CLASS MEETS MARCH 2-APRIL 24.
The aim of this course is to examine and assess the distinctive features of European constitutionalism. Different countries in the world have developed this abstract political idea in different ways. What are the specific characteristics of the European approach? What internal variations can one identify? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
The course will focus on different topics. Some of them are structural, such as: the European preference for parliamentary over presidential democracy; the centrality of legislation within the legal system; the option in favour of Constitutional Courts; the openness of the domestic legal systems to international and supranational law; the strength of supranational courts -in particular, the European Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights.
Other topics are of a more substantive nature: How should fundamental rights be interpreted and enforced? Are private individuals bound by them? What duties must the government comply with? We will focus on particular rights, in order to distil some distinctive principles of European law. When it comes to freedom of speech, religious liberties, and the rights of criminal defendants, for example, interesting differences emerge between the European and the American approaches.
Two credits. There will be a final exam. Writing a paper is an alternative option.