Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Gaurav Mukherjee, S.J.D. Candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law, Central European University, Budapest

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 Indonesia rejected an appeal by a woman who was sentenced to six months in prison for recording and sharing a phone conversation she had with her boss to prove that he was sexually harassing her.
  2. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favour of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission imposing a temporary ban on NTV Mir Lithuania broadcasting a program that was deemed to incite hatred based on nationality.
  3. The Supreme Court of India declined to hear a contempt petition which contended that the apex court’s 2018 judgment directing measures to curb mob lynching had not yet been complied with.
  4. The Supreme Judicial Council in Pakistan held a brief hearing on the disciplinary references against Justice Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court, for allegations of irregular possession of properties.
  5. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine filed a notification of suspicion against a former Constitutional Court judge, Serhii Vdovychenko, in connection with the case in which former president Viktor Yanukovych is suspected of usurping power.
  6. The High Court of Australia will hear an appeal against the judgment of the Federal Court, which ruled that beaches north of Broome, Western Australia are the exclusive possession of native title holders.
  7. The Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear Alabama’s bid to revive a Republican-backed state law that would have effectively banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
  8. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a bid to reinstate $4.3 billion in punitive damages against Sudan in a lawsuit accusing it of complicity in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
  9. After the petitioners failed to make out a case for an urgent hearing, the Constitutional Court of South Africa adjourned the hearing on an application for leave to appeal from a decision of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa which questioned the constitutional permissibility of a prohibition on eligible South Africans from standing for election to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures other than through party lists. The case will now be heard on August 15. Judgment here.

In the News

  1. The Hungarian National Assembly passed a controversial bill which drastically reduces the financial and operational autonomy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as certain other research institutions.
  2. The High Court of Tanzania issued a judgment on the human rights implications of suspending the Southern African Development Community Tribunal – regional court set up to consider disputes between states as well as between individuals and states.
  3. The Minister of Interior of the Netherlands considers changes to how the Kingdom elects members of both the Eerste Kamer (Houe of Representatives) and Tweede Kamer (Senate). The changes would give more weight to the candidates’ preference votes.
  4. The Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa dismissed an application by Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party, challenging the constitutionality of one of the last remaining pieces of apartheid-era law.
  5. A proposal in the Dominican Republic that would amend the constitution to allow President Danilo Medina to run for a third term in office sparked protest from opposition lawmakers and critics.
  6. More than 200 major companies urged the Supreme Court of the United States to rule that gay and transgender people are covered by protections afforded under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  7. The parliamentary opposition parties in Romania lodged a proposal to revise the Constitution that would disable amnesty and pardon in cases where persons have been convicted for corruption.

New Scholarship

  1. The German Law Journal put together a commemorative issue on the contributions of Prof. Donald Kommers to the field of constitutional law and beyond.
  2. Lawrence Lessig, Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution (2019) (suggesting that in addition to “interpretive fidelity,” judges in the process of interpreting the Constitution of the United States have sought to maintain fidelity to the perceived judicial role). To find the symposium on the book organized by Balinkization, follow this link.
  3. Maria Bertel, Democratization through Decentralization. Why Electoral Laws Matter, 52(1) Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (2019) (assessing the outcome of the process of decentralization introduced by the Peruvian Constitution of 1993).
  4. Alex Parsons, Digital Tools for Citizens’ Assemblies (2019) (assessing the utility of digital tools to improve the flow of information into and out of Citizens’ Assemblies, using the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment as a case study).
  5. Damjan Grozdanovski, The Workload of The European Court of Human Rights: A Back-Door to Becoming a Constitutional Court of Europe, 2(1) Nordic Journal of European Law (2019) (examining the 2010 changes to the Convention mechanism of the ECtHR designed to improve its handling of the caseload).
  6. Han-Ru Zhou, Erga Omnes or Inter Partes? The Legal Effects of Federal Courts’ Constitutional Judgments, 97 Canadian Bar Review (2019) (examining whether the effects of a decision by the Federal Court of Canada or the Federal Court of Appeal apply only to the parties to the case or extends beyond).
  7. Verónica Undurraga and Michelle Sadler, The misrepresentation of conscientious objection: A new strategy of resistance to abortion decriminalisation, 27(2) Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters (2019) (analyzing the conscientious objection exception for performing abortions, in light of its interpretation by the Chilean Constitutional Court in 2017).
  8. Enrique Rabell-Garcia, Local Governments in Latin America, 52(1) Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (2019) (examining federal asymmetries of state and municipal governments in Latin America to argue that states with more symmetry would have greater governance within the federal pact).
  9. Julia Stephens, Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia (2019) (tracing the colonial roots of contemporary struggles between Islam and secularism in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). A symposium on the book can be found here.

