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 India agreed to hear a plea to curb the rising pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
  2. The Supreme Court of India refused to lift a ban on the industrial use of petroleum coke in several states.
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed an appellate decision that halted the execution of a prisoner sentenced for killing a police Officer.
  4. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted a challenge against the California law that requires pregnancy centers to inform clients about abortion and contraception services provided by the state.
  5. The Supreme Court of Kenya affirmed the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
  6. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ordered the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to prepare a detailed strategy to guarantee the social grants payment to recipients. After filing the initial detailed plan by early December, Sassa will have to report to the Court monthly on the progress achieved in implementing the plan.  
  7. The Constitutional Court of Colombia upheld most of the provisions of a constitutional amendment that established the so-called Especial Jurisdiction for Peace instituted in the framework of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrillas.
  8. The Supreme Court of Cambodia dissolved the main opposition party and barred its members from politics during 5 years.
  9. The Constitutional Court of Zambia confirmed its previous decision that the ministers who remained in office after the 2016 Parliament’s dissolution must return back the salaries they earned while overstaying in the office.     

In the News

  1. In Australia, 61.6% of voters in a non-binding national postal survey approved a proposition to allow same-sex-couples marriage.
  2. The Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Surendra Kumar Sinha, resigned his position amidst criticisms of the Court’s recent decision that struck down the 16th amendment to the Constitution.
  3. The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kennyata, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss several claims against his recent election as President, and to remove several pieces of evidence.
  4. The Samoan Parliament is considering a constitutional amendment that would establish a term limit to the Head of State’s tenure.  
  5. Uganda’s opposition disagrees with the proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to remove the maximum-age limit to be President.
  6. The Superior Court of Québec heard arguments supporting the temporary suspension of a Bill that establishes the compulsory removal of any face-covering element when receiving or giving a public service.
  7. Viktor Horodovenko has been appointed as new Justice of the Ukrainian Constitutional Court amid several criticisms.
  8. The Minister of Justice of South Africa declared that the 20-year limit to prosecute sexual-assault crimes is unconstitutional.
  9. A special committee of the South Korean National Assembly will hold a hearing on November 22, 2017, to appoint the new Constitutional Court’s Chief Justice.  
  10. Kukurlopita Marino Pitia, Judge of the Supreme Court of South Sudan, resigned to his post alleging lack of judicial independence.
  11. After its triumph in the recent Japanese parliamentarian elections, the LDP plans to present an amendment-package proposal in January.
  12. The National Assembly of Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment that establishes new electoral delimitations of constituencies.
  13. The European Commission expressed concerns over Poland’s plans to modify its judiciary.
  14. The Peruvian President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, promulgated a bill that authorizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
  15. The Attorney General and the Minister of Justice of Israel blocked a legislative proposal that exempted security prisoners from the Supreme Court’s ruling that increased the individual living area allotted to each prisoner.
  16. European union Foreign Ministers approved economic sanctions and an arms embargo against Venezuela.  
  17. The Kurdistan Regional Government declared that it will abide by the Supreme Court of Iraq’s decision that held that no region may unilaterally secede from the country.
  18. The Russian Duma passed a law that regulates and imposes certain requirements on foreign media.   
  19. The deposed Venezuelan Chief Attorney, Luisa Ortega, filed a claim against President Nicolas Maduro before the International Criminal Court.    

