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 Peru postponed a decision on whether opposition leader Keiko Fujimori should be released from prison.
  2. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico held that Pedro Pierluisi’s appointment as Governor of Puerto Rico is unconstitutional. As a result, Wanda Vázquez Garced was sworn in as new Governor.     
  3. The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil blocked the governmental investigations against journalist Glenn Greenwald as they constituted ‘an unambiguous act of censorship’.
  4. The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear a challenge against a decision issued by a provincial high court that upheld the firing of a newborn’s parent due to their refusal to take an out-of-province work assignment.
  5. The Supreme Court of India upheld a regulation that grants ‘financial creditor’ status to homebuyers in those situations when the construction company –in charge of building housing– faces financial difficulties.
  6. The Constitutional Court of Armenia requested an advisory opinion to the European Court of Human Rights on the Criminal Code’s provision that criminalizes the overthrowing of the constitutional order.
  7. The Supreme Court of India refused to issue an interim decision lifting some of the restrictions currently imposed on Jammu and Kashmir.   
  8. The Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela decided to strip three opposition deputies of their congressional immunity.  
  9. The Supreme Court of Israel overruled a decision of a lower court that allowed the gender segregation of the attendees to a government-organized concert.   
  10. The Constitutional Court of Colombia held that commercial establishments must permit the use of their restrooms not only to children, pregnant women or older adults but also to people with disabilities, regardless of whether they are customers of the said establishments.  
  11. The Constitutional Court of South Africa heard a challenge against an electoral statute that prevents independent candidates from running for elections.          
  12. The Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica ruled that the government infringed the Constitution because it did not take effective and proportionate measures to lift the road blockades implemented by truck drivers and students.   
  13. The Supreme Court of Mexico ordered the country’s Heath Department to regulate the medical use of marijuana.
  14. The Supreme Court of Gibraltar concluded that an Iranian tanker seized in the coasts of Gibraltar is free to sail.

In the News

  1. The Parliament of Myanmar approved the Constitutional Amendment Committee’s Report, which included nearly 4,000 recommendations to amend the Constitution.
  2. Special Russian Envoy, Geir Pedersen, declared that Syria’s new constitutional committee might convene soon.
  3. In Argentina, opposition candidate Alberto Fernández defeated current President Macri in the primary polls.
  4. Conservative candidate Alejandro Giammattei was elected as new President of Guatemala.
  5. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled plans to “overhaul the criminal justice system” in England and Wales by reviewing sentencing policy, prisons and stop-and-search powers.
  6. China has described some of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong as ‘terrorism’.
  7. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Hong Kong to investigate the use of excessive force against protesters.
  8. The President of, India Ram Nath Kovind, signed an Act that increases the number of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34.
  9. US Attorney General William Barr recognized the existence of serious irregularities at the jail where Jeffrey Epstein died and promised that the Department of Justice would investigate the matter.  
  10. The Law Association of Zambia asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to halt any parliamentary discussions on the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 10. This request is grounded on the fact that the Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the constitutionality this Bill. Despite this, Brian Mundubile, Chief Whip of the ruling Patriotic Front Party, said the National Assembly would continue holding discussions on the amendment proposal.     
  11. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, pledged to propose and speed up a Diet debate on some amendments to the Constitution. 
  12. A Federal Prosecutor in Brazil filed a claim to prevent the appointment of President Bolsonaro’s son as new Brazilian ambassador to the United States.
  13. The Constituent Assembly of Venezuela (controlled by the regime of Nicolas Maduro) announced it plans to summon a committee to decide whether to bring forward the legislative elections initially scheduled for December 2020.
  14. In Liberia, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) expressed its support to President George Weah’s proposed constitutional amendments aimed at reducing the tenure of the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives.
  15. The Ethics Commissioner of Canada, Mario Dion, released a report that concluded that Prime Minister Trudeau exerted improper influence in the SNC-Lavalin case.  
  16. The Government of Nepal is preparing legislation to incorporate the Geneva Conventions into domestic law.
  17. The Italian Senate postponed a motion of no confidence that could trigger a snap election of Parliament.  
  18. The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, refused to appoint the new Minister of Culture nominated by PM Andrej Babis.  
  19. The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, proposed to move the capital city of the country from Jakarta to the island of Borneo.
  20. Amidst deep criticisms coming from Congress and other opposition parties, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, asserted that the abrogation of article 370 would consolidate the spirit of “One Nation, One Constitution”.  

