Instructor(s): Lorraine Weinrib

For graduate students, the course number is LAW5062H.

Note: This course satisfies either the Perspective or the International/Comparative/
Transnational course requirement.

This course examines the historical, theoretical and doctrinal parameters of constitutional rights protection in comparative perspective.

The course readings will include the texts of a variety of rights-protecting instruments as well as a mix of highly admired and widely repudiated cases. These readings will highlight the importance of the form and status of these instruments. They will also delineate the importance of interpretive methodology, commitments informing limitation analysis, and assumptions as to the legitimacy of the constraints that rights-protection imposes on political institutions.

The course will also consider some of the persisting puzzles raised by the study of comparative constitutional law. How is it that rights-protecting systems -- which usually formalize the intention to remedy defects or inadequacies within a distinct national context at a particular historical moment -- often import normative commitments, methodology, and remedial aspirations from other systems? What considerations support and militate against such importation? Why do some judges categorically reject it? Why do other judges borrow extensively with no attribution?

Professor Weinrib will assist students in the formulation of their essay topics.

Term work: (40%) -- Full attendance, contributions to class discussion, participation in small group exercises & class presentations. (5% each = 20%). -- 4 comments that reflect on assigned readings, class discussion, or bring in other relevant material. (Distributed evenly through the course, e.g., monthly. All submitted before the last class.) Approximately 500 words (5% each = 20%); Final essay (60%). -- Approximately 5,000 words. There will be some instruction on how to write a good essay, analytic techniques for comparative constitutional analysis, and direction in methods of comparative constitutional law research.

At a Glance

Second Term
Perspective course


15 JD


M: 10:30 - 12:20