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Fall 2024 - Spring 2025 Seminar

Constitutions and Constitutionalism, U.S. and Comparative Perspectives, Selected Topics

Prerequisite: U.S. Constitutional Law (required); survey course on comparative constitutional law (recommended)

Half of the seats in this offering will be held for students admitted by permission of the instructor. Students who want to apply through permissions should indicate i) where and when they have taken US Constitutional Law; ii) whether they have taken any other Comparative Constitutional Law classes, and if so, what, when and with whom; and should send their resume, along with a short note indicating why they are interested and what they might like to write on if accepted into the seminar.

Exam Type: No Exam

This seminar will take up selected topics of important and interest in U.S. constitutional law and comparative constitutionalism. It will not be a survey course, but will focus on six major topics, which will likely include: 1. Constitutions, judicial review, and independent courts (likely including challenges to judicial independence in various countries, debate over restructuring the U.S. Supreme Court, and “political” vs. “legal” constitutionalism); 2. Constitutional aspects of the administrative state (likely including executive control and the rule of law, the civil service, and administrative competence and impartiality); 3. Constitutional change (likely including revolution, new constitutions, amendments, and interpretation); 4. Delegation of coercive state powers (focusing on concerns about accountability, effectiveness, and rights in privatization of, e.g., prisons, probation supervision, public welfare service provisions); 5. Disadvantaged racial/ethnic minorities (likely including disempowered indigenous peoples, forced migration, voluntary migrants made unwelcome, and hate speech — looking at German, U.S, and Canadian approaches); and 6. Knowledge institutions in Constitutional Democracy (likely including universities, public education, the press, and some government offices).

This seminar will meet over both Fall and Spring Semester to better accommodate students who may choose to write substantial papers. LLM students may write a paper in connection with this course that will meet the LLM writing requirement.