New Scholarship

  1. Mary L. Volcansek, Judicialization of Politics or Politicization of the Courts in New Democracies?, in Christine Landfried (ed.), Judicial Power – How Constitutional Courts Affect Political Transformations (2019) (arguing that constitutional courts that push the margins of their authority aggressively may lead to the politicization of the courts, which may, in turn, result in an erosion of judicial legitimacy, particularly in new democracies)
  2. Zhiqiong June Wang & Jianfu Chen, Will the Establishment of Circuit Tribunals Break Up the Circular Reforms in the Chinese Judiciary? Asian Journal of Comparative Law (2019) (examining the objectives for the establishment of circuit tribunals of the Supreme People’s Court of China and the politico-legal functions of such tribunals in the context of judicial reforms that were first launched in 1999)
  3. Angela Di Gregorio (Ed.), The Constitutional Systems of Central-Eastern, Baltic and Balkan countries (2019) (analyzing the constitutional systems of 17 countries in this region adding an epilogue dealing specifically with constitutional retrogressions in Hungary and Poland)
  4. Wilson Tze Vern Tay, Basic Structure Revisited: The Case of Semenyih Jaya and the Defence of Fundamental Constitutional Principles in Malaysia, Asian Journal of Comparative Law (2019) (analyzing the Federal Court of Malaysia’s landmark decision in Semenyih Jaya v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat, decision that gave substantive effect to the ‘basic structure doctrine’ for the first time in Malaysia)
  5. Ana Micaela Alterio, Reactive vs structural approach: A public law response to populism, Global Constitutionalism (2019) (advancing a public law response to populism involving new institutional systems that generate strong participatory mechanisms to incorporate ‘the popular’, and using the new Latin American Constitutionalism as an example of both the potentialities and difficulties of designing institutional systems in public law)
  6. Sungmoon Kim, From Remonstrance to Impeachment: A Curious Case of “Confucian Constitutionalism” in South Korea, Law & Social Inquiry (2019) (exploring whether the model of Confucian constitutionalism is still relevant in Korea, especially in light of the Constitutional Court’s recent decision to uphold the motion to impeach the president rather than merely offering remonstrance or warning)
  7. Michael P. Foran, The Rule of Good Law: Form, Substance and Fundamental Rights, The Cambridge Law Journal (2019) (addressing the effect that conformity to the rule of law has on the ends which might legitimately be pursued within a legal system)
  8. Kim Lane Scheppele, Autocracy under Cover of the Transnational Legal Order, in Gregory Shaffer, Tom Ginsburg & Terence C. Halliday (eds.), Constitution-Making and Transnational Legal Order (2019) (arguing that the constitutional consulting community has created a particular form of “transnational legal order” that has allowed the new autocrats to escape detection – and even to thrive)
  9. Maayan Geva, Military Lawyers Making Law: Israel’s Governance of the West Bank and Gaza, Law & Social Inquiry (2019) (examining Israeli military lawyers’ practice of international humanitarian law (IHL) revolving around the West Bank and Gaza, and interrogating these lawyers’ work—the stories that they tell about law, their legal interpretations and their interactions with military decision-makers)
  10. Sujit Choudhry, Postcolonial Proportionality: Johar, Transformative Constitutionalism and Same Sex Rights in India, in Philipp Dann (ed.), The Global South and Comparative Constitutional Law (Forthcoming) (examining the landmark Johar decision of the Indian Supreme Court, and exploring the interactions between the principle of proportionality and transformative constitutionalism in light of the anti-colonial and cosmopolitan thrust of the Constitution of India)
  11. Pranoto Iskandar, Religious constitutionalism: An Indonesian-esque interpretive venture, Oxford University Comparative Law Forum (2019) (arguing that the religious-friendly model that is based on pan-religious values has failed, and showing how Indonesia’s temporary accommodation of religion as a solution to the Islamists insistence has somewhat become fossilised in the political system)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites submissions for its conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change” to be held at the University of Texas Law School on January 17-18, 2020. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
  2. University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and Serbian Association for Legal and Social Philosophy (IVR Serbia) call for papers for their upcoming Sixth Student Conference in Theory and Philosophy of Law on the topic ‘Judiciary between law and politics’. The conference will take place on the 6th of December 2019. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
  3. Cornell Law School, the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell and the Program in Ethics & Public Life co-host the first Cornell Conference in Philosophy of Law to be held in Ithaca, NY on May 15-17, 2020, and invite interested scholars to submit their paper proposals on or before 31 December 2019.  
  4. The Institute for International Humanitarian Studies (CERIC, UMR DICE 7318, AMIDEX) of Aix-en-Provence Law School welcomes submissions for the forthcoming INSIDE Workshop in Compliance Theories in International Human Rights Law to be held at Aix-en-Provence Law School on 2 April 2020. Proposals must be sent by September 20, 2019.   
  5. The Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law calls for papers for its conference titled ‘Mixed Arbitral Tribunals, 1919–1930: An Experiment in the International Adjudication of Private Rights’. Submissions must be sent by October 1, 2019.
  6. The Universitá Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II calls for applicants for six four-year funded PhD positions in global history and governance. The deadline to send applications is September 2, 2019.
  7. The Chevening Network in Brazil and Oxford University invite scholars to submit proposals for their conference ‘Global Security Challenges of the 21st Century: New Problems, Innovative Solutions’. Authors are invited to submit a paper or an extended abstract no later than 15 September 2019.
  8. The University of Connecticut School of Law (UConn Law) is pleased to honor Professor Richard Kay and, to celebrate his work, it will hold a conference titled “Original Constitutionalist: Reconstructing Richard Kay’s Scholarship” on September 13, 2019. Register, please, by September 6, 2019.
  9. The Graduate Institute Geneva and the Institute for Global Law & Policy at Harvard Law School, in the framework of their new collaborative initiative ‘The Global Scholars Academy’, welcome applications for a three-day intensive scholars Workshop. The Workshop’s themes are ‘Power and Domination in a Globalized World’ and ‘Social Justice: The Challenges of Poverty, Inequality and Development’. Applications and recommendation letter(s) are due by September 20, 2019.
  10. The WZB Berlin Social Science Center is offering a position for a Research Fellow (post-doc) (f/m/x) at the Center for Global Constitutionalism headed by Professor Mattias Kumm. Applications must be sent by September 16, 2019.
  11. The student chapter of the American Constitution Society and Law Review at Barry University School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law are hosting the Fifth Annual Constitutional Law Scholars Forum. The Constitutional Law Scholars Forum invites scholarly proposals on constitutional law at any stage of pre-publication development, from the germination of an idea to the editing stage. The deadline to submit proposals is December 1, 2019.
  12. The London School of Economics (LSE) calls for abstracts for its Conference ‘State Accountability under Private, Public, and International Law’, which will take place on November 9, 2019. Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 750 words by 30 August 2019.
  13. The Cambridge Law Review, an independent academic journal run by students of the University of Cambridge, invites submissions for the second issue of Volume IV. The window for submissions is open from 01 June until 22 September 2019.    
  14. The ASIL International Law in Domestic Courts Annual Workshop will take place on 6 December 2019 at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Interested scholars are invited to send their abstracts by September 6, 2019.    
  15. The University of Manchester Law School welcomes applications from candidates with expertise in the UK, European, or global constitutional law for a Chair in Constitutional Law. Applications must be submitted by 12 September 2019.   
  16. The British Academy invites interested early-career researchers to apply to its Postdoctoral Fellowships. Selected postdoctoral fellows will conduct research in the framework of the areas of interest of the Constitution Unit.
  17. The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (in cooperation with the Minerva Center for Human Rights in Israel) invites applications for a position to start in October 2019 as a Research Fellow (PhD student) in Transitional Justice with Professor Anne Peters. The application deadline is September 15, 2019.     

