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From South Africa to Israel, from India to China, every government claiming legitimate authority purports to have constitutional principles and rules. Some scholars suggest that even the UN, the EU, the WTO, and international human rights have constitutional status. But what does it mean to have a constitution? What does it mean to have a "constitutional right"? What does the practice of constitutional law in the United States share with other forms of constitutionalism around the globe?
To explore these questions, the seminar begins by considering select topics of U.S. constitutional law (e.g., the death penalty, religious freedom, LGBT rights, free speech, equality, federalism) in comparative perspective. Having broadened our understanding of constitutional practice, we then shift to examining whether specific global institutions or regimes (e.g., the UN, WTO, EU, or ECHR) can be usefully understood in constitutional terms as well.
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