Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Sandeep Suresh, Faculty Member, Jindal Global Law School

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 Columbia held that the Amazon rainforest is an entity possessing legal rights with the aim of curbing massive deforestation in that region.
  2. The US Supreme Court held that an Arizona police officer who shot a woman with a knife in her hand outsider her own home was entitled to qualified immunity from any liability. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor observed that the majority’s decision allows police officers to “shoot first and think later”.
  3. The Supreme Court of California (USA) held that the law which allows the State to collect DNA samples from felons is constitutional.
  4. The Supreme Court of India will decide whether the ‘creamy layer’ amongst Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes can be excluded from the ambit of reservation policy. At the moment, the creamy layer exception is only put on Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  5. The European Court of Human Rights rejected a German national’s challenge against his conviction for posting a picture of a Nazi chief wearing a swastika armband on his blog.

In the News

  1. Justice J. Chelameswar, the second senior most judge of the Indian Supreme Court, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India asking him to call a full court meeting to discuss the government’s excessive interference in judicial appointments.
  2. The Parliament of Malaysia passed a bill which criminalizes publishing and spreading fake news. Offenders can be sent to prison for maximum six years for committing the said crime.
  3. The President of South Korean, Mr. Moon Jae-in, proposed constitutional reforms that have the capacity to reduce presidential powers.
  4. In India, opposition parties are planning to move an impeachment motion in the Parliament against the sitting Chief Justice of India.
  5. The Consultative Committee in Philippines proposed to include ‘Rights of the Poor’ such as education, health, and decent housing in their national constitution.

 New Scholarship

  1. Paul Daly, Updating the Procedural Law of Judicial Review of Administrative Action, University of British Columbia Law Review (2018 forthcoming) (developing a set of considerations which courts ought to keep in mind when updating the procedural law to bring it into line with the substantive law in Canada).
  2. Bríd Ní Ghráinne and Aisling McMahon, Access to Abortion in Cases of Fatal Fetal Abnormality: A New Direction for the European Court of Human Rights? (March 12, 2018) (pointing out that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights is slowly aligning with internationally recognized principles of abortion rights).
  3. Benjamin Joshua Ong, The Doctrine of Severability in Constitutional Review: A Perspective from Singapore, Statute Law Review (2018) (explaining Singapore’s law on the doctrine of severability used in constitutional review in light of the Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision in Prabagaran a/l Srivijayan v Public Prosecutor).
  4. Nicholas Papaspyrou, Constitutional Argument and Institutional Structure in the United States (Hart Publishing 2018) (arguing that constitutional interpretation is a special kind of practical reasoning, aiming to construct and specify morally sound accounts of the Constitution and surrounding constitutional practice).
  5. Steve Sanders, Dignity and Social Meaning: Obergefell, Windsor, and Lawrence as Constitutional Dialogue, Fordham Law Review (2018 forthcoming) (examining the significance of dignity, the principle that unifies Obergefell v. Hodges, United States v. Windsor, and Lawrence v. Texas, to show how the Supreme Court interprets democratic preferences and constructs social meaning in order to apply fundamental constitutional norms to emerging legal claims).
  6. Franita Tolson, Election Law ‘Federalism’ and the Limits of the Antidiscrimination Framework, William & Mary Law Review (Vol. 59, 2018) (claiming that the Congress and the courts can disregard state sovereignty in enacting, enforcing, and resolving the constitutionality of legislation passed pursuant to the Elections Clause).

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge are jointly organizing a conference on ‘The Frontiers of Public Law’ on July 11-13, 2018 in Melbourne. Interested participants may register for the conference at the earliest.
  2. The ‘19th Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum’ will be held on June 13-14, 2018 at Harvard Law School. Scholars who are interested to present their papers at this forum must submit their papers by March 1, 2018 to Rebecca Tushnet at
  3. The American Constitution Society is organizing the ‘2018 ACS National Convention’ on June 7-9, 2018. Interested participants may register online for the convention.
  4. The Government and Law research group at the University of Antwerp is organizing an expert seminar on ‘Constitutional asymmetry in multi-tiered multinational systems’ on April 23-24, 2018. Interested participants may register for the seminar at the earliest.
  5. The Institute of Hazrat Mohammad is organizing a ‘Summer School on Human Rights 2018’ on July 1-5, 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Interested applicants must submit their application and register before June 10, 2018.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Noah Feldman, Poland Has a Way Out of Its Holocaust Memory Law, Bloomberg View
  2. Editorial, What the Supreme Court Doesn’t Get About Racism, New York Times
  3. Balázs Majtényi, Alíz Nagy, and Péter Kállai, “Only Fidesz” – Minority Electoral Law in Hungary, Verfassungsblog
  4. Senem Gurol, Resuscitating the Turkish Constitutional Court: The ECtHR’s Alpay and Altan Judgments, Strasbourg Observers
  5. Janina Boughey, Resolving some ‘anomalies’ and ‘snares’ in judicial review: Probuild Construction, AUSPUBLAW
  6. Justin Florence and Berin Szóka, Trump vs. Bezos: The president is on the wrong side of the Constitution, The Seattle Times


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