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 U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of an inmate who suffers from dementia.
  2. The Supreme Tribunal of Venezuela prevented the opposition coalition from participating in the upcoming presidential elections
  3. The Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that in order to proceed with the investiture of Carles Puigdemont as President of the Catalonian Government, he must be physically present at the swearing-in session in Barcelona, and count with a judge’s permission to attend. As a result, the Parliament of Catalonia decided to postpone the election of a new President.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Thailand agreed to analyze the constitutionality of the recent amendments to an anti-graft law.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Malta held that the right to remain silent is also applicable in proceedings conducted by parliamentary committees.
  6. The Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition seeking the deletion of several scenes from the film ‘Padmaavat’.
  7. The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria concluded that the Parliament’s refusal to accept MP Delyan Dobrev’s resignation is unconstitutional.
  8. The Federal Court of Malaysia ruled that religious conversion of minors, requires the consent of both parents.
  9. The Constitutional Court of Romania partially quashed a legal reform that sought to curtail the powers of an anti-corruption body and to suppress the presidential veto to the governmental appointment of senior prosecutors.
  10. The Constitutional Court of Zambia adjourned the examination of a petition regarding the eligibility of President Edgar Lungu as presidential candidate for the 2021 elections.
  11. The Constitutional Court of Slovenia held that the statutory provisions governing the financing and execution of referenda are unconstitutional.
  12. The Constitutional Court of Croatia dismissed a constitutional complaint filed by a public official who was sentenced in 2016 for war crimes committed in the 1990’s.

In the News

  1. The Canadian Government published the report drafted by the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments, regarding the appointment process of Justice Sheilah L. Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  2. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada proposed a policy to remove or amend inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information from online search engines, in an attempt to protect personal reputation.
  3. José Arturo Sierra, former President of the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice, was murdered on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
  4. Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, announced he will campaign for repealing the prohibition on abortion, which will be voted on at this summer’s referendum.
  5. Rodrigo Duterte, President of Philippines, declared that he wants the constitutional revision to the 1987 Constitution to be ready within this year.
  6. The South Sudanese National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) submitted to the Minister of Justice an amendment package aimed at making several existent security laws compatible with the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan signed in 2015.
  7. Romanian designated Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila, presented her newly-appointed cabinet members amidst protests.
  8. Russian President nominated Valery Zorkin as Chairman of the Constitutional Court.
  9. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that she has no plans to retire soon from the Court.
  10. The new Vice President of the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice criticized a judicial decision taken by the Court’s Civil Chamber that required a news outlet to reveal its sources.
  11. Ecuador prepares to hold a constitutional referendum on February 4, 2018. Although the referendum contains several questions, the most important one asks the electorate whether presidential term limits should be reinstated into the Constitution.
  12. Simplice Comlan Dato, Justice of the Constitutional Court of Benin, resigned his post.
  13. The incumbent President of Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, won the second round of the presidential election held on 26-27 January 2018.
  14. The Scottish Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe and the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government expressed concerns over the EU Withdrawal Bill, claiming that it allows the U.K. government to take control of previously devolved policy areas.
  15. The U.K. Lords Constitution Committee said that the EU Withdrawal Bill needs major amendments.
  16. The Cabinet Division of Bangladesh agreed to propose a constitutional amendment to extend the period of parliamentary seats reserved for female MPs from 10 to 25 years.
  17. Maldives’ opposition leaders petitioned the Supreme Court to suspend President Yameen Abdul Gayoom from his post due to corruption accusations.
  18. The President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, was reelected for a second term in office.
  19. The Cambodian Constitutional Council will discuss a package of proposals to modify multiple provisions of the Constitution.
  20. Japan’s Primer Minister, Shinzo Abe, encouraged has encouraged broad agreement for amending article 9 of the Constitution.
  21. In the face of a petition filed before the Supreme Court of India by Rohingya forced migrants who seek to be recognized as refugees, the Indian Government contended that this is not a matter for the Court to intervene.
  22. The GERB political party of Bulgaria, will ask the Constitutional Court to determine whether the Istanbul Convention on Domestic Violence is compatible with the Constitution.
  23. Poland’s Senate passed a statute criminalizing speeches that ascribe to the Polish state any responsibility for the crimes committed by the Third Reich.
  24. The Kenyan government prohibited three private TV channels from broadcasting a symbolic presidential inauguration of an opposition leader, despite a judicial order suspending this prohibition.
  25. The German Federal Council (Bundesrat) asked the Constitutional Court to ban funding to support the activities of the right-wing National Democratic Party (NPD).
  26. The President of the Constitutional Court of Moldova, Tudor Panţîru, resigned to his post as Justice.
  27. Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Parliament to pass a constitutional amendment to expand decentralization.