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), in Bangalore, invites applications for the position of a Research Associate. CLPR is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to constitutional law and policy research, social and governance interventions and strategic impact litigation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  2. The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies invites applications for a two-year, in-residence, postdoctoral fellowship from outstanding scholars at the start of their careers whose work combines disciplinary excellence in the social sciences or law with a command of the language and history or culture of countries or regions outside of the United States or Canada. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2019.
  3. The Varieties of Democracy Institute, seeks Country Experts for the V-Dem Update 2020, as part of a global, collaborative research project providing the largest ever database on democracy.
  4. The Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine invites applications for one or more Assistant Professor positions. Candidates with research interests and expertise in the following areas are preferred: 1) Policing; 2) Global challenges in criminology, law & society; 3) Technology, law, and social control.
  5. The Macquarie University, Sydney invites submissions for an interdisciplinary workshop on “Modes of Activism Under Authoritarian Governance Regimes in The Asia-Pacific,” be held on November 14-15, 2019. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together scholars with research expertise on activism in the Asia-Pacific to explore how civil society actors navigate diverse authoritarian spaces. The deadline for submissions is July 31.
  6. The Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS) invites applications for a workshop on “Stigmatization, Identities and the Law: Asian and Comparative Perspectives,” to be held on June 23-24, 2020. The deadline for submission of abstracts is August 31, 2019.
  7. The Nordic Journal of European Law invites submissions for its second 2019 issue on the theme of the rule of law in Europe. The deadline for submission of papers is September 27, 2019.
  8. The Pretoria University Law Press published the first volume of the African Court Law Report, covering judgments, advisory opinions and other decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2009-16.
  9. The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law invites applications for the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in several areas including public law. The deadline is 4 August 2019.
  10. Yale Law School invites applications for its Ninth Annual Doctoral Scholarship Conference, to be held on November 8-9, 2019. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is July 8.
  11. The Melbourne Institute of Comparative Constitutional Law (MICCL) invites applications for its Young Scholars Forum, aimed at bringing together junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and leading senior international scholars to develop the study of comparative constitutional law through exchange between leaders and emerging scholars in the field. The deadline for submission of applications is August 11, 2019.
  12. The Academic Research Network on EU Agencies and Institutional Innovation (TARN) organizes a two-day conference on “Conference EU Agencies as ‘Inbetweeners’? The Relationship between EU Agencies and Member,” to be held on December 4-5, 2019. The deadline for submission of abstracts is July 31.
  13. The AALS East Asian Law & Society (EALS) Section invites submissions for its main program at the 2020 AALS Annual Conference: “Challenges to the Rule of Law: Lessons from and for Asia.” Those interested in presenting a paper or a work in progress relevant to this topic are invited to submit an abstract by July 31, 2019.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval, Latin America: Walking into the Abyss with eyes wide open, IACL-AIDC Blog
  2. Davide Paris, Overruling Roe v. Wade?, Verfassungsblog
  3. Carmel Rickard, What is a Life Worth in Uganda’s Courts?, AfricanLII
  4. Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, Populism meets Congressional Backlash in Brazil: Recasting executive-legislative relations?, ConstitutionNet
  5. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Completing Armenia’s Revolution: Transitional Justice and Judicial Vetting, ConstitutionNet
  6. Linda Greenhouse, It’s Not Nice to Lie to the Supreme Court, The New York Times
  7. David R. Cameron, After marathon meeting, European Council agrees on EU leadership package – a good one, Yale MacMillan Centre
  8. Charles Fried, A Day of Sorrow for American Democracy, The Atlantic
  9. Samuel Issacharoff, When Constraint Fails, Election Law Blog
  10. Radhika Agarwal, Constitutional Law Developments in South Asia in 2019, IACL-AIDC Blog
  11. Oran Doyle, Northern Ireland border poll must avoid pitfalls of Brexit Referendum, LSE Brexit Blog
  12. Theodore Shulman, Timid Restraint, Verfassungsblog
  13. Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy, The hyper judicialisation of politics in Moldova: Opportunities for constitutional reform, ConstitutionNet
  14. Laurent Pech and Sébastien Platon, The beginning of the end for Poland’s so-called “judicial reforms”? Some thoughts on the ECJ ruling in Commission v Poland (Independence of the Supreme Court case), EU Law Analysis
  15. Sanford Levinson, On the Gerrymandering Decision: Don’t Mourn, Organize–and “Rise Up”, Balkinization
  16. Richard Pildes, The Census Decision: Institutional Realism, Institutional Formalism, and Judicial Review, Balkinization
  17. Hyunah Yang, Punishment for Abortion will Vanish from Korea’s Criminal Code: the April 2019 Constitutional Court Decision, Reprohealthlaw Blog
  18. Jeffrey Toobin, Clarence Thomas’s Astonishing Opinion on a Racist Mississippi Prosecutor, The New Yorker
  19. Amy Howe, Opinion analysis: Justices reverse death sentence for Mississippi inmate, SCOTUS Blog


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