Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Vicente F. Benítez R., Constitutional Law Professor, Universidad de La Sabana (Colombia) and LL.M. student at NYU

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 Colombian Constitutional Court held that the Atrato River possesses rights, and ordered the Government to take measures to avoid its destruction by illegal mining.
  2. The Romanian Constitutional Court upheld a statute that prohibits people with criminal records to be Government members.
  3. The Constitutional Court of Kuwait rejected a claim that challenged the validity of the November 2016 parliamentary elections. The Court accepted only one petition out of 52, replacing one MP.
  4. The Indian Supreme Court hears a challenge to biometric authentication system.
  5. The Indian Supreme Court upheld death sentences for four men who fatally raped a woman in 2012.  
  6. The South African Constitutional Court holds a hearing on the conditions for a vote of no confidence against the President, concerning to the use of a secret ballot.
  7. The Constitutional Court of Moldova partially struck down a provision that allowed the Government and Parliament to annually adjust the judiciary’s salaries on a discretionary basis.
  8. The Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled unconstitutional the Russian military occupation of its territory, in the interpretation of Article 11 of the Constitution (Application 37b/2014) on permanent neutrality of Moldova.
  9. The Supreme Court of Nepal reinstated Chief Justice Sushila Karki.
  10. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Miami can sue to banks over predatory loans.

In the News

  1. The President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro issued a decree calling for a constituent assembly to enact a new constitution, in the wake of the daily demonstrations against his regime.
  2. The National Assembly of Zimbabwe is to discuss an amendment proposal that would establish a presidential power to appoint the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice without the intervention of the Judicial Service Commission.
  3. The President of Poland Andrzej Duda called for a referendum, arguing that the people have the right to update and decide their constitutional arrangements.
  4. A prominent Thai human rights lawyer was criminally charged for allegedly insulting members of the royal family.
  5. The U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to allow churches more opportunity to engage in politics.
  6. The Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union issued a statement on Polish authorities’ interferences with the judiciary.
  7. Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy protection under Article 3 of PROMESA, a special law passed to handle its significant debt.
  8. Georgian Parliament passed draft amendments to the Constitution.

New Scholarship

  1. Larry Catá Backer, The Crisis of Secular Liberalism and the Constitutional State in Comparative Perspective: Religion, Rule of Law, and Democratic Organization of Religion Privileging States, Cornell International Law Journal (2015) (discussing the “return” of religion to the public sphere in a comparative perspective)
  2. Rosalind Dixon & David Landau, Tiered Constitutional Design, George Washington Law Review (forthcoming); FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 839 (2017) (exploring a “tiered constitutional design” model, and the ways in which it could help combat anti-democratic tendencies in contemporary constitutionalism)
  3. Oran Doyle & David Kenny, Constitutional Change and Interest Group Politics: Ireland’s Children’s Rights Referendum, in Richard Albert, Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou (eds.), The Foundations and Traditions of Constitutional Amendment (2017) (scrutinizing a case of formal constitutional change to judicial doctrine, and the problems of public understanding involved)
  4. Julio Ríos-Figueroa & Paloma Aguilar, Justice Institutions in Autocracies, Democratization (2017) (discussing the role of justice institutions in autocracies, and offering a theoretical framework to analyse their function)
  5. Tracy Robinson & Arif Bulkan, Constitutional Comparisons by a Supranational Court in Flux: The Privy Council and Caribbean Bills of Rights, The Modern Law Review (2017) (examining how the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council makes comparisons to solve idiosyncratic questions that arise across multiple constitutions within its jurisdiction, and particularly the opening section of the Caribbean constitutional bills of rights)
  6. Joshua Segev, The (unified?) Fiduciary Theory of Judging: Hedgehogs, Foxes and Chameleons, Faulkner Law Review (2017) (offering an account of the judge-as-fiduciary model in Anglo-American constitutional tradition)
  7. Silvia Suteu, Eternity clauses in post-conflict and post-authoritarian constitution-making: Promise and limits, Global Constitutionalism (2017) (reflecting on the challenges and opportunities for eternity clauses in transitional regime constitution-making)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Institute for Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research in Bolzano-Bozen (South Tyrol, Italy) invites interested scholars to apply for the Federal Scholar in Residence Program that aims to enhance the comparative study of federalism and regionalism. The deadline for applications is July 1, 2017.
  2. The INTRAlaw (INternational and TRAnsnational tendencies in LAW) Research Centre invites submissions for its forthcoming conference on “Law in transition – Interacting legal orders and changing actors,” to be held on September 28-29, 2017, in Aarhus, Denmark. The deadline for proposals is June 1, 2017.
  3. The University of Milan, in association with the Associazione Italiana di Diritto Comparato (AIDC), the Diritto Pubblico Comparato ed Europeo Association, and the Younger Comparativists Committee (YCC) convenes a conference on “The Separation of Powers: A Global Constitutional Dialogue,” which will take place on May 22, 2017.  
  4. The University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge organizes a conference on “The frontiers of Public Law” that will take place from 11-13 July, 2018. The deadline for submissions is August 25, 2017.   
  5. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law (YCC) welcomes submissions to fill a panel on “New Perspectives in Comparative Law” to be held at the Society’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., on October 26-28, 2017. The deadline for submissions is June 26, 2017.
  6. Cornell Law School accepts papers for its “Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies” to be held on October 13-14, 2017. The submission deadline is June 23, 2017.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Richard Albert, Haiti should relinquish its sovereignty, The Boston Globe
  2. David Cameron, Beneath the Macron landslide, a disenchanted and divided France, Yale MacMillan Center
  3. Sanford Levinson, The further decay of our constitutional order: Reflections on the passage of Trumpcare, Balkinization
  4. Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Living at Times of Politics of Resentment: Of Unconstitutional Capture, Hope for Constitutional Fidelity and Challenge of “Doing Europe”, Hungarian Europe Society Blog
  5. Gábor Halmai, Much Ado About Nothing? Legal and Political Schooling for the Hungarian Government, Verfassungsblog
  6. Bal Kama, Christianising Samoa’s constitution and religious freedom in the Pacific, Devpolicy Blog
  7. Marina Aksenova, Achieving Justice Through Restorative Means in Colombia: New Developments in Implementing the Peace Deal, EJIL: Talk!
  8. Dan Westbury, Clive Palmer and the bankruptcy ‘Star Chamber’? The granting of powers of inquiry to courts under Ch III of the Constitution, AUSPUBLAW
  9. Ito Peng, Two East Asian Approaches to Care, OxHR
  10. Pierre de Vos, Why it is unlikely the court will review and set aside the cabinet reshuffle, Constitutionally Speaking


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