Chicago Journal of International Law


Comparative constitutionalism is an area of legal scholarship with a long history, and it has long been an area in which legal scholars collaborate with scholars in other disciplines, such as political science, philosophy, and sociology. Recently, as globalization has fostered closer relations among nations and as international treaties and agreements have played an increasing role in many nations' understanding of their domestic legal traditions, the need to study constitutional issues comparatively has come to seem even more urgent and the interdisciplinary collaboration involved even more fruitful and exciting. The symposium on Comparative Constitutionalism centers on Mark Tushnet's article, State Action, Social Welfare Rights, and the Judicial Role: Some Comparative Observations. Tushnet's article displays not only a mastery of traditional techniques of comparative analysis of text and interpretation, but also a sensitivity to the larger social and political forces in societies that affect the understanding of constitutional guarantees. The field of comparative constitutionalism is intrinsically cooperative and interdisciplinary, since it requires a depth of knowledge about comparative political structures that lawyers as such do not typically acquire from their legal education. It is therefore appropriate that Tushnet's commentators include a law professor with philosophical inclinations (Epstein), a law professor who is also a political scientist (Sunstein), and a political science professor who is also a philosopher (Young). Such a cooperative group is needed to shed light on the tangled relations between legislatures and courts, and between both of these and larger social values. [CONT]