Elsewhere Online

  1. Michele Krech, FIFA for Women or Women for FIFA? The Inherent Tensions of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy, Verfassungsblog
  2. Gustavo Prieto, The Colombian Constitutional Court Judgment C-252/19: A new frontier for reform in international investment law, EJIL: Talk!
  3. Petra Bárd & Anna Śledzińska-Simon, The Puissance of Infringement Procedures in Tackling Rule of Law Backsliding, Reconnect
  4. Madhav Khosla, The constitutional questions that arise from the end of Jammu and Kashmir as a state, The Print
  5. Antje Brown, Devolution, climate change and the climate emergency, Centre on Constitutional Change
  6. Wojciech Sadurski, What went wrong with Poland’s democracy, OUPblog
  7. Alison Berthet, Emerging Voices: Momentum Builds for Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence, OpinioJuris
  8. Yohannes Gedamu, Why Sidama statehood demand threatens to unravel Ethiopia’s federal system, The Conversation
  9. Anna Dziedzic, Pacific courts need more women judges, The Interpreter
  10. Amy Hawkins, The World Is Reaping the Chaos the British Empire Sowed, Foreign Policy
  11. Gillian Triggs, Why an Australian charter of rights is a matter of national urgency, The Conversation
  12. Giuseppe Martinico, Resentment, Populism and Political Strategies in Italy, Verfassungsblog


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