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Spring 2012 - Colloquium on Constitutional Courts

Forbath, William E
Ferejohn, John A

Course ID: 397S  Unique # 29877  Credit Hours: 3
Meeting DaysTimesLocation
   Monday 3:30 pm - 5:20 pm TNH 3.126
Exam Type   Date   Time      Name Range   Room  
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.
Seminar - APPLICATION REQUIRED. Application and/or instructions on how to apply for this seminar can be accessed on the web:


This will be an interdisciplinary course examining and comparing the work of important constitutional courts in several nations around the globe.  Over the course of the semester, we will meet with six distinguished judges from six such courts and discuss their constitutional jurisprudence and their roles in the politics and government of their nations. 

The course will be open to second- and third- year law students and to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences, with the permission of the instructors.  It will be co-taught by Professor William Forbath of the School of Law and Professor John Ferejohn, who will be visiting from the NYU School of Law and Department of Politics.

During the semester, six leading judges (and former judges) will present important opinions from their respective courts, which will provide the principal texts of the course.  Students will spend two weeks with each set of opinions.  In the first week, students will meet with Professors Ferejohn and Forbath in a traditional seminar format to discuss the opinions.  In the second week, the judge will be present, and the students will be joined by law, history and other humanities and social science faculty members.  Students will thus have the opportunity both to engage in their own critical discussion, and to observe and participate in an interdisciplinary conversation with faculty members.  Written coursework will consist of short, critical responses or commentaries on each of the six sets of opinions that will be presented.  Students also will expand one of these short papers into a longer essay to be submitted at the end of the term.

The current line-up of visiting judges includes:  Susanne Baer, Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (Germany); Antonio Benjamin, Supreme Court Justice of Brazil (Brazil); Manuel José-Cepeda Espinosa, former Justice on the Constitutional Court of Colombia (Columbia); José Ramón Cossio Díaz, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Mexico); Dennis Davis, Judge President (Chief Judge) of the Competition Appeal Court of South Africa (South Africa); Pedro Cruz Villalón, Advocate General at the Justice of the European Union (Spain).

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