Russia's invasion of Ukraine may cause Japan to amend its constitution. Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to raise defense spending, and perhaps also to repeal the constitution's “Pacifism Clause” in Article 9, which prohibits the country from maintaining traditional land, sea, and air military forces.
Will Peru write a new constitution? President Pedro Castillo plans to propose a referendum asking Peruvians whether they wish to replace their constitution. Some argue that a new constitution could bring stability to Peru, which has had four presidents in the last 18 months. But constitution-making entails a high risk of failure, and failure can breed serious instability.
Last week, we marked the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In an essay for my hometown newspaper, I described the Charter as one of Canada's greatest exports. But as influential as the Charter has been abroad, it has yet to bring true equality and belonging for all Canadians. That is the challenge for the Charter in the next generation.
In this edition of The Leaflet: a new book, a debate on rights and democracy, civic education for high school students, and more!
In their forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Alice Donald and Joelle Grogan assemble an all-star cast of 50 scholars from around the world to examine the global response to the pandemic in relation to human rights, governance and democracy, science and public trust, states of emergency, and the rule of law. This book is certain to be an invaluable resource to help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on public law.
Does Democracy Require Codified Constitutional Rights?
Writing constitutional rights into the constitutional text might not lead to better democratic outcomes. None of the world's top ten democracies appears in the world's top ten for total codified constitutional rights. In fact, they have an average global rank of 139! Nonetheless, codifying rights serve an important expressive purpose, and also gives claimants a textual referent when they seek to defend their rights in court.
A Global Collaboration
We will soon publish the 2nd annual International Review of Constitutional Reform, an effort to map constitutional reform efforts around the world. This year's Review will feature 75+ jurisdictional reports written by teams of scholars and judges. Last year's inaugural Review is available here in open access.
Meet a Subscriber to The Leaflet
Formerly a Justice on the Constitutional Court of Lithuania and currently a constitutional law professor at Mykolas Romeris University, Toma Birmontienė has helped to build the modern state of Lithuania. She has led official delegations to Europe and abroad, she has served in the Ministry of Health, she has directed the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights, and she has been a trusted advisor to the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Professor Birmontienė is a scholar of the first rank, having authored over 20 landmark books and 100 important articles on various subjects in public law.
Last week, we hosted the inaugural Texas Constitutional Law Assembly, a day-long event to introduce high school students to current debates in constitutional democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Meet my co-organizers for this event: Kiley Thomas, Jamie Mahowald, andWill Knight, our outstanding Undergraduate Fellows in Constitutional Studies.
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