March 3, 2014
When the United States Supreme Court and Court of Justice of the European Union agreed to meet last month in Luxembourg, the organizers turned to Prof. Daniel Halberstam. Halberstam, who has been teaching American constitutional law and European Union law at the University of Michigan since 1999, and whose scholarship focuses on comparative constitutional law and global governance, was a natural fit to help foster the dialogue.
Meeting Feb. 9-12, at the seat of Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, justices from the two high courts came together for extended engagement on questions of common concern. Along with a handful of other noted academics, Halberstam presented materials for discussion and helped moderate the exchange, which has come to be known as the “Luxembourg Forum.”
"These discussions are immensely valuable to increase mutual understanding and enhance critical self-reflection," said Halberstam, the Eric Stein Collegiate Professor of Law and director of Michigan Law's European Legal Studies Program. "It is a privilege to be a part of these conversations and to help foster transatlantic judicial relations."
The Supreme Court delegation included Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Justice Samuel A. Alito, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Their European counterpart included President Vassilios Skouris, Vice-President Koen Lenaerts, and many of the other judges along with advocates general of the Court of Justice. The newest member of the Court of Justice, Sinisa Rodin, LLM '92, was also in attendance.
Halberstam’s experience with these exchanges dates back to the Supreme Court’s first visit to Luxembourg in 1998. Following a clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court, he was working at the European Court of Justice at the time, and became involved in preparing the European side of that historic meeting.
“It often takes quite a bit of effort to look past their many differences – in structure, procedure, as well as substantive law,” said Halberstam, drawing on his unique perspective as an insider to both courts. “But if we do, we see that they have much to learn from one another.”
Pictured above (left to right): U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Prof. George Bermann (Columbia Law School), retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Chief Justice John Roberts, Prof. Daniel Halberstam, Prof. Gráinne de Búrca, LLM '87 (New York University School of Law), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Prof. Sarah Cleveland (Columbia Law), Prof. Harold Koh (Yale Law School), and Prof. John Attanasio (Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University) at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Luxembourg.
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