Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Eman Muhammad Rashwan, PhD. Candidate in the European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE), Hamburg University, Germany; Assistant Lecturer of Public Law, Cairo 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. The First Senate of the German Federal Constitutional Court held that the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst – BND) in its current form regarding surveillance powers over foreign telecommunications violate fundamental rights of the Basic Law. The court ruled that the challenged provisions may continue to apply until the end of 2021 in order to allow the legislator to enact new provisions taking into account the constitutional requirements.
  2. The Constitutional Court of Latvia found unconstitutional the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Puce’ (For Development/For) decree halting survey of local residents of the Ikskile Region on the pending administrative-territorial reform.
  3. The US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the release of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury material to the Democratic-led House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee has been attempting to obtain the material, which is collected from witnesses about President Trump.
  4. The Supreme Court of India refused on May 20 to stay the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) yet again on a fresh plea that it was inconsistent with the Assam Accord, which was designed to prevent the local Assamese from becoming a demographic minority in their states.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that preventing a prisoner from sending letters to civil organizations and public authorities violates the convict’s right to communication and makes him entitled to non-pecuniary damages.

In the News

  1. Two Afghani political rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who both declared themselves the winner of last September’s presidential elections, could finally reach a power-sharing agreement. According to this agreement, which was signed on May 17, Ghani is confirmed as President, while Abdullah is to lead the newly established National Reconciliation High Council; the two also share 50-50 authority over cabinet appointment and other responsibilities. The agreement also proposes constitutional amendments that should undertake an electoral reform in Afghanistan to avert a future crisis.
  2. Albanian President Ilir Meta proposed a 14-point “peace” plan regarding the electoral and judicial reform in the country. Among the main points, Meta highlighted the establishment of Political Council, which is to appoint a Chief Negotiator for EU accession as well as decide unanimously for any constitutional or legal amendments.
  3. Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) asked on May 21, the South African Constitutional Court to issue an order directing Parliament and the Executive to resume their duties regarding initiating, preparing, considering and passing legislation to regulate the Covid-19 crisis management. The Foundation fears that in such a situation, the Minister of Cooperative and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has much power.
  4. The Parliament of Angola approved changes to the Civil Protection Law on May 20 to face the COVID-19 threat. The amendments enable the enforcement of measures outside a scenario of the state of emergency, which is currently in force in the country.
  5. On May 21, the Philippines’ House Committee on constitutional amendments to the 1987 constitution halted its sessions in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. Days after the Malaysian Parliament put off a vote on the opposition challenge against the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister, Malaysian King declared on May 18 that this appointment was proper and constitutional.

New Scholarship

  1. Maja Sahadžić, Can Asymmetrical Constitutional Arrangements Provide an Alternative Answer for the Disputed? Bringing Constitutional Asymmetries into Play in the Middle East Peace Process, Perspective on Federalism (2020) (exploring constitutional asymmetries as a mechanism for accommodating diversity in the Middle East peace process)
  2. Alan Greene, Derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic: If not Now, When?, Forthcoming, European Human Rights Law Review (2020) (arguing in favor of the use of de jure declared states of emergency in accordance with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic)
  3. Oren Tamir, Constitutional Norm Entrepreneuring, Forthcoming, 80 Maryland Law Review (2020) (answering how precisely constitutional norms change and ultimately collapse, and whether there is something actors can do to influence these processes, and then implementing the article’s framework to the present moment of democratic recession, both in general and in the United States)
  4. Melissa Crouch, Pre‐emptive Constitution‐Making: Authoritarian Constitutionalism and the Military in Myanmar, 54(2) Law & Society Review (2020) (explaining how pre‐emptive constitution‐making limits a transition to liberal democracy and contributes to authoritarian‐regime resilience, and identifying “military‐state” constitutionalism as a variation of authoritarian constitutionalism in Myanmar)
  5. Sujit Choudhry and Mark Tushnet (eds.), “Symposium: Participatory Constitution-Making,”  International Journal of Constitutional Law (2020) (featuring different dimensions of the participatory constitution-making, including Icelandic constitutional process, the role of citizens and representative elites, women and participatory constitutionalism, and Fiji case in a comparative context)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The School of Law of the Singapore Management University invites applications for a virtual conference on “Global Public-Private Law Approaches to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which will be held on September 10, 2020 (abstracts due June 15, 2020). The conference will explore in detail the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic within the public and private law spheres, to further comparative insight and learning into how different legal systems around the world have grappled with particular public and private law aspects of the pandemic.
  2. The IACL-AIDC organized Research Group “Gender and Constitutions,” which hosts the Observatory on COVID-19 effects 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
  3. The University of Milan invites young scholars to submit papers for its webinar on “Academic Freedom under Pressure? New State and Social Challenges in a German-Italian Comparison,” to be held on September 24-25, 2020. To answer the call, the applicant should submit an abstract of 200-300 words by June 15, 2020.
  4. 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.
  5. The Peter Mackell Chair in Federalism at the Faculty of Law, McGill University, is collecting sources on the intersection between federalism-writ-large and COVID-19. The compendium is updated weekly, and the team welcomes relevant articles, links, etc. at
  6. 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.
  7. The invites abstracts for an expert workshop on the State of Emergency and COVID-19 in the MENA Region. The Workshop will take place online via video-conference over two consecutive days. The output from the Expert Workshop will be published in an edited volume with an international publisher or a special issue in a journal. The deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2020.
  8. 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.
  9. The Editorial Committee of Public Law Journal welcomes submissions to the journal’s ‘analysis’ section dealing with issues relating to the public law dimensions of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Pieces to be considered for the January 2021 issue should be submitted to the editors by the end of June 2020. Pieces to be considered for inclusion in the April 2021 issue should be submitted by the end of September 2020.
  10. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism presents a free live online seminar on “The Law Faculty Hiring Process: Insights from Hiring Chairs and New Hires.” This free seminar will be held live on Zoom on Friday, June 19, 2020, from 2:00 pm EDT until 3:30 pm EDT. The Zoom details will be provided to all course registrants.
  11. Hamburg Institute of Law & Economics welcomes participants for its digital webinar on “The Practice of “Paralleljustiz” among Arab “Clans” in Germany: Economic Resources, Family Networks and Social Capital.” The webinar is one of the Hamburg Lectures series and will be held on May 27, 2020.
  12. 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.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Foluso Adegalu, The right to peaceful assembly and the COVID-19 pandemic: a threatened right; an ironic connection, AfricLaw
  2. Mary Hui, While the world wasn’t looking, Beijing re-wrote the rules in Hong Kong at startling speed, QUARTZ
  3. Oliver Garner, Squaring the PSPP Circle; How a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ can reconcile the supremacy of EU law with respect for national constitutional identity, Verfassungsblog
  4. Andreas Schueller, Tools to Violate International Law: Armed Drones in Germany and the Government’s Legal Position, OpinioJuris
  5. Rory Fraser, Guyanese must commit to dealing with long term political crisis that has blighted country for 50 years, Stabroek News
  6. Victor Paul Borg, Rule of law reforms reflect Prime Minister’s reluctance to shift power, the shift
  7. Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Won’t Block Surgery for Transgender Inmate, The New York Times
  8. Oreste Pollicino, Fighting Covid-19 and Protecting Privacy Under EU Law — A Proposal Looking at the Roots of European Constitutionalism, IACL-AIDC BLOG


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