Const Law II: Comparative Constitutional Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE, WED 2:00 - 3:15 pm TNH 3.127

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
May 1, 2008


South Africa is a microcosm of today's world, contending with racial divisions, vast economic inequality, advanced industrial development and severe underdevelopment. South Africa's constitutional experience is rich with lessons for anyone interested in constitutional law and constitutional design, human rights, and democratic institutions. This course will examine constitutional developments in South Africa, beginning with the country's transition from Apartheid to a constitutional democratic state in 1994. It will focus mainly on adjudications under the Bill of Rights and their bearing on the wider development of South African law and legal/judicial, political and social institutions. Comparison with constitutional law in other countries, for which we will rely heavily on the South African Constitutional Court's own extensive references to foreign law, will be an important theme. The course will consider the range of possible motivations for consultations of foreign law by constitutional courts and the values and purposes that such consultations may be thought to serve. Topics will include protections of civil liberties, economic and social rights, equality and affirmative action, and the bearing of the Bill of Rights on law governing relations to which the government is not a party (the "state action" question). There will be a twenty-four hour take-home exam with strict page limits.