Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

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

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 Kenya explained the detailed reasons that led the Court to declare the nullification of the last presidential election.
  2. The Supreme Court of Israel rejected a petition seeking to obtain a Court’s order to force the Police to investigate Prime Minister Netanyahu on the so-called Submarine Affair.   
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of a death-row inmate in Georgia in a divided decision.
  4. The Czech Constitutional Court dismissed a claim filed by a politician who alleged biases in the Supreme Court’s investigation against him.
  5. The Supreme Court of Japan upheld the 2016 election of the Upper House of Parliament.
  6. The Supreme Court of Thailand sentenced former PM Yingluck Shinawatra to 5 years in prison.
  7. The U.K. Supreme Court will consider Northern Ireland’s prohibition on abortion on 24-26 October 2017.
  8. The Supreme Court of Brazil held that imparting religious education in state schools is constitutional as long as students are allowed to decide whether they want to attend.
  9. The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that the attendance of Court’s members to an event celebrating the West Bank settlement was not required.

In the News

  1. U.S. President Donald Trump expanded the travel ban for foreign visitors to the United States.
  2. The Canadian Government joined the U.S. in imposing sanctions on high-ranking Venezuelan officials due to their anti-democratic behavior.
  3. Angela Merkel’s CDU retained the majority in the German Bundestag, while nationalist party AfD obtained 94 seats.
  4. The number of acquitted conscientious objectors to compulsory military service in South Korea has exponentially risen in 2017.
  5. The Venice Commission published its opinion on the draft Constitution of Georgia.
  6. The Parliament of Georgia approved several amendments to the Constitution, which would institute a parliamentary-based system.
  7. The opposition Socialist Party of Moldov launched a campaign to change Moldova’s parliamentary system into a presidential one in the wake of the Constitutional Court’s decision that struck down a referendum aimed at expanding the presidential attributions.  
  8. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda presented a draft proposal for reorganizing the National Council of the Judiciary. After a meeting with some MPs he modified some of his proposals.
  9. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, dissolved the Lower House of Parliament in order to call new elections in October.
  10. The ruling party of Uganda proposed a bill to remove age limits for being presidential candidate, allowing current President Museveni to run for the next elections.
  11. The Irish Government set May or June next year as possible dates to hold a referendum on the eighth amendment to the Constitution that prohibits abortion in most cases.
  12. French Political Party Republicans obtained a victory in the last Senatorial election, while Macron’s La République en march won less than 8 percent of the seats.
  13. In a referendum held on September 25, Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence from Iraq.
  14. In a recent referendum, Swiss voters rejected a plan for reforming the system of pensions.
  15. Catalonia held a referendum regarding its independence from Spain on October 1, 2017, amidst social tensions and police interventions against voters in some of the ballot-box areas.

New Scholarship

  1. Maurice Adams, Jaakko Husa & Marieke Oderkerk (eds.), Comparative Law Methodology (2017) (this two-volume book compiles and organizes some of the most relevant articles already published by leading scholars addressing methodological issues of comparative law)
  2. Angela K. Bourne & Fernando Casal Bértoa, Mapping ‘Militant Democracy’: Variation in Party Ban Practices in European Democracies (1945-2015) European Constitutional Law Review (2017) (offering an empirical account for party bans practices across 37 European countries after WWII and focusing on the legal and political contexts in which they happened)
  3. Reidar Maliks & Johan Karlsson Schaffer (eds.), Moral and Political Conceptions of Human Rights (2017) (debating the moral and political nature of Human Rights, and furthering this discussion in new areas such as socio-economic rights, indigenous rights, the rights of immigrants and the human rights responsibilities of corporations)
  4. Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri, Between power and submissiveness: constitutional adjudication in Latin America, in Rosalind Dixon & Tom Ginsburg (eds.), Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America (2017) (offering an introduction to help to make sense of the different experiences that constitutional courts in Latin America have had in controlling power, influencing policy, and protecting citizens’ rights)
  5. Ronojoy Sen, India’s Democracy at 70: The Disputed Role of the Courts Journal of Democracy (2017) (examining three aspects of the Supreme Court of India in the wake of the Indian democracy’s 70th anniversary: its struggle with other branches, its quest for judicial independence and the accusations of being an activist Court)
  6. Silvia Suteu, The Scottish independence referendum and the participatory turn in UK constitution-making: The move towards a constitutional convention Global Constitutionalism (2017) (assessing the possibility of calling a constitutional convention for the UK)

Special Announcements

  1. Professor Rebecca Cook (University of Toronto Faculty of Law) shared an analysis of the Chilean Constitutional Tribunal’s decision that upheld a statute that decriminalizes abortion in three cases.
  2. The Indian Journal of Constitutional & Administrative Law presents its inaugural issue to the academic community around the globe.
  3. The latest issue of the European Constitutional Law Review has just been published.

