionalism, in Helena Alviar García & Günter Frankenberg (eds.), Authoritarian Constitutionalism: Comparative Analysis and Critique (2019) (arguing that the term “authoritarian constitutionalism” should encompass the set of provisions that fix neoliberal orthodoxy as the only policy choice available to public officials)
  3. Alison L Young, Populism and Parliamentary Sovereignty: The Goldsworthy Solution, in Lisa Burton Crawford, Patrick Emerton & Dale Smith (eds.), Law Under a Democratic Constitution. Essays in Honour of Jeffrey Goldsworthy (2019) (claiming that Jeffrey Goldsworthy’s account of parliamentary sovereignty may be better able to ensure that referendums do not provide a means for populist movements to destabilize democracy)
  4. Richard Albert, Carlos Bernal & Juliano Zaiden Benvindo (eds.), Constitutional Change and Transformation in Latin America (2019) (exploring the complexity of the vast topography of constitutional developments, experiments and perspectives in Latin America, offering a deep understanding of modern constitutional change in the region, and evaluating its implications for constitutionalism, democracy, human rights and the rule of law)
  5. Bríd Ní Ghráinne & Aisling McMahon, Abortion in Northern Ireland and the European Convention on Human Rights: Reflections from the UK Supreme Court, International & Comparative Law Quarterly (2019) (critically assessing the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom’s treatment of international law and the European Convention on Human Rights in review of the abortion ban in Northern Ireland )
  6. Mikael Madsen, Resistance to the European Court of Human Rights: The Institutional and Sociological Consequences of Principled Resistance, (2019 forthcoming) (exploring the sociological dimensions of resistance to international courts, the paper suggests that what in practice ends up as principled resistance to the ECtHR does not necessarily involve higher order normative clashes in a legal sense)
  7. Juan Sebastián Villamil Rodriguez, The Internationalization of Judicial Review in the Colombian High Courts, Constitutional Review (2019) (examining the influence of Inter-American Law on Colombian Apex Court’s adjudication, and discussing how the relationship of national judiciaries with international law is best understood as reflecting the development of a pluralist legal dynamic)
  8. Cláudia Ribeiro, Mercedes Araújo & Sónia Rodrigues, The legislative role of Iberian parliaments, in Jorge M. Fernandes & Cristina Leston-Bandeira (eds.), The Iberian Legislatures in Comparative Perspective (2019) (analyzing and assessing the performance of the legislative process in Spain and Portugal, and reflecting on a number of initiatives aimed at making the legislative process more transparent and accessible)
  9. Sharon Yadin, Saving Lives Through Shaming, Harvard Business Law Review Online (2019) (suggesting new ways for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to harness regulatory shaming to reduce workplace injuries, and developing the theory of regulatory shaming)
  10. Christopher Sundby & Suzanna Sherry, Term Limits and Turmoil: Roe v. Wade’s Whiplash, Texas Law Review (2019 forthcoming) (trying to estimate the level of doctrinal instability that would ensue with the introduction of term limits for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court)
  11. William Phelan, Great Judgments of the European Court of Justice: Rethinking the Landmark Decisions of the Foundational Period (2019) (offering a fresh look at the ECJ’s famous early judgments in the light of comparative analysis and the writings of influential French ECJ judge, Robert Lecourt)
  12. Nicola Lacey, Populism and the Rule of Law (2019) (examining the ways in which contemporary populist discourse challenges the rule of law and assessing how many of the factors producing “penal populism” or “overcriminalization” are truly a product of populism)
  13. Jens Theilen, Subversion Subverted: Developments in German Civil Status Law on the Recognition of Intersex and Non-Binary Persons, in Eva Brems, Toon Moonen & Pieter Cannoot (eds.), Protecting trans* rights in the age of gender self-determination (2019 forthcoming) (exploring various possible rationales behind the expansion, in German Law, of legal gender markers beyond the binary categories of “male” and “female” and their implications)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The European Journal of English Studies calls for papers for the three issues of the journal to be published in 2020. Interested scholars should submit their contributions by October 31, 2019.
  2. The African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL) in collaboration with the University of Nairobi, School of Law, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Rule of Law Program for Sub Saharan Africa), the Democratic Governance & Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University invite interested scholars, researchers and lawyers to submit abstracts and panel proposals for its upcoming biennial conference in 2020. The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2019.
  3. Yale Law School invites submissions from current doctoral candidates and recent doctoral graduates for its Ninth Annual Doctoral Scholarship Conference to be held on November 8-9, 2019. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is July 8, 2019.
  4. The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Legal History announces a call for papers for its section program, which will be held during the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The program is entitled “A Century of Women’s Suffrage.” Submissions must be sent by July 31, 2019.
  5. The National University of Singapore (NUS) calls for applicants from ASEAN universities and research institutes who are interested in its NUS Fellows Program (Southeast Asia). The deadline to send applications is June 30, 2019, but early applications are strongly encouraged.
  6. The Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin welcomes graduate student submissions for the sixth annual Graduate Conference in Public Law, to be held on October 24-25, 2019. Proposals must be sent by August 15, 2019.   
  7. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Law School invites candidates to apply for a PhD Scholarship under the supervision of Profs. Rosalind Dixon, Theunis Roux and Melissa Crouch. The topic is “A Liberal Response to Populist Constitutionalism.”
  8. UCL Faculty of Laws organizes a conference on “Foundational Concepts in Constitutional Theory,” which will take place on July 10-12, 2019. This conference will be the occasion for discussing the first set of papers to be included in a major forthcoming volume, The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory (CUP, forthcoming 2021).
  9. The Law Faculty of Maastricht University convenes a conference on “National constitutional identity 10 years on,” to be held on June 24-25, 2019. This event aims to offer a reflection on the use of the National constitutional identity clause ten years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
  10. The International Association of Constitutional Law Research Group on Constitutional Interpretation invites submissions for an international conference on “Constitutional interpretation in European populist regimes ‒ new methods or old tools for new purposes?,” to be held in Budapest, on December 5-6, 2019. Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 500 words by July 31, 2019.
  11. Melbourne Law School cordially invites interested person to attend its forthcoming “Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies 2019 Constitutional Law Conference.” This conference will be held at Melbourne Law School on Friday July 26, 2019.
  12. UCL Faculty of Laws funds two three-year PhD studentships to commence in 2019/2020 in the following areas: The Philosophical Foundations of Contractual Duress, Copyright Law and the Challenges of the Digital Age, and Non-Appearance before International Courts and Tribunals. Applications must be submitted by July 4, 2019.    

