LAW 277

Comparative Constitutional Law

Constitutional & Public Law, International Law

This course will focus on the comparative study of constitutional law in both older and newer democracies around the world.  It will begin with discussion of the contemporary issue of "democratic erosion" or "illiberal democracy," as manifested by the rise to power of populist political leaders in such countries as the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Turkey, and India in recent years.  We may also consider recent instances of both revolutionary constitutionalism in the Middle East and "transformative constitutionalism" in South Africa, Colombia and/or India.  We will then turn to selected topics in comparative constitutional design and structure, including processes and contexts of constitution-making, variations in the institutions and practices of judicial review, judicial activism in certain developing countries, constitutional amendments, executive-legislative relations, the differing forms and goals of federalism, and how and to what extent private actors may be bound by constitutional norms.  In the final third of the semester, we will study various constitutional rights and their limits, including freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, race and sex equality, and socio-economic rights.  Examination. 

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