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 concluded that Electricity Regulatory Commissions must have a member with experience before the judiciary, be it as judge or as practitioner.
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada held that children’s views must be considered when deciding child-abduction-related international cases.
  3. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld New Brunswick regulation limiting the amount of spirits and beer that can be introduced into the Province, based on the principle of regional diversity.
  4. The UK Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge against a Court of Appeal’s decision that denied the request of a terminally-ill toddler’s parents to take the kid to Rome for further treatment.
  5. The US Supreme Court struck down a provision that required the compulsory deportation of immigrants convicted of some ‘crimes of violence’.
  6. The Constitutional Court of Malta rejected the Nationalist Party’s claim according to which the Electoral Commission does not have authority to investigate and decide infractions to party finance regulations.
  7. The US Supreme Court ruled that foreign corporations are immune for violations of Human Rights under the Alien Tort Statute.
  8. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ordered the Judicial Services Commission to disclose the discussions that led to the appointment of several judges in western Cape.
  9. The Russian Supreme Court upheld the conviction against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother, despite an European Court of Human Rights decision that concluded that their right to a fair trial had been violated.
  10. The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the ‘Travel-ban case’.
  11. The Constitutional Court of Slovakia declared that freezing the salaries of several public officials is unconstitutional.
  12. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine annulled an act that establishes the requirements for conducting referenda.
  13. The Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal ordered the release from prison of former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia.
  14. The Constitutional Court of Germany clarified the indirect effects of equality in private law relations, and considered that the stadium-attendance ban imposed on the complainant did not infringe the Basic Law.

In the News

  1. India’s Cabinet passed a Criminal Law Ordinance establishing death penalty for child’s rapists and increasing the punishment for women’s rapists.
  2. Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission introduced eight amendment proposals to the state constitution, in order to be considered in the forthcoming November 2018 general election ballot.
  3. The President of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, suspended the Constitutional Court claiming that the impossibility of appointing all its members, has produced a state of institutional blockade.
  4. The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to vote on a bill that allows the Knesset to override decisions issued by the Supreme Court.
  5. The Cuban National Assembly appointed Miguel Díaz-Canel as new President of Cuba.
  6. Political stalemate over the need to reform the national referendum act persists in South Korea between opposition parties and the governmental coalition. President Moon Jae-in expressed concerns over the Assembly’s failure in passing said changes.
  7. Main political opposition forces in Turkey seek to forge an alliance to choose a unified presidential candidate to compete against President Erdoğan in the next presidential elections.
  8. Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega, reversed several changes proposed to the social security system, amidst popular demonstrations.
  9. The Vice-President of India and chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, Venkaiah Naidu, criticized the impeachment claim filed against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  10. The French National Assembly passed new legislation tightening asylum-related regulations.
  11. Mario Abdo-Benítez was elected as new President of Paraguay.
  12. Armenian Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned to his post after days of protests and criticisms for his long tenure as PM.
  13. The UK House of Lords voted in favor of keeping the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights after the UK leaves the European Union.
  14. The US District Court for the District of Columbia found that the government’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) was arbitrary.
  15. The President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey, Zühtü Arslan, said that the Court’s rulings are binding for all judges as a response to a local court’s decision that refused to follow an order to release two jailed journalists.
  16. According to a recent poll, 61% of interviewees disagree with PM Abe’s proposals to amend the Japanese Constitution.
  17. The Prime Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, declared that rejecting a deal with the UK over post-Brexit powers, was in the national interest of Scotland.
  18. The Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, set May 24, 2018 as the date for next elections, after criticisms advanced by opposition forces due to his delay in doing so.
  19. The Judiciary Committee of the Nigerian Senate will determine whether President Muhammadu Buhari breached the Constitution when he agreed on purchasing military aircrafts to the US without prior consultation to the National Assembly.
  20. The North Korean leader Kim Jon Un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in met in the demilitarized zone to initiate a historic summit in which they signed a pledge to end war between the two nations.
  21. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, publicly called for PM Viorica Dancila’s resignation in the wake of her support to move the Romanian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  22. Indu Malhotra was sworn in as new Justice of the Indian Supreme Court, making her the first woman from the Bar to achieve this position.
  23. The President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, nominated Emil Babayan as new judge of the Constitutional Court.

