940 L&CP: Comparative Constitutional Courts - §020, Spring 2011

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Instructor(s) Trochev, Alexei


This seminar explores the origins, functioning, and impact
of constitutional and supreme courts as tribunals, armed with the powers of
judicial review of laws and regulations. These courts now function in more than
150 countries and decide crucially important issues, such as what to wear in
public, whom to marry, providing Internet access, banning political parties,
pardoning dictators, and shooting down hijacked airplanes. We will contrast and
compare how different national and supra-national courts operate and how they
approach these and other fundamental political questions. By analyzing selected
judicial decisions and their criticisms, we will try to determine the degree of
“judicial activism” of these tribunals and see how it affects lives of ordinary
citizens. At the end of the course, we will write a 16-page comment on the
selected decisions of the constitutional courts.

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