Elements of US Constitutional Law

CEU code: 
LEGS 5009
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
5 Oct 2009 - 22 Oct 2009
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of Legal Studies
Academic Program: 
Master of Laws in Human Rights
Renáta Uitz

This introductory course is intended to familiarize Human Rights LLM students with the precedent based approach to constitutionalism with special emphasis on rights protection in the US constitutional system. The course commences with a short survey of structural issues (including federalism, separation of powers and constitutional adjudication). This is then followed by discussion of select problems of fundamental rights protection in courts using examples of property, equality, free exercise and privacy. Constitutional problems will be presented in their broader historical and societal context. Note that the US jurisprudence on other fundamental rights (such as free speech or freedom of religion will be covered in separate courses in detail during the academic year).

The course aspires to introduce the US constitutional system from a unique, human rights oriented perspective. The primary aim of the course is to make students feel comfortable in a legal setting where court decisions are a primary source of the law and of constitutional rights. In addition, the course hopes to present constitutional rights litigation as a means of defending human rights in a domestic legal system. To this end, students will be encouraged to follow how the operations of government affect human rights and how a real-life controversy transforms into a constitutional case.