New Scholarship

  1. Kevin Crow, A Taxonomy of Proportionality in International Courts (2017) (arguing that the application of proportionality in the international judicial arena has been problematic and has yielded inconsistent outcomes in several non-domestic courts)
  2. Francisco J. Urbina, A Critique of Proportionality and Balancing (2017) (offering a comprehensive critique of the proportionality test as a method for resolving human or constitutional rights disputes)
  3. Franz Werro & Helge Dedek, What We Write About When We Write About Comparative Law: Pierre Legrand’s Critique in Discussion. Preface, 65 American Journal of Comparative Law (2017) (opening an issue of the American Journal of Comparative Law entirely devoted to the analysis and critique of Legrand’s views on the proper methodology of comparative law)
  4. Kerstin Braun, How Much Veil Is Too Much Veil: On the Constitutionality and Advisability of Face Veil Bans for German Public School Students, 18 German Law Journal (2017) (analyzing whether niqab-wearing students in German schools can be expelled and examining the law reform in this area from public, international and comparative law perspectives)
  5. Ioanna Tourkochoriti, Comparative Rights Jurisprudence: An Essay on Methodologies Law and Method (forthcoming 2017) (discussing three possible approaches towards comparative rights jurisprudence and examining the challenges that arise from using them)
  6. Samuel Issacharoff, Comparative Constitutional Law as a Window on Democratic Institutions, in Erin Delaney & Rosalind Dixon (eds.), Elgar Research Handbook on Comparative Judicial Review (forthcoming 2018) (presenting a non-rights-based approach to comparative constitutional law that centers its attention on the institutional role of courts as stabilizers of new democracies)
  7. Malcolm Langford & Anna F. S. Russell (eds.), The Human Right to Water. Theory, Practice and Prospects (2017) (analyzing, descriptively and prescriptively, the rise of the human right to water in human rights theory and practice)
  8. Richard Albert, Single-Subject Constitutional Amendments (2017) (suggesting that amending the Constitution of Canada could be easier under a new single-subject rule that would prohibit omnibus amendment bills)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Faculty of Law of the Eötvös Loránd University and the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) invite submissions for their international conference on “The Power of Public Law in the 21st Century,” to be held on April 20, 2018. The deadline for abstracts is January 10, 2018. This Conference is organized on the occasion of the inauguration of the Central and Eastern European Regional Chapter of the ICON-S.
  2. The Asser Institute and the Research Group on “Constitutional Responses to Terrorism” within the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) organizes a conference on “Human Dignity and Human Security in Times of Terrorism: International (Human Rights) Law Challenges and Opportunities,” to be held on December 14, 2017, at The Hague, Netherlands.
  3. Koç Üniversitesi Law School convenes a research forum on “Individual Application and Constitutional Courts: Reflections on Human Rights Interpretation and Judicial System,” which will be held on 24 November, 2017.
  4. Radzyner Law School at IDC Herzliya, Leiden University, and The Knesset Legal Department organize a conference on “Law and Time,”  to be held on December 6-7, 2017, at the IDC Campus and the Knesset.
  5. Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law invites submissions to the workshop on “New Constitutionalism? New Form of Democracy and Rule of Law beyond Liberalism,” to take place on July 12-13, 2018. The deadline for abstracts is January 15, 2018.
  6. Princeton University, the University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the American Society of Comparative Law invite scholars to submit their contributions to the next annual Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop, to be held on February 23-24, 2018, at Princeton University. The deadline for submission is December 1, 2017.
  7. The Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” hosts a conference on “Constitutional Cultures in Comparative Perspective,” which will take place on November 22-24, 2018, in Bonn, Germany.

Elsewhere Online

  1. The EUI Constitutionalism and politics Blog organised an online symposium on “Populist Constitutionalism,” with contributions by: Julian Scholtes, Théo Fournier, Gábor Halmai, Paul Blokker, Bojan Bugarič, and Kim Lane Scheppele.
  2. Fernando Casal Bértoa & José Rama Caamaño, No, the populist surge does not mean European democracy is collapsing, The Washington Post
  3. Michael Broyde, Sharia courts in America? OUPblog
  4. Henry Louis Gates Jr & Larry S. Gibson, From segregation to the Supreme Court: the life and work of Thurgood Marshall, OUPblog
  5. Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, A Constitution of Fear, Verfassungsblog
  6. Nicholas Shrubsole, The impossibility of Indigenous religious freedom, Policy Options
  7. Argelia Queralt, President, España Aprueba Los Estándares Europeos De Derechos Humanos, Agenda Publica
  8. Álvaro Imbernón, The Catalonia (constitutional) conundrum is here to stay, ConstitutionNet
  9. Cheryl Saunders, One-step back for indigenous recognition in Australia: But it’s not over yet, ConstitutionNet
  10. Luke Beck, High Court Special Leave Decisions: Constitutional Problems with the Lack of Reasons, AUSPUBLAW
  11. Jacques Hartmann, A Danish Crusade for the Reform of the European Court of Human Rights, EJIL: Talk!
  12. Andrea Martin, The critical balance — protecting your name vs free expression, Irish legal News
  13. Elizabeth Farries, Liberty, the ICCL, and other NGO groups’ landmark challenge against the UK Government’s mass surveillance, Human Rights in Ireland
  14. Richard Lang, The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Clause 4(2)(b), a Reply to Downie and Further Reflections, UK Constitutional Law Association
  15. Alberto Coddou Mc Manus, Opinion polls and constitutional issues: the case of Chile, The Constitution Unit


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