New Scholarship

  1. Martin Loughlin, The Political Constitution Revisited, LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 18 (2017) (claiming that political constitutionalists have distorted John Griffith’s functional perspective of British constitutionalism)
  2. Sadaf Aziz, The Constitution of Pakistan: A Contextual Analysis (2018) (providing a contextual account of Pakistan’s constitutional laws and history)
  3. Andrew Arato, The Adventures of the Constituent Power (2017) (analyzing the democratic methods used by political communities to enact their basic law)
  4. Katharine G. Young, Proportionality, Reasonableness, and Economic and Social Rights, in Vicki Jackson and Mark Tushnet eds., Proportionality: New Frontiers, New Challenges (2017) (exploring the relationship between reasonableness review and proportionality in the framework of economic and social rights)
  5. Cormac S. Mac Amhlaigh, Who’s Afraid of Supra-State Constitutional Theory?: Two Reasons to Be Sceptical of the Sceptics, in K. Walton, W. Sadurski, M. Sevel eds., Legitimacy: The State and Beyond (2018), Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2017/23 (advancing two reasons to overcome the skepticism about bringing constitutionalism beyond the state)
  6. Benoit Frydman, From accuracy to accountability: subjecting global indicators to the rule of law, International Journal of Law in Context (2018) (arguing that, since social indicators are tools for global governance, they should be accountable via judicial review)
  7. Graham Butler, The Court of Justice as an inter-state court, Yearbook of European Law (2017) (analyzing the instruments of Article 259 TFEU and Article 273 TFEU for inter-state litigation between EU Member States before the Court of Justice of the European Union)
  8. Rivka Weill, Bills of Rights with Strings Attached: Protecting Death Penalty, Slavery, Discriminatory Religious Practices and the Past from Judicial Review, in Rosalind Dixon, Goeffrey Sigalet, and Grégoire Webber eds., Constitutional Dialogue: Rights, Democracy, Institutions (Forthcoming) (offering a theoretical and comparative framework of constitutional clauses –saving clauses– that shield certain pre-constitutional rules or practices from judicial review)
  9. Andrés Botero-Bernal and Mario Cajas-Sarria, Historia del Derecho en América Latina I, Precedente Journal of Law (2018) (introducing a first issue, out of two, entirely devoted to Legal History in Latin America) (in Spanish)
  10. Stefan Salomon, Self-determination in the Case Law of the African Commission: Lessons for Europe, VRÜ Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (2017) (inquiring into the postcolonial contexts of self-determination by focusing on the case law of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights –ACHPR– and arguing that legal developments of self-determination in the Global South have largely gone unnoticed in legal scholarship)
  11. Kitpatchara Somanawat, Constructing the Identity of the Thai Judge: Virtue, Status, and Power, Asian Journal of Law and Society (2018) (examining the exalted status of Thai judges, and contending that this status derives from a process of identity construction)

Special Announcement

Professor Mark S. Kende (James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law, Director of the Constitutional Law Center, Drake University Law School) shares a partial bibliography of 2017 Comparative Constitutional Law Books and Articles.

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Institute for Global and Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School, invites scholars to submit abstract and panel proposals for its forthcoming IGLP Conference to be held on June 2-3, 2018. The deadline for submission is March 16, 2018.
  2. The International Review of Contemporary Legal Issues invites submissions for its Third Issue to be published in June 2018. Contributions should be sent by April 30, 2018.
  3. The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) calls for paper and panel proposals for the general AHRI Human Rights Research Conference, which will take place at the University of Edinburgh Law School on 7-8 September 2018. Proposals should be sent by March 5, 2018.
  4. The Indian Journal of Law and Public Policy invites interested scholars to submit contributions for its next issue by February 28, 2018.
  5. The University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme offers six Early Stage Researcher positions to interested applicants who want to pursue a PhD degree focusing on how political concepts are used in the world. The deadline for applications is March 20, 2018.
  6. Tamil Nadu National Law School, in collaboration with Oxford Human Rights Hub invites paper submissions for its ‘International Conference on Affirmative Action and the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality’. Abstract proposals should be sent by February 28, 2018.
  7. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung through its Rule of Law Program in Latin America welcomes papers written in Spanish or Portuguese for the 2018 Latin American Yearbook of Constitutional Law. The deadline for submitting contributions is March 31, 2018.
  8. The Central and Eastern European Network of Jurisprudence (CEENJ) calls for paper proposals for its XIIIth Annual Conference on “Jurisprudence in Central and Eastern Europe: Work in Progress 2018”. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2018.
  9. The Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, at the University of Melbourne, invites scholars to apply for a scholarship to pursue a PhD degree on the areas of interest to the Center. Applications should be sent by February 19, 2018.
  10. The WZB Berlin Social Science Center invites interested scholars to apply for a Research Fellow position in the field of “Global Governance of Citizenship”. Application deadline is March 15, 2018,

Elsewhere Online

  1. Christina Zampas, Irish Government announces referendum on abortion, Reprohealthlaw Blog
  2. Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, While You Were Reforming the Justice System…, exit
  3. Sandra Martin, Fight to the death: Why Canada’s physician-assisted dying debate has only just begun, The Globe and Mail
  4. Vernon Bogdanor, The Lords has the right to ask the Commons to reconsider Brexit, The Guardian
  5. Patricia Popelier, Dynamic Federalism, 50 Shades of Federalism
  6. Pierre de Vos, The Cape Town Water Crisis: Why Is the DA Conflating Party and State?, Constitutionally Speaking
  7. Julienne E. Grant, UPDATE: Researching the Law of Latin America, GlobaLex
  8. Adam Bodnar, Free Men and Genuine Judges will Remember about Free Courts, Verfassungsblog
  9. Michal Ovádek, Drama or Serenity? Upcoming Judicial Appointments at the Slovak Constitutional Court, Verfassungsblog
  10. Meg Russell, The Lords and the EU Withdrawal Bill: 10 predictions, The Constitution Unit
  11. Henry Goodwin, The ‘rule of law crisis’, Europe’s most existential challenge, EUI Times
  12. Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney, Sovereignty or Supremacy? Lords Constitution Committee Reports on EU (Withdrawal) Bill, U.K. Const. L. Blog
  13. Sawadogo Lamoussa, Beyond term limits: Burkina Faso’s attempt to tame the presidency and to strengthen constitutional checks, Constitutionnet
  14. Linda Greenhouse, The Chief Justice, Searching for Middle Ground, The New York Times


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