POