Constitution Digest

News and announcements from the Comparative Constitutions Project

December 2, 2016

Despite protests, Brazil on track to approve austerity amendment. On Tuesday, the Brazilian Senate approved a constitutional amendment to limit federal spending growth to the rate of inflation for the next 20 years, and the measure is expected to pass the final vote on December 13. In response to violent protests and widespread concern that the amendment will strangle vital public services, president Michel Temer has suggested that cuts to health and education expenditure be delayed for a year.
SCOTUS considers criteria for exempting persons with intellectual disabilities from death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Moore v. Texas on Tuesday, in which Bobby Moore’s legal team argued that the Court should remand his death sentence because Texas’s standards for intellectual disability exemptions are cruel and unusual, and therefore unconstitutional. If successful, Moore’s case would have ramifications for other states’ exemption criteria.
Malawi seeks to establish 18 as the age of adulthood. The Malawi government is trying to raise the constitutional definition of adulthood from 16 to 18 years of age to align it with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which Malawi ratified in 1999. The charter prohibits the marriage of children under the age of 18, but Malawi’s constitution currently allows parents to consent to a child’s marriage; a report earlier this year found that half of Malawian girls are married before they turn 18.
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