Associate Professor Emilia Justyna Powell and Graduate Student Ilana Rothkopf recently traveled to Algeria by official invitation from the Algerian Constitutional Council. Powell and Rothkopf also co-organized a workshop, "Secular and Religious Courts in Muslim Majority States: Their Impact and Place in Constitutions," with the Constitutional Council and the Centre for Islamic Culture in Oran. They presented their co-authored paper "Constitutional Courts in Muslim Majority Countries and Support for the International Court of Justice" (Undergraduate Erin Shang is a third co-author on this paper but did not make the trip). The paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Algerian Constitutional Council.
Over the past six decades, the constitutions of many Muslim-majority countries have included references to constitutional courts and councils. Constitutional courts protect the rule of law domestically: To embed such a court in the language of the constitution is an institutionalization of the supremacy of law. The question that drives this paper is whether presence of a domestic constitutional court is associated with a country’s international political and legal behavior. In particular, the paper discusses the relationship between domestic constitutional courts, rule of law, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 30 Muslim-Majority countries by focusing on constitutional language.
The data shows that after WWII constitutional oversight has increased in the Muslim milieu. Yet, presence of a domestic constitutional court does not directly translate into a state's support for the International Court of Justice.