New Scholarship

  1. Kim Lane Scheppele, Autocratic Legalism, The University of Chicago Law Review (2018) (exploring the paths taken by legalist autocrats to consolidate power, and suggesting some strategies to stop them)
  2. Roni Mann, Non-ideal theory of constitutional adjudication, Global Constitutionalism (2018) (advancing a non-ideal theory for constitutional courts to decide institutionally hard cases, that is, cases where deciding in line with what is constitutionally right may provoke a backlash coming from the elected branches of government or the public)
  3. Robert Böttner, The size and structure of the European Commission: legal issues surrounding project teams and a (future) reduced College, European Constitutional Law Review (2018) (analyzing the introduction of the so-called ‘project teams’ to the European Commission structure, in light of its compatibility with the Commission’s organizing principles)
  4. Rosalind Dixon, Functionalism and Australian Constitutional Values, in Rosalind Dixon (ed.), Australian Constitutional Values (2018) (claiming that despite the lack of any express statement of constitutional values in the Australian Constitution, courts have resorted to moral and political values to make constitutional decisions)
  5. James A Sweeney, The Elusive Right to Truth in Transitional Human Rights Jurisprudence, International & Comparative Law Quarterly (2018) (developing a comparative account of the scope of the duty to find truth in transitional scenarios, and arguing that underlying values of human rights treaties can provide a basis for a right to truth)
  6. Melissa Crouch, Dictators, Democrats, and Constitutional Dialogue: Myanmar’s Constitutional Tribunal, International Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming 2018) (proposing an explanation to identify the internal factors –such as the influence of elected officials and military actors– that have led to the actual operation of Myanmar’s Constitutional Tribunal)
  7. David Landau, Populist Constitutions, The University of Chicago Law Review (2018) (examining the relationship between constitutional change and populism, and claiming that populists use constitutional change to deconstruct the previous liberal order, to create a new substantive project and to consolidate power in the hands of the ruler)
  8. Ingrid Leijten, Core Socio-Economic Rights and the European Court of Human Rights (2018) (examining the idea of core rights protection in constitutional and international law, and linking it to the protection of socio-economic rights under the European Convention on Human Rights)
  9. Mathias Siems, Malicious legal transplants, Legal Studies (2018) (explaining the reasons behind the existence of malicious legal transplants and indicating how they can be prevented)
  10. Günter Frankenberg, Comparative Constitutional Studies. Between Magic and Deceit (2018) (contending that each constitution has an interesting story to tell, and offering a different approach to comparative constitutional law which is based on finding and conveying particular constitutional narratives)
  11. Michel Rosenfeld, Judicial Politics versus Ordinary Politics: Is the Constitutional Judge Caught in the Middle? in Christine Landfried (ed.), Judicial Power (forthcoming 2018) (suggesting that judicial politics is distinguishable from ordinary politics, but recognizing that both are closely intertwined and may overlap in some situations)
  12. Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan, Pierre-Hugues Verdier & Mila Versteeg (eds.), Comparative International Law (2018) (entertaining the idea that international law is not a monolithic whole but rather that its interpretation and application varies among states, thus opening the door for meaningful international-law-based comparisons across countries)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. Cybersecurity Research Center – The CyberLaw Program, Hebrew University and The Center for Cyber Law and Policy, Haifa University, invite contributions for their forthcoming conference on “AI: Law and Policy”. Submissions should be sent by June 1, 2018
  2. The Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), Sciences Po Law School, and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania invite paper proposals for their conference on “The Transnationalization of Anti-corruption Law”, to be held on 6-7 December, 2018. The deadline for papers’ submission is July 23, 2018.
  3. The American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), calls for panels and papers to the Fifth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, which will take place in September 2018. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2018.
  4. The Faculty of Law of the University of Gambia presents the inaugural number of the Gambia Law Review, and invites interested scholars to check the forthcoming call for papers for the next issue.
  5. The Center for Global Constitutionalism at WZB convenes its Berlin Colloquium on Global and Comparative Public Law, which will be held during the summer semester of 2018.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Yash Ghai, Perils of allowing politicians to push Constitution amendment, The Star
  2. Johannes Karreth & Jaroslav Tir, The international community struggles to end civil wars. How can international organizations help? OUPblog
  3. Tavleen Singh, Saving democracy, really? The Indian Express
  4. Jan-Werner Müller, ‘Democracy’ Still Matters, The New York Times
  5. Everaldo Lamprea & Daniela García, Recent Trends in Climate Change Litigation: Colombia’s Amazon and Juliana v U.S, OxHRH Blog
  6. Adnan Rasool, Pakistan’s activist Supreme Court endangers a fragile democracy, The Conversation
  7. Keith E. Whittington, I.P. Congressional War Power, Lawfare
  8. Marty Lederman, On the so-called “Global Injunction” question in the Travel Ban case, Balkinization
  9. Joe McIntyre, What is Administrative Law About? Power, Rights, and Judicial Culture in Australia, AUSPUBLAW
  10. Wojciech Sadurski, Bad Response to a Tragic Choice: the Case of Polish Council of the Judiciary, Verfassungsblog
  11. Michela Palese, How online quizzes could improve information during election campaigns: lessons from Germany, The Constitution Unit
  12. Samuel Moyn, How the Human Rights Movement Failed, The New York Times
  13. Marina Brilman, Environmental Rights and the Legal Personality of the Amazon Region, EJIL: Talk!
  14. Patrick Utz, Austrian Federal Reform Stops Before It Starts, Centre on Constitutional Change
  15. Eleni Frantziou, Mangold Recast? The ECJ’s Flirtation with Drittwirkung in Egenberger, European Law Blog
  16. Violeta Beširević, The Draft Amendments to the Serbian Constitution: Populism before Judicial Independence, Verfassungsblog
  17. Alexander Noyes, In Africa, presidential term limits are working, The Washington Post
  18. Maria Belén Saavedra, Claudia Sarmiento, Diego Garcia-Ricci, Eleana Rodriguez, Christopher Campbell-Duruflé, Olimpia Boido, Carlos Herrera Vacaflor, Mercedes Cavallo, & Esteban Vallejo-Toledo, Chile: Constitutional Court abortion decision – now in English! reprohealthlaw blog
  19. Mark Bennett, The Ever-Expanding “Emergency” Exception: Syria, the War Powers Convention, and the Bypassing of Prior Parliamentary Debate, U.K. Const. L. Blog
  20. Nanako Tamaru, Five Strategies for Increasing Women’s Influence in Constitution Making, Blog of the IACL, AIDC
  21. Alan Greene, Ireland v the UK and the Hooded Men: A Missed Opportunity? Strasbourg Observers


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