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Fall 2020 Course

The US Constitution in Comparative Perspective

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Please refer to the Fall 2020 Tentative Exam Schedule

This course explores key concepts and doctrines in US constitutional law, including foundational cases on the role of the US Supreme, the separation of powers, doctrines of federalism and the First and Fourteenth Amendments. It further situates these doctrines in a comparative context and explores the value of studying US constitutional law in this broader context. For instance, it compares US federalism doctrines to equivalent doctrines on the commerce and dormant commerce clause in Australia. It considers parallels, as well as differences, between US separation of powers cases and the decision of the UK Supreme Court in Miller (on Brexit) and UK decisions on the rights of non-citizens. It contrasts US caselaw on religious free exercise, racial equality and poverty or ‘socio-economic rights’ with equivalent cases from South Africa. It compares US cases on free speech and reproductive rights with Canadian and German cases on these topics; and US cases on sexual privacy and same-sex marriage with cases from the UK, South Africa, India, Korea and Hong Kong. It also considers select comparisons from Colombia and Brazil and global variation in the design of courts’ role and jurisdiction, the flexibility and function of constitutional amendment rules, and processes for the appointment and removal of executive officials – including in the context of recent trends toward ‘illiberal’ or anti-constitutional populism.