Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Mohamed Abdelaal, Alexandria University (Egypt)

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. A Spanish court began hearing the fraud trial of former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Rodrigo Rato and more than 60 other bankers concerning allegations the defendants fraudulently used secret credit cards from Bankia bank to pay for personal luxuries.
  2. The German Federal Constitutional Court will conduct an oral hearing regarding the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
  3. Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled that it is inhumane and unconstitutional to send repeat marijuana users to prison.
  4. Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled that the appointed Senate will not be entitled to nominate candidates for prime minister in the first and second stages of selection.
  5. The U.S. Supreme Court will consider eight more cases in its 2016 docket

In the News

  1. Switzerland’s lawmakers approved a public burqa ban.
  2. Swiss voters approved a new surveillance law allowing their national intelligence service broad powers to spy on “terrorist” suspects and cyber criminals, as well as the ability to cooperate with foreign intelligence agencies.
  3. Greek lawmakers approved a new set of austerity measures, including further trims in pensions and the transfer of major state assets to a new privatization fund to be overseen by the country’s creditors.
  4. Italy’s government announced that it will hold a constitutional referendum in December.
  5. Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a landmark bill that seeks to address key issues of the Hindu community, including matters relating to the registration of marriages, divorce and forced conversions.
  6. The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo, Jean-Claude Gakosso, embraced the country’s new constitution before the UN General Assembly, which he said will improve political, economic and social governance.
  7. The president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska postponed a planned referendum which was intended to challenge the authority of the state judiciary.
  8. The U.S. Congress passed a bill authorizing civil suits against Saudi Arabia for damages done by 9/11 attacks.
  9. More than 86 percent of those who cast ballots voted to amend Azerbaijan’s Constitution. The amendments will create new leadership positions including a “First Vice Presidency” and a number of deputy presidents, extending the president’s term from five to seven years

New Scholarship

  1. Richard Albert, Quasi-Constitutional Amendments (theorizing the phenomenon of quasi-constitutional amendment–a sub-constitutional change that does not possess the same legal status as a constitutional amendment, that is formally susceptible to statutory repeal, but that may achieve constitutional status over time as a result of its subject-matter or importance)
  2. George Anderson and Sujit Choudhry, Constitutional Transitions and Territorial Cleavages (2016) (presenting a framework for considering constitutional transitions that involve significant territorial cleavages)
  3. Carlos A. Ball, The First Amendment and LGBT Equality: A Contentious History (forthcoming 2017) (discussing the role of the First Amendment and LGBT Equality in the gay rights movement)
  4. Steven G. Calabresi, Essay on the Origins and Growth of Judicial Review, Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 16-18 (2016) (discussing the origin and growth of judicial review from the lens of comparative law)
  5. Paul P. Craig, Transnational Constitution-Making: The Contribution of The Venice Commission on Law and Democracy, UCI Journal of International, Transnational and Comparative Law (2016) (examining the contribution to transnational constitution-making of the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission)
  6. Jean-Philippe Derosier, L’opposition politique (2016) (discussing the role of comparative work in going beyond the parliamentary opposition or government to encompass all modalities of existence and expression that fall within the opposition, politically appointed)
  7. Pietro Faraguna, The Economic Crisis as a Threat to the Stability of Law. Recent Developments in the Case Law of the Italian Constitutional Court, Hague Journal on the Rule of Law (2016) (arguing that unlike a wide perception, the economic crisis affected the Constitutional Court’s role within the legal order in a very remarkable manner)
  8. Joshua C. Gellers, The great indoors: linking human rights and the built environment, Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (2016) (arguing that, in conjunction with human rights to housing, health, and water and sanitation, constitutional environmental rights should apply to both the natural and built environments, and identifying green building as a strategy to protect environmental rights throughout the world)
  9. Tamas Gyorfi, Against the New Constitutionalism (2016) (providing a distinctively liberal defence of political constitutionalism and developing a new theory of weak judicial review)
  10. Thiago Luis Sombra, Why Should Public Hearings in the Brazilian Supreme Court Be Understood as an Innovative Democratic Tool in Constitutional Adjudication?, 17 German Law Journal (2016) (providing an empirical analysis of the counter-majoritarian role of the Brazilian Supreme Court, the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF), in terms of its sharp contrast with the aim of attracting wider participation from civil society in public hearings)
  11. Scott Stephenson, From Dialogue to Disagreement in Comparative Rights Constitutionalism (2016) (proposing a new theory for comparing constitutional approaches to rights protection that takes into account the bills of rights found in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom)
  12. Zoltán Szente and Konrad Lachmayer (eds.), The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law. A European Comparison (2016) (presenting a comparative analysis of the principle of effective legal protection in administrative law in Europe and examining how European states consider and enforce the related requirements in their domestic administrative law)
  13. Semi-Presidentialism as Power Sharing Tool: Constitutional Reform and the Arab Spring, The Center for Constitutional Transitions at NYU Law 2016 (posing the question whether semi presidential system can be an effective tool to curb presidential powers after the Arab Spring)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Younger Comparativists Committee (YCC) of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL) is pleased to invite submissions for its third workshop on comparative business and financial law to be held February 10-11, 2017 at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas.
  2. The University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Illinois College of Law, Princeton University, and the American Society of Comparative Law welcome submissions to the next annual Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, 2017, at UCLA School of Law.
  3. The EUPADRA Admission Committee is now accepting applications for the 2017/2018 edition of EUPADRA, both from students aiming for scholarships and from scholars and practitioners as visiting professors.
  4. The Study of Parliament Group and the United Kingdom Constitutional Law Association are hosting a seminar titled “Parliament and Brexit: Constitutional Conundrums and Parliamentary Practicalities” on October 25, 2016 at the House of Lords in the UK.
  5. Symposium organizers have issued a call for papers for the “Symposium on The Constitution of Canada: History, Evolution, Influence & Reform” to be held on May 24, 2017.
  6. The International Journal of Canadian Studies seeks submissions for its new volume

Elsewhere Online

  1. Harshan Kumarasingham, Eastminster: the Westminster model in British Asia, UK Constitutional Law Association
  2. Brian Christopher Jones, Did Brexit Save the HRA 1998?, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  3. Grace Yang, The ABCs on China’s New Work Permit System for Foreigners, China Law Blog
  4. Gent Ibrahimi, Strengthening the Judiciary in Albania – the story behind the success of the 2016 constitutional reforms, ConstitutionNet
  5. Bill Mears, The Docket: Supreme Court to tackle religious freedom, election rules in new term


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