Constitucional Law

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Cubans overwhelmingly ratify constitution enshrining socialist government   

Source: Jurist

February 26, 2019

Cubans have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new constitution that enshrines the country’s one-party socialist system as “irrevocable” and institutes other economic and social reforms.

The president of Cuba’s national electoral commission, Alina Balseiro Gutierrez, claims that 84.4 percent of Cuba’s 7.8 million potential voters participated in the Sunday referendum. Of the potential electorate, 73.31 percent voted to ratify, while 7.6 percent opposed ratification and 4.5 percent spoiled or left ballots blank.

The new constitution contains references to “markets and recognition of private property, foreign investment, small businesses, gender identity, the internet, the right to legal representation upon arrest and habeas corpus.” It includes the addition of a prime minister and imposes term limits on the presidency, among other changes to government structure.

Debate over the new constitution has dominated Cuba’s politics for months. The government initially organized a grassroots debate on a draft of the constitution last year. However, after approving a final version of the referendum in December it utilized its control of traditional media and public spaces to campaign for ratification. Meanwhile, dueling campaigns for and against the constitution battled on the internet.

There are no exit polls in Cuba, but social media and reports of local vote tallies seem to confirm the results.

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Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Supreme Court denies international organization absolute immunity from lawsuits    

Source: Jurist

February 27, 2019

-United States-

 The US Supreme Court on Tuesday denied the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an international organization, “absolute immunity” from lawsuits in the US.

About 10 years ago, IFC, an IOIA international organization, entered into a loan agreement with an Indian company to finance the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Gujarat. Local farmers, fishermen and a small village sued the IFC, seeking injunction relief, claiming that pollution from the plant harmed the surrounding air, land and water.

The IOIA of 1945 grants international organizations the same immunity from suit, virtually absolute immunity, as is enjoyed by foreign governments. The FSIA 1952 gives foreign sovereign governments presumptive immunity from suit, subject to several statutory exceptions, including an exception for actions based on commercial activity with a sufficient nexus with the US. The court admits that under the rules applicable in 1945, the extent of immunity from suit was virtually absolute. However, under the rules applicable today, it is more limited.

The court reasoned that the international organization immunity and the foreign sovereign immunity are equivalent. The IOIA’s reference to the immunity enjoyed by foreign governments is to an external body of potentially evolving law, and its scope and content should be given only by reference to the rules governing foreign sovereign immunity. The court rejected the IFC’s concern that interpreting the IOIA immunity provision to grant only restrictive immunity would defeat the purpose of granting the clause. “This concern is inflated.”

The court held that the IOIA of 1945 affords international organizations the same immunity from suit that foreign governments enjoy today under the FSIA of 1976.

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Supreme Court orders lower court to determine competency of death row inmate with dementia      

Source: Jurist

February 27, 2019

-United States-

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a new state court hearing to determine whether an Alabama death row inmate battling dementia is incompetent to be executed.

The justices ruled 5-3 in favor of inmate Vernon Madison, who was sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 1985. While awaiting execution, Madison suffered a series of strokes and was diagnosed with vascular dementia. The justices have previously said the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment means that people who are insane, delusional or psychotic cannot be executed.

In 2016 Madison petitioned for a stay of execution on the ground that he was mentally incompetent, as he failed to remember committing the crime for which he was sentenced to die. The state responded that even if Madison could not remember the crime, he has a rational understanding of the reasons for his execution.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Eighth Amendment “may permit executing Madison even if he cannot remember the crime,” and that the Eighth Amendment may prohibit executing Madison even though he suffers from dementia, rather than delusions. Ultimately, “the sole question on which Madison’s competency depends is whether he can reach a ‘rational understanding’ of why the State wants to execute him.”

Justice Elena Kagan delivered the majority opinion. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was not yet on the court when arguments took place in early October.

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Reconocida a una funcionaria como tiempo de servicio activo la excedencia por cuidado de hijos        

Fuente: Noticias Jurídicas

27 de febrero, 2019

-España-

 El Colegio de Secretarios, Interventores y Tesoreros de Administración Local, con habilitación de carácter nacional de la provincia de Valencia, recurre la resolución que publica la relación individualizada de méritos generales de los funcionarios de administración local con habilitación nacional, porque el periodo concedido por excedencia por el cuidado de familiares no se ha computado como periodo de servicio activo.

El Tribunal de Justicia rechaza el argumento de la Administración que sostiene que sólo se puede valorar el trabajo efectivo.

La sentencia reconoce legitimación activa al Colegio Profesional recurrente porque lo que pretende es la interpretación de la Orden por la que se dictan normas sobre concursos de provisión de puestos reservados a funcionarios de administración local con habilitación nacional, en aras a lograr una aplicación favorable a la conciliación de la vida familiar y laboral, con clara repercusión en la carrera profesional de la funcionaria afectada. Además, la estimación de la pretensión redunda en una ventaja para todos los asociados del Colegio.

