Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Chiara Graziani, Ph.D. Candidate and Research Fellow in Constitutional Law, University of Genoa (Italy)

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 Italian Constitutional Court rejected a request by the League party to partially repeal the electoral law, changing the voting system into a first-past-the-post.
  2. The German Federal Constitutional Court held that completely excluding non-marital families from stepchild adoption is unconstitutional.  
  3. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the United Kingdom did not breach Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights by holding a trial behind closed doors for national security reasons.
  4. The German Federal Constitutional Court held a hearing on surveillance law.
  5. The Slovenian Constitutional Court will decide whether or not a law requiring the Slovenian central bank to cover any loss to investors arising from the 2013 rescue of Slovenian banks breaches the Slovenian Constitution.
  6. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected a bid by British Columbia to regulate oil pipeline.
  7. The US Supreme Court refused to hear Sudan’s request to limit damages over the embassy’s bombing in 1998.

In the News

  1. The US Senate formally opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
  2. The Court of Appeal of Turin (Italy) ruled that there is a causal link between the use of mobile phones and head cancer.
  3. The European Commission asked the European Court of Justice to suspend the functioning of the Polish Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber.
  4. The Russian Parliament approved President Vladimir Putin’s nomination for a new Prime Minister.
  5. The German defence minister said that the European Union should offer the United Kingdom “privileged third-party status” in defence and foreign policy cooperation after Brexit.
  6. The US and China signed a preliminary trade agreement on tariffs.

New Scholarship

  1. Francesco Biagi, European Constitutional Courts and Transitions to Democracy (2020) (examining the role of three generations of European constitutional courts in the transitions to democracy that took place in Europe in the twentieth century).
  2. Jacco Bomhoff, The Double-Facing Constitution (2020) (exploring some of the many ways in which constitutional orders engage with, and are shaped by, their exteriors)
  3. Pau Bossacoma Busquets, Morality and Legality of Secession (2020) (exploring explores secession from three different perspectives: political philosophy, international law and constitutional law)
  4. Jody Heymann, Aleta Sprague, Amy Raub, Advancing Equality: How Constitutional Rights Can Make e Difference Worldwide (2020) (comparing the constitutions of 193 UN member states to assess which protect equal rights for its citizens irrespective of their differences, including gender, sexual orientation, income, and disability)
  5. Son Ngoc Bui, Politics of Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments: The Case of Thailand (2020) (arguing that the question constitutional unamendability is a part of constitutional politics, exemplified by Thailand’s Constitutional Court Decision No. 15–18/2556, which struck down a proposal for a constitutional amendment calling for direct senatorial elections)
  6. Christophe Paulussen, Martin Scheinin (eds.), Human Dignity and Human Security in Times of Terrorism (2020) (collecting essays from several scholars examining how human dignity and human security can be secured and how law can constitute a source of trust at a time when Europe and the rest of the world continue to be plagued by terrorism)
  7. Vijayashri Sripati, Constitution-Making under UN Auspices (2020) (examining the role of the United Nations and of its predecessor, the League of Nations, in giving constitutional assistance to states drafting their constitutions)
  8. Timothy Zick, The First Amendment in the Trump Era (2020) (connecting present concerns related to the First Amendment to episodes that took place throughout the history of the US)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The University of Salzburg is seeking two post-docs in Comparative Constitutional Law and Political Sciences. Submissions are open until January 29, 2020.
  2. The IACL research group on freedom of speech invites submissions for the conference “Free Speech in the 21st Century,” to be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on July 3-4, 2020. Submissions are accepted until January 31, 2020.
  3. The European Central Bank is looking for established scholars or promising early-career researchers for up to six legal research scholarships to be awarded in 2020. The deadline for applications is February 3, 2020.
  4. The Berkeley Center for Law and Technology will host a conference on “The Roles of Technology Expertise in Law and Policy,” on February 27-28, 2020.
  5. Columbia Law School invites submissions for the 2020 work-in-progress Workshop on Comparative Constitutional Law. Abstracts must be submitted no later than March 1, 2020.
  6. The International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) invites submissions for its 2020 Annual Conference, to be held in Wroclaw, Poland, on July 9-11, 2020. The deadline is March 1, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Mark Geddes, Dramas at Westminster: Select Committees and the Quest for Accountability, Constitution Unit Blog
  2. Ignasi Guardans, The Case of Mr. Junqueras is a Case of Respect of the Rule of Law, Verfassungsblog
  3. Niel Kirst, Gun Control in the EU: the CJEU’s Decision on the Legality of the Revised European Firearms Directive, EU Law Analysis  
  4. Christopher Kuner, International data transfers, standard contractual clauses, and the Privacy Shield: the AG Opinion in Schrems II, EU Law Blog
  5. Sándor Lénárd, The role of popular movements and charismatic leaders in American constitutionalism – conversation with Professor Bruce Ackerman, Mandiner
  6. Hans-Martien ten Napel, A Natural Law Basis for Human Rights?, Canopy Forum
  7. Jack Simson Caird, The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and the Rule of Law, UKCLA Blog
  8. Benjamin Wittes, Thoughts on the Horowitz Report, Part III: The FISA Findings, Lawfare


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