On 13 September 2012, the Center for Constitutional Transitions at NYU Law (Constitutional Transitions) was proud to welcome Intisar Rabb to lead the inaugural session of the Constitutional Transitions Colloquium. Rabb is Associate Professor of Law and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. Her presentation, “The Least Religious Branch? Judicial Review after the Arab Spring,” addressed how judicial review, and Islamic constitutionalism generally, has taken shape in the Arab world, and what role they should play in the wake of the Arab Spring. Video of the event is available here.
Rabb’s presentation criticized recent scholarship on Islamic constitutionalism that has argued that constitutional courts in Muslim countries, such as Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), have had a ‘secularizing’ effect on the constitutional order, by giving priority to the Egyptian Constitution’s liberal rights-based clauses over its constitutional commitment to shariah as the main source of law. Rabb argued that this body of scholarship was both conceptually and normative flawed. Instead, based on a close reading of several decisions of the SCC in which policy reforms that promoted gender equality were challenged for contravening shariah, Rabb argued that those judgments could be explained on the basis of the SCC’s interpretation of Islamic legal sources alone. Lastly, she touched on possible future directions for the SCC, especially given its central role in Egypt’s constitutional transitions in a series of important decisions involving the recent parliamentary and presidential elections.
Please join us for the next colloquium session on 12 October 2012, featuring Said Arjomand’s presentation: “Revolution and Constitution Making in Iran and the Arab World.” Click here for the full 2012-13 Colloquium schedule.