Elsewhere Online

  1. Edward Lemon, Authoritarian Influence in International Organizations: The Case of Interpol, Power 3.0
  2. Başak Çalı, No Going Nuclear in Strasbourg. The Infringement Decision in Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan by the European Court of Human Rights, Verfassungsblog
  3. Priya Pillai, Enforced Disappearances: A Global Scourge, Increasingly Under the Radar, OpinioJuris
  4. Lénárd Sándor interviewed Professor Thomas Berg who spoke about the relation between law and religion: “Human dignity is at the core of Catholic legal education” conversation with Thomas C. Berg, Precedens.Mandiner   
  5. Alan Renwick, Taking stock: what have we learned from the European elections? The Constitution Unit
  6. Ander Errasti-Lopez, Basque Country and Catalonia: Different Paths to Recognition, Centre on Constitutional Change
  7. Laurent Pech, Vlad Perju & Sébastien Platon, How to Address Rule of Law Backsliding in Romania, Verfassungsblog
  8. Sami Abdelhalim, The Need for a Transitional Constitutional Framework for Post-al Bashir’s Sudan, ConstitutionNet
  9. Yangyang Cheng, Four Is Forbidden. Finding My Way to the Truth about Tiananmen, ChinaFile
  10. Graham Fox & Daniel Béland, Federal-provincial tensions loom over 2019 campaign, Policy Options
  11. Konrad Lachmayer & Lukas Wieser, Entering into New Constitutional Territory in Austria. From a Conservative Minority Government to a Transitional Expert Government, Verfassungsblog
  12. Lynda Collins, The Unwritten Constitutional Principle of Ecological Sustainability: A Lodestar for Canadian Environmental Law? IACL-AIDC Blog
  13. Peter Gregoire, Deciding Which “Traditional Rights” Are Constitutionally Protected in Hong Kong: The Role of Judicial Review, Admin Law Blog
  14. Insa Koch, Everyday authoritarianism: an anthropology of citizenship and welfare in austerity Britain, LSE British Politics and Policy
  15. Anjana Prakash, The Gogoi Case And After: Wake Up Call For Indian Judiciary,
  16. Gilbert Achcar, The seasons after the Arab Spring, Le Monde diplomatique


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