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 India dismissed an application for directions to executive authorities for identifying migrant worker, who walk home to their residences, to ensure that they reach their destinations safely. The petition was filed in the wake of the death of 16 migrant laborers in North India.
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada declined an appeal regarding the inapplicability of provincial environmental requirements with respect to federally regulated activities carried out on Port of Québec lands. Analysts say this consolidates a new line of Supreme Court of Canada decisions limiting the application of provincial environmental permit requirements to federal undertakings such as ports, airfields and pipelines. Judgment here.
  3. The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria announced that it had formally opened a case after President Roumen Radev tabled a challenge to the Health Act amendments passed by Parliament earlier this week.
  4. The High Court of Kenya ruled that the Judicial Service Commission violated the law by purporting to admonish three justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2016 after a complaint on gross misconduct was levelled against them.
  5. The Bavarian Higher Administrative Court denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health Care. The regulation made, among other things, wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, and on public transportation mandatory for persons over the age of seven.
  6. The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in two challenges to the constitutionality of so-called “faithless elector” laws – state laws that penalize or remove a presidential elector who does not vote for the candidate he has pledged to support. Analysis of the hearings here.

In the News

  1. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin rejected the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, siding with Republican legislators in a high-profile challenge of the emergency authority of a statewide official during the coronavirus pandemic. Judgment here.
  2. Guinea Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo established a committee on revising the constitution following years of chronic political instability in the West African state.
  3. The President of The Gambia stated that the Ministry of Justice would publish a draft constitution in the Gazette before the end of May 2020, as required by the Constitutional Review Commission Act 2018.
  4. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court will hear petitions filed by opposition parties and civil society against the dissolution of Parliament by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa six months ahead of schedule.
  5. The Algerian government released the draft constitution for public comment. Available here.
  6. The President of Bangladesh issued an ordinance allowing virtual court functions for hearing and disposing of cases.

New Scholarship

  1. Merris Amos, Human Rights Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United Kingdom (2020) (examining the human rights implications of COVID-19 government measures in the UK).
  2. Olga Shvetsova, et. al., Constitutional and Institutional Structural Determinants of Policy Responsiveness To Protect Citizens From Existential Threats: Covid-19 And Beyond (2020) (arguing institutional and government systems with more authority redundancies are more likely to generate policy in response to crisis faster and find better policy solutions compared to centralized systems with minimal authority redundancies).
  3. K. D. Ewing, Covid-19: Government by Decree, King’s Law Journal (2020) (outlining the problems with the UK government’s executive decree-based response to the Covid-19 pandemic).
  4. Special Issue: Covid-19 and Labour Law. A Global Review, Italian Labour Law Journal (2020) (collating analysis of labour law responses to the Covid-19 pandemic from a number of jurisdictions).
  5. Andreas von Arnauld, Kerstin von der Decken, and Mart Susi (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of New Human Rights Recognition, Novelty, Rhetoric (2020) (bringing together a range of scholars from a variety of jurisdictions to consider the emergence of new kinds of human rights, such as rights to water, land, as well the effects of technologies on existing rights).
  6. Stephen Gardbaum, Comparative Political Process Theory, 18 International Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming 2020) (expanding and adapting Elysian political process theory for comparative constitutional law).
  7. Payal Shah and Dipika Jain, Reimagining Reproductive Rights Jurisprudence in India: Reflections on the Recent Decisions on Privacy and Gender Equality from the Supreme Court of India, 39(2) Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 1 (2020) (arguing for an equality-based approach to reproductive rights, based on an analysis on three recent constitutional cases, on the right to privacy, gender equality and rights to sexuality).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) invites applications for full-time academic appointments assistant, associate, and professors. Applications are invited in all areas of the law.
  2. The University of Hong Kong invites applications for the position of Tenure-Track Professor/Associate Professor/Assistant Professor in the Department of Law.
  3. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites all to register for an online course on “Judging in Times of Crisis: Conversations with High Court Judges around the World,” featuring Supreme and Constitutional Court judges from Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, and Taiwan.
  4. Melbourne Law School will hold a webinar on “Privacy post pandemic: restart or reset?” on May 19, 2020.
  5. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism welcomes all to an online course on “The State of Canada’s Constitutional Democracy,” featuring leading scholars in conversation with registrants on the major questions in Canadian constitutionalism today.
  6. The City University of London will hold a webinar on May 26 dealing with mapping the directions that European Union Law takes, marking the release of a special issue of the Journal of International and Comparative Law on the Future of EU law.
  7. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism welcomes all to register for an online seminar on June 12, 2020, to debate the question “Is the U.S. Constitution Broken?” featuring Mark Graber, Jamal Greene, Sanford Levinson, and Julie Suk.
  8. The IACL Research Group on Gender and Constitutions launched its Covid-19 observatory on the effects of the pandemic on gender equality. Scholars, practitioners and activists willing to contribute are invited to send small posts (1500-3000 words) in English, French or Spanish to
  9. The MacKell Chair in Federalism at the McGill University, Canada, is collecting sources on the intersection between federalism-writ-large and COVID-19.
  10. The Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) and Verfassungsblog will bring together internationally recognized experts in a three-part online discussion series to reflect on the unprecedented constitutional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic for states worldwide, and their regional and international cooperation. Next webinar on May 19.
  11. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the course “The Future of Liberal Democracy: Global Dialogues with Leading Scholars”. The six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on July 22, 2020.
  12. Católica Law Review invites submissions, including articles and case notes, closely connected to the subject “Public Law in Times of Crisis” for inclusion in Volume V, issue 1. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2020.
  13. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites participants to register for the online course “The Theory and Design of Constitutional Change”. This six-week course will be held live on Zoom starting on June 1, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Antonia Baraggia and Giuseppe Martinico, Who is the Master of the Treaties? The Compact Theory in Karlsruhe, Dritti Comparati
  2. Gaurav Mukherjee, Social Rights and Covid-19, IACL-IADC Blog
  3. Stephen Sedley, Waspish Civilities: The Case for a Supreme Court, London Review of Books
  4. Yuvraj Joshi, Harvard’s Affirmative Action Program Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect, Slate
  5. David R. Cameron, German Constitutional Court rejects European Court of Justice ruling on bond purchases as EU heads into “historic recession,” Yale MacMillan Centre
  6. Silvana Sciarra, European Social Policy in the Covid-19 Crisis, IACL-IADC Blog
  7. Marco Dani, Joana Mendes, Agustín José Menendez, Michael Wilkinson, Harm Schepel, Edoardo Chiti, At the End of the Law: A Moment of Truth for the Eurozone and the EU, Verfassungsblog
  8. Zaid Al-Ali, Algeria’s Draft Constitution 2020, IACL-IADC Blog
  9. Tom Gerald Daly, Democracy and the Global Emergency – Shared Experiences, Starkly Uneven Impacts, Verfassungsblog
  10. Dragoș Călin, The appointment of top prosecutors in Romania: minimizing the role of the judiciary, European Law Blog
  11. Arianna Vedaschi, Italy and COVID-19: A Call for an “Italian Emergency Constitution?,” Just Security


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