Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Claudia Marchese, Research Fellow in Comparative Public Law at the University of Florence (Italy)

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. In an order of 27 May 2020, the First Senate of the German Federal Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional § 113 of the Telecommunications Act and several ordinary federal laws on the grounds that, enabling security authorities to obtain information from telecommunications enterprises, these provisions violate the right to informational self-determination and the right to the privacy of telecommunications (Art. 10(1) of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG).
  2. In Croatia Covid-19 patients were allowed to vote by proxy in the parliamentary elections held on 5 July 2020 after the Constitutional Court stated that the State Electoral Commission has the duty to ensure the possibility to exercise the right to vote to all citizens, including Covid-19 patients.
  3. On 14 July 2020 the Austrian Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional certain provisions introducing restrictions on access to public places provided by the Covid- 19 Measures Act.
  4. U.S Supreme Court declined to overturn a federal appeals court’s decision that blocked Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in election until they have repaid all fines and fees they own.
  5. The Italian Constitutional Court, through the Order no. 132/2020, postponed deciding a question concerning the custodial sentence envisaged for libel to provide the Legislator with an opportunity to approve a new legislation regarding the balance between freedom of press and protection of reputation.

In the News

  1. On 21 July 2020 it was reached an agreement, at the end of the special meeting of the European Council, concerning the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and a specific Recovery effort under Next Generation EU (NGEU).
  2. On 3 July 2020, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin signed Decree No. 445 “On the Official Publication of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as Amended”. The 206 amendments to the Constitution cover a wide range of issues.
  3. On 18 June 2020, the German parliament passed a reform which extends Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) by placing a reporting obligation on social network platforms which requires them to report certain types of “criminal content” to the Federal Criminal Police Office.
  4. On 21 July 2020 the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) presented to Parliament a bill that introduce severe restrictions on social media and internet freedoms in the country. The bill was passed by the Justice Committee of Turkey’s parliament on 24 July.
  5. German state of Baden Wuerttemberg has banned burqas and face veils in schools on the reason that they would not belong to a free society.

New Scholarship

  1. R. Albert, America’s Amoral Constitution (explaining that the United States Constitution derives its legitimacy not from morality but from a peculiarly amoral code rooted in outcome-neutrality)
  2. A. Baraggia, C. Fasone, L.P. Vanoni (eds.), New Challenges to the Separation of Powers (forthcoming 2020) (This book guides readers through the transformation of the separation of powers in national contexts).
  3. S. Bartole, The Internationalisation of Constitutional Law. A View from the Venice Commission (2020) (This book illustrate the work of the Venice Commission to show how constitutional law in Europe  has become increasingly borderless).
  4. H. Krunke, B. Thorarensen, The Nordic Constitutions. A comparative and Contextual Study (2020) (This volume analyses the Nordic constitutional systems of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in a comparative context).
  5. Klodian Rado, The use of non-domestic legal sources in Supreme Court of Canada judgments: Is this the judicial slowbalization of the court?, Utrecht Law Review, 2020, 16(1) (This article examines all the 1223 judgments issued by the SCC between 2000 and 2016 and offers a comprehensive picture of citations of all forms of non-domestic legal sources).
  6. C. Fasone, D. Gallo, J. Wouters, Re-connecting Authority and Democratic Legitimacy in the EU: Introductory Remarks, European Papers, 2020, Vol. No. 5, No 1 (This article analyses the relationship between authority and democratic legitimacy in the European Union).
  7. Juan C. Herrera, La idea de un derecho común en América Latina a la luz de sus críticas prácticas, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2020-25 (This study deepens the idea of a Common Law in Latin America, focusing on the practical scope and the challenges faced by the region in moving from the national to the supranational sphere).
  8. R. Ibrido, C. Marchese, Integration policies, practices and experiences: Italy Country Report, Respond Working Paper 2020/54, June 2020 (This work explores the Italian model of integration by looking at the legal, political and institutional framework. It deepens five thematic topics: labour market, education, housing and spatial integration, psychosocial health, citizenship, belonging and civic participation).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School announce a call for abstracts concerning “COVID-19 and the Law: Disruption, Impact, and Legacy” with the aim of examining the COVID-19 pandemic from several perspectives, but especially focusing on its relationship with health law and policy. The authors of selected papers will be invited to present their work at a virtual conference. The deadline to submit abstracts is 14 August 2020.
  2. An international and pluri-disciplinary symposium concerning “Coronavirus – Covid-19 Constitutional, political and social threats and challenges in France and the United Kingdom” will be hosted by the Panthéon-Assas University (Paris – France) on 27 May 2021 and the Centre for British Politics and Government, King’s College (London – UK), on 10 June 2021. The deadline for proposals is 15 September 2020.
  3. The theme of the 9th Law and Economic Conference, organized by the University of Lucerne together with the University of Notre-Dame at the University of Lucerne on 16-17 April 2021, will be “Law and Economics of the 2020 Coronavirus Crisis”. To submit a paper for this conference, you are kindly requested to send a proposal (1-2 pages) and a short CV no later than 15 September 2020.
  4. The EULab – Summer School on Labour Migration in the European Union, in cooperation with the Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development of the National Research Council of Italy (IRISS-CNR), promotes a call for papers concerning: “Labour Migration in the time of COVID-19: Inequalities and Perspectives for Change”. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 30 September 2020.
  5. The University of Trento and the Centre for Religious Studies at Bruno Kessler Foundation are organizing a workshop on the legal recognition of non-traditional families, “A shared interest in family legal pluralism: The potential of constructive alliances between religious and queer groups“, to be held virtually on September 18, 2020. Registration is mandatory.
  6. The Oxford Seminars in Jurisprudence invite papers on topics related to the philosophy of law. It is possible to submit fully anonymised papers (less than 12,000 words, footnotes included), within 10 August 2020. Papers will be selected by members of the University of Oxford legal philosophy group based on blind review.

Elsewhere Online

  1. D. R. Cameron, After five-day marathon, EU leaders agree on €750 billion recovery plan, Yale MacMillan Centre.
  2. T. Besley, S. Dray, Free media help combat the spread of COVID -19, LSE blog.
  3. A. Carlà, A new kind of insecurity: how the pandemic has affected minorities, LSE blog.
  4. A. Jakab, Moral Dilemmas of Teaching Constitutional Law in an Autocratizing Country, Verfassungsblog.
  5. M. Hailbronner, R. Rubio Marín, Parity laws in Germany – Caving in to Gender Backlash or Consolidating Women’s Citizenship Status?, Verfassungsblog.
  6. Jeffrey Omari, Undercutting Internet Governance in Brazil, Verfassungsblog.


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