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The University of Münster calls for papers to its forthcoming conference on ‘Challenges for public law in modern regulatory states’, which will be held on March 2-3, 2008. The deadline for submissions is October 10, 2017.
  2. The Central and Eastern European Forum of Young Legal, Political and Social Theorists invites submissions for its 10th annual conference on ‘Constitutional Identity and Social Memories in Central and Eastern Europe’, to be held on May 3-4, 2018, at the Faculty of Law, West University of Timisoara, Romania. Abstracts should be submitted by 15 January 2018.
  3. The Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM) at Maastricht University convenes a Workshop on ‘Challenges and Opportunities for EU Parliamentary Democracy: Brexit and beyond’–which will take place on 18-19 January 2018–and invites interested scholars to submit proposals for papers by October 20, 2017.  
  4. The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) is organizing its 2018 General Conference to be held at the University of Hamburg on 22-25 August, 2018. The deadline for submitting section proposals is November 15, 2017, while paper and panel proposals should be sent by February 15, 2018.  
  5. Columbia Law School, the University of Southern California Center for Law, History & Culture, UCLA School of Law, Georgetown University Law School, Stanford Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania invite paper proposals for the annual meeting of the Law & Humanities Junior Scholar Workshop, to be held at Stanford Law School, on June 4 and 5, 2018. The submission deadline is January 5, 2018.
  6. The Israeli chapter of ICON-S and Radzyner Law School at IDC Herzliya convene the Fourth Annual Conference of ICON-S Israel to be held at IDC on March 11-12, 2008. Interested researchers can submit their panel or paper proposals by October 31, 2017.
  7. PluriCourts is organizing a workshop on ‘The political and legal theory of international courts and tribunals’ on June 18-19, 2018. The deadline for submitting abstracts is November 1, 2017.
  8. The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics invites submissions to its ‘Fifth Annual Oxford Animal Ethics Summer School’ on ‘Animal Ethics and the Law’ to be held on July 22-25, 2008. The deadline for submitting abstracts is January 1, 2018.
  9. KIMEP University’s School of Law is accepting proposals for its forthcoming ‘Central Asian Yearbook of International and Comparative Law’. The submission deadline is November 1, 2017.
  10. The Toronto Group for the Study of International, Transnational and Comparative Law invites contributions for its 11th Annual Conference on ‘Boundaries, Conflicts and Alliances: Interactions between International, Transnational and Comparative Law’, which will take place on March 1-2, 2018 at Osgoode Hall Law School. The deadline to email abstracts is November 5, 2017.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Richard Albert, Canada’s moment for self-reflection, not just celebration, Toronto Star
  2. Vincent Depaigne, Why we still believe in the state, OUPblog
  3. Thomas Fleiner, Decisions of the Swiss Voters and the Majority of the Cantons on September 24, 2017, Constitutional Change Blog
  4. David Gans, The Supreme Court’s New Term, Balkinization
  5. Javier Garcia Oliva, Why the Constitutional Treatment of Religion in Great Britain Matters in Religious Disputes, U.K. Const. L. Blog
  6. Benjamin N. Gedan, For Venezuela’s Sake, Dismantle the Organization of American States, The Wall Street Journal
  7. Samuel Issacharoff, Safeguarding Democratic Institutions, Verfassungsblog
  8. Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Understanding the Politics of Resentment, Verfassungsblog
  9. Raphael Minder, Catalonia’s Independence Referendum: What’s at Stake?, The New York Times
  10. Michela Palese, Independent costing of election programmes: lessons from the Netherlands, UCL The Constitution Unit
  11. Steven D. Schwinn, Another Reason Why Justice Gorsuch Matters: Public Sector Unions, Constitutional Law ProfBlog
  12. İlker Gökhan Şen, On Legal Aspects of the Independence Referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan, Verfassungsblog
  13. Amir Taheri, Khamenei Orders New Supervisory Body to Curtail Government, ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
  14. Cem Tecimer, Rethinking Turkish Secularism: Towards “Unofficial” Islamic Constitutionalism? Verfassungsblog
  15. Mila Versteeg, What Europe Can Teach America About Free Speech, The Atlantic


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