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. The Constitutional Court of South Africa has issued directions that former president Jacob Zuma must file an affidavit addressing what penalty the Court should impose if he is found guilty of the alleged contempt of court. This statement of the Constitutional Court was delivered in the judgement Secretary of the Judicial Commission of inquiry into Allegation of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud In the Public Sector Including Organ of State v Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
  2. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Tandon v. Newsom which blocked California’s COVID-related ban on religious gatherings in private homes. 
  3. The Polish prime minister asked the country’s Constitutional Tribunal to decide whether the Polish constitution has primacy over EU law.
  4. The Italian Constitutional Court, in the decision no. 33/2021, urged the legislator to intervene in order to regulate in the event of surrogacy, a practice still prohibited in Italy, the relationship between the minor and the person who carried out a parenting project abroad through this practice.

In the News

  1. On 9 April 2021 President Biden issued an executive order forming the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform.
  2. The European Commission is urging the 27 member states to speed up the ratification process of the EU’s €750 billion recovery fund.
  3. On 17 March 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a Regulation on a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate free movement in the EU. The Digital Green Certificate provides for the creation of free digital or paper certificates on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and recovery, and would be limited to the pandemic. The Plenary agreed on 25 March to deal with the legislative proposals on the Digital Green Certificate under the urgent procedure.
  4. On 24 March 2021, the European Commission introduced a measure to accelerate the authorisation of adapted COVID-19 vaccines.
  5. Brazil’s Senate created a Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI) to evaluate President’s Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic
  6. In Japan  the Sapporo District Court ruled that the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

New Scholarship

  1. Richard Albert, A Theory of American Constitutional Time, 101 Boston University Law Review (forthcoming 2021) (reviewing Jack Balkin’s “The Cycles of Constitutional Time”)
  2. Martha F. Davis, Morten Kjaerum, Amanda Lyons (eds.), Research Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty (2021)  (exploring the nexus between human rights, poverty and inequality as a critical lens for understanding and addressing key challenges of the coming decades)
  3. Richard Devlin, Sheila Wildeman (eds.), Disciplining Judges. Contemporary Challenges and Controversies (2021) (providing critical analyses of judicial complaints and discipline systems in thirteen diverse jurisdictions)
  4. G.R. Shaikhutdinova, Contemporary Russian Federalism (2020) (examining the evolution of federal relationships from an asymmetric treaty-constitutional federation to a de facto unitary state)
  5. Adam Shinar, Democratic Backsliding, Subsidized Speech, and the New Majoritarian Entrenchment (2021) American Journal of Comparative Law (arguing that democratic backsliding is operationalized through selective government funding of private speech)
  6. G. Zaccaroni, Equality and Non-Discrimination in the EU (2021) (discussing the fundamental role played by equality and non-discrimination in the EU legal order)

 Calls for Papers and Announcement

  1. The Latin American Law Review invites previously unpublished papers in Spanish or English for issue N. 8 (2022), scheduled for publication in February 2022. The deadline for the submission is 28 May 2021.
  2. The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights (University of Oxford) together with the Centre for Comparative and Transnational Law (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and the Asian Law Centre (Melbourne Law School) are pleased to announce a workshop on “Issues in Public Law in South Asia.” The organisers have scheduled the workshop for 10-12 June 2022. The deadline to submit abstracts is 30 July 2021.
  3. The University of Bergamo organizes the Italian-Polish international conference on “Historical-comparative aspects of European public law: the Polish Constitution of 1921,” to be held on 23 April 2021.
  4. Droit Public Comparé – Comparative Public Law (DPC – CPL), an open-access peer-reviewed journal, is issuing a call for papers for original studies in comparative public law. Articles may be written in either English or French.
  5. The International Academy of Comparative Law has announced a call for National Special Rapporteurs in view of the General Congress to be held in Asunción on 23-28 October 2022.
  6. The Yale Law Journal invites papers for a special issue on the Law of the Territories. The deadline for submissions is 15 July 2021.
  7. The Forced Migration Review invites submissions for its 68th issue. The issue will include a major feature on Externalisation. The deadline for submissions is 7 June 2021.
  8. The University of Bergamo organizes the Italian-Polish international conference on “Historical-Comparative Aspects of European Public Law: The Polish Constitution of 1921,” to be held on April 23, 2021.
  9. The University of Milan organizes an international conference on “The Doctor-Patient Relationship in Times of Pandemic Between Care Needs and Scarce Resources: Challenges and Opportunities,” to be held online on April 29-30, 2021.
  10. JUSTIN (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) with ICON-S CEE Chapter hosts an online conference on recent challenges to the separation of powers (court-packing, fourth branches, judicial self-governance, COVID-19, and judicial review) on April 21-22, 2021. The registration deadline was extended until Tuesday 20 April 2021.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Mark A. Graber, COVID-19, the United States and Evidence-Based Politics, Verfassungsblog
  2. Ciara Staunton, Data Sharing and the Public Interest in a Digital Pandemic, Verfassungsblog
  3. Alice Donald, Philip Leach, Human Rights and COVID-19: Forging Recovery After a Pandemic of Abuses?, Verfassungsblog
  4. Indrė Balčaitė, Christian Gilberti, Recurring Coups in Myanmar and Thailand: military as monarchy and the military-monarchy nexus, LSE blog
  5. Carlos Cruz Infante, Roland Benedikter, Does Covid-19 spell the end for regional integration? Comparing Latin America and the EU in the age of vaccine nationalism, LSE blog
  6. Daniella Lock, Fiona de Londras, Pablo Grez Hidalgo, Parliamentary Engagement with Human Rights during COVID-19 and the Independent Human Rights Act Review, UKCLA blog


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