Beschreibung: The last 30 years have seen an unprecedented rise of constitutionalism in the world. Part of this development has been the expansion of constitutional review, i.e. the power given to courts to strike down (parliamentary) laws if they violate the constitution. Though constitutional review often seems natural to us today and a necessity in any Rechtsstaat, it is in reality a rather new thing and not a self-evident power of courts at all. This course provides an overview of the rise of and development of constitutional courts and constitutional review in a range of different legal systems, starting with the United States where constitutional review is until today fairly contested and the Supreme Court is undergoing a major legitimacy crisis at the moment. We try to understand the development of US constitutionalism from a historical perspective, encountering landmark decisions like Dred Scott, Lochner, Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade and others. Secondly we move to Germany but with a focus not on doctrine (Dogmatik) but on the evolution of constitutional review here and the role of the German Constitutional Court over the last decades. Finally, we turn to South Africa as an example for a more recent constitution which has borrowed from the German and whose constitutionalism shares with the German the need for overcoming an evil past. South Africa is also one of the internationally most admired examples of constitutionalism to date, with an active constitutional court with a comparatively progressive jurisprudence.
The class pursues 3 objectives: 1. to give German students the opportunity to see German constitutionalism in comparison to other countries and offer them new perspectives on the world outside Germany, 2. to help practice your English by engaging in conversations in class and 3. to offer Erasmus and other visiting students an introduction to German constitutionalism from a broader comparative perspective.