As part of International Law Week, Professor Mark Kende and Professor Miguel Schor gave a talk to second-year (2L) law students. The talk, entitled “Beyond the U.S.: Constitutionalism in Other Countries,” discussed different approaches to constitutionalism, judicial review, unwritten constitutions, separation of powers, and socio-economic rights.
Drake 2L Anagha Dixit developed the idea through a conversation with Miguel Schor, professor of law with an expertise in Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutionalism, and Latin American Studies.
“I’ve always been really interested in international law and I remember speaking to Professor Schor last year when he found out I was from Canada, he told me that he was familiar with and had studied the Canadian Constitutional Charter,” says Dixit. “That got the ball rolling in my mind about constitutions from other countries and how they are similar to or different from the American constitution.”
Professor Mark Kende, James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law, and director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center, focused on the significance of the South African Constitution. Kende focused much of his time on several aspects of their Constitution and their Constitutional Court that are especially innovative, and different from the U.S. Constitution.
“Their affirmative socio-economic obligations are quite innovative and important internationally, especially given the active way that the Constitutional Court has enforced these rights,” says Kende. “The U.S. Constitution is much briefer, older, and has no such socio-economic obligations, though it’s still a globally important document.”
Professor Schor’s talk was entitled “What the United States Might Learn from World Constitutionalism.” Professor Schor focused on how different our own constitution is from contemporary constitutions.
“The United States has had a huge influence on constitutions around the globe,” says Schor. “I discussed how we could use world or global constitutionalism as a mean of shedding light on our constitutional order.”
Students at Drake have many options during International Law Week, from international foods at lunch, to a panel of local lawyers discussing international issues in their practice.
“I think the students got to see that their professors had interests outside of what’s taught in the classroom,” concludes Dixit. “I was blown away by the people’s interest in the event and I was happy to see that lots of people had questions. Of course, all of the credit goes to Professor Schor and Professor Kende for agreeing to do this event and doing such a great job with it.”