Description: Are you interested in why law and courts matter for international and comparative politics and policy? This course, a basic introduction to comparative judicial politics, is targeted at undergraduate students who are interested in learning about the interaction between law, courts and politics in countries throughout the world. This class is a required pre-requisite course for the Law, Societies and Justice program and consists of both large lectures and smaller quiz sections. We begin by critically examining the (alleged) functions of courts: to provide for “order,” resolve disputes, and to enforce legal norms. We then turn to constitutional politics in democracies, asking how constitutional courts have changed national policies and empowered individuals with new rights. Next we study the development of constitutional courts in new democracies. The final section of the course is devoted to law and courts in supranational and international contexts. In particular, students will explore an increasingly powerful supranational court, the European Court of Justice. Another supranational court, the European Court of Human Rights, will serve as a comparison. Finally, we will end by examining a newly evolving international court, the International Criminal Court.