Para el Tribunal Superior de Justicia se debe acceder a la pretensión formulada por el Colegio, porque siendo de aplicación en el momento en el que se dicta la resolución impugnada la LO 3/2007, para la igualdad efectiva de mujeres y hombres, el EBEP, el tiempo de permanencia en situación de excedencia por cuidado de hijos o familiares, conforme a estas normas, es una situación asimilada a la sityuación de activo y, como tal, debe desplegar sus efectos en la valoración de los méritos.

La funcionaria, tras el nacimiento de su hijo, disfrutó de baja maternal, acumulación de permiso de lactancia y vacaciones, y a su finalización y sin solución de continuidad, solicitó excedencia por cuidado de familiares.

La Administración va en contra de sus propios actos porque en la resolución en que se le concede la excedencia se hace constar su derecho durante ese tiempo al cómputo de trienios, carrera y derechos en el Régimen de la Seguridad Social, mientras que la resolución impugnada no le reconoce en forma completa la antigüedad durante ese periodo de tiempo, y elimina los puntos que le correspondieran por permanencia al no reconocer como servicio activo el tiempo de excedencia por cuidado de hijos.

Si el tiempo de duración de los permisos, licencias, y bajas maternales, y por extensión los períodos de excedencia por cuidado de hijos, que se disfrutan por la mujer con ocasión de su maternidad, no son asimilados a la situación de servicio activo a los efectos de ser incluidos en el cómputo de los méritos de experiencia profesional, se vulnera el derecho a la igualdad efectiva entre hombres y mujeres.

Por ende, para el TSJ, sólo equiparando el periodo de disfrute de la excedencia para el cuidado de hijos/familiares como asimilada a la situación de servicio activo, se logra una adecuada conciliación de la vida familiar y laboral sin menoscabar la “carrera” del empleado público.

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Utah Senate approves hate crimes Bill

Source: Jurist

March 06, 2019

-United States-

 The Utah Senate passed a hates crime bill (SB 103) by a vote of 18-11 on Tuesday. The bill now moves to the Utah House of Representatives for consideration.

SB 103 would authorize increased penalties for criminals who target victims based on certain personal attributes including age, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

(2) A defendant is subject to enhanced penalties under Subsection (3) if the defendant intentionally selects:

(a) the victim of the criminal offense because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the victim’s personal attribute or a personal attribute of another individual or group of individuals with whom the victim has a relationship; or
(b) the property damaged or otherwise affected by the criminal offense because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the property owner’s, possessor’s, or occupant’s personal attribute or a personal attribute of another individual or group of individuals with whom the property owner, possessor, or occupant has a relationship.

Senator Daniel Thatcher, who sponsored the bill, said the biggest hurdle facing the bill came from senators worried about prosecuting thought crimes. As written, SB 103 would not operate as a standalone criminal offense, and only increase penalties for those convicted of other crimes.

SB 103 faced significant debate on the floor, including over what classes should be covered.

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Egypt parliament committee approves amendments extending presidential term       

Source: Jurist

February 8, 2019

An Egyptian parliamentary committee on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in office until 2034.

Many Egyptian opposition parties have expressed their disapproval and have reportedly formed a coalitionagainst the proposed changes.

Egypt’s Conservative party said in an official statement on Wednesday that it decided to reject the constitutional amendments proposed by a fifth of the parliament’s deputies.

The proposed amendments lack any credible philosophy, not to mention that they lead to undermining some of the main principles preserved by Egypt’s 2014 Constitution, such as maintaining the independence of the judiciary, striking a balance among powers, and establishing a mixed parliamentary-presidential system.

It is joined by the leftist Tagammu Party and the Egyptian Socialist Democratic party, which both have expressed their rejection of the proposal as well.

The committee also approved other proposed constitutional amendments, including the formation of a senate, a second chamber of parliament, maintenance of youth and special percentages and a woman quota in the parliament that should not be less than 25 percent.

The 596-seat assembly will take their final vote on February 17, before having a national referendum.

Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Myanmar parliament to set up committee to review proposed constitutional amendments    

Source: Jurist

February 06, 2019

 Myanmar’s parliament voted Wednesday to set up a committee to discuss proposed amendments to the constitution.

This vote comes one week after the National League for Democracy (NLD) submitted an emergency proposal to parliament detailing suggested amendments to the constitution. The suggestions were offered on the basis that the 2008 constitution is undemocratic.

The vote to approve the committee was supported by 414 of the available 611 voting lawmakers, making this the biggest challenge to the military’s power in three years.

The proposed amendments put forward by the NLD include recommendations to amend the nomination of members of Defense Services, instead enabling the people to elect such members. There are also suggestions to remove certain restrictions on voting and qualifications to run for office. The NLD in the proposal refers to the constitutions of other nations as examples to follow in ensuring a constitution in support of a democratic nation.