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  • Franciska Coleman

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

"Stopping ballot counting is an extraordinary remedy. It's normally one you would expect to protect the right of individuals to vote...It's not the kind of remedy you get as a political party."


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  • Franciska Coleman

Call for Papers: Organizers’ Workshops on “Futuristic Constitutionalism and Sustainability” at the 10th World Congress of Constitutional Law

Submissions are invited for four Organizers’ Workshops on the theme of “Futuristic Constitutionalism and Sustainability” at the 10th World Congress of Constitutional Law to held June 18-22, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.

The Korean Organizing Committee for the 10th World Congress on Constitutional Law will open Organizers’ Workshops on the theme of “Futuristic Constitutionalism and Sustainability.” These workshops are designed to enable constitutional scholars to delve into four cutting edge issues that challenge traditional ideas about the scope and content of constitutional law.

A. Sustainability and Political Autonomy in the Digital Age

As a result of new technological developments such as AI robots, self-driving cars and drones, artificial intelligence is increasingly able to replace human labor, and modern governments have ever more formidable surveillance tools at their disposal. These developments raise many constitutional issues, such as the right to privacy, the right to have rights, and the preservation of human dignity. This workshop seeks to address these and related issues.

B. Global Right to a Sustainable Life and a Basic Income

In some countries, basic income has been treated as an issue of basic human rights. However, given the impact of wealth inequality on political and social inequality, it is clear that discussions of a right to live within the context of constitutional law is also needed. This workshop seeks to address this and related issues in hopes of generating powerful insights.

C. Deliberative Democracy as a Solution for Constitutions and Representative Democracies in Crisis

In the contemporary world, it has been suggested that representative democracy is flawed and unable to produce satisfactory results. This has led to a growing interest in new ways of representing the will of the people and in workable alternatives to representative democracy. Deliberative democracy is a promising option for constitutional lawyers to examine in this regard. This workshop seeks to address developments in deliberative democracy and related issues. It will feature keynotes by Professor James Fishkin, Director: Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy and Zandanshatar Gombojav, Mongolian Secretary of Parliament and former Foreign Minister.

D. The Future of Federalism & Decentralization in the Era of Glocalization

With the advent of glocalization, voices requesting the right of regional autonomy are becoming stronger and stronger, and this has significant implications for the future of devolution or federalism. One of the key constitutional issues in this transitional era will be how to draw the line between the central and the local when allocating political power and social resources, particularly given a goal of enhancing the self-determination of the people. This workshop will feature a keynote by Professor Stephen Tierney, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law.

Those who wish to take part in these workshops should submit a proposal to submission@wccl2018-seoul.org.

All submissions should indicate the name, country, institutional affiliation and contact information of the author(s). All abstracts should also state clearly the title of the Workshop for which it is intended.

The deadline for the submission of proposals for these workshops is 30 March 2018.


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  • Prof. C.

I guess the thing that struck me most when I first heard the story of Sandra Bland was how easily I could have been her. Almost seven years ago, I was driving home to Texas all the way from Cambridge, Massachusetts. On the last leg of the trip, at around 4 am in the morning, I was about an hour from my final destination, and a cop pulled me over. Given how long I had been driving, how carefully I always drive, and how anxious I was to get home at last, to have said I was annoyed at being stopped would have been a huge understatement. After the preliminary license and registration rigamarole, the cop asked me "Would you please step out of the car?"...into the rain...on a deserted road...at 4:00 in the morning. I said "No. It's late and raining. Why do I need to step out of the car?" Why wasn't I dragged out of the car into the street at that point, tazed or even shot in the head? Was it the Harvard Law School jacket I was wearing? The fact that my baby brother was in the passenger seat and the officer couldn't tell his age? Was it sheer dumb luck? Whatever the reason, it was not because American police officers do not drag unarmed women out of cars and physically assault them for asking that officers abide by the restrictions the U.S. Constitution places on their authority.

So what should my response be now? Should I be terrified into silence when officers seek to invade my liberty without cause or due process? Should my family members fear for my life if I will not be terrified into silence? What of my sisters, friends, and colleagues? What of America's community of color? How do we respond to Sandra Bland's death?

Before answering this question, it is well to recall the lessons of history. However much America may laude its Founding Fathers, they did not create a democracy. They created an apartheid. American democracy as we now know it, was born out of the martyrdom of the descendants of the Founding Generation's slaves. The ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for ALL, are ideals for which countless Black Americans were dying while the majority of White America was still defending the glories of the apartheid. It was the public lynchings of Black Americans, their beatings, their mauling on national television by dogs, their martyrdom and sacrifice that animated the vision of a non-apartheid America. It was the Black American struggle, more than almost any other factor, that began to transform America's liberty rhetoric into actualized American principles.

Thus, though the American apartheid experiment belonged to the Founding Founders, the American experiment in equality belongs to her people of color. This means that when we insist that an officer respect our liberties, we are not enforcing a vision of America that "THEY" created. We are enforcing a vision of America that we created...in blood, sweat and tears. When we video our encounters with the police, assert our equality as human beings in face of terroristic violence, and demand equal treatment under the law, we are fighting for our vision of America. And it is a vision we have never, at any other time in history, been so close to achieving.

Now is not the time to be terrorized into silence or submission....to go quietly into the night. But rather, to continue the fight as actively as we can. Asserting our rights in face of unlawful restraint is only one way to participate in the movement. Another equally effective way is to be a witness for others who are asserting their rights --by documenting their interactions with the police on our cellphones. The ACLU is in the process of developing a mobile app for each state that allows such videos to be automatically sent to the ACLU of the state in which it was recorded. (http://www.liberalamerica.org/2015/05/02/fight-back-enforce-police-brutality-laws-aclu-mobile-justice-app/)

It takes courage to question an officer and time to stop and document cop-citizen encounters. I realize that. However, we should realize that in our lifetimes, people of color will become the majority in this country. And our courage and time today will determine whether the America is the Founder's aparthied or our own democracy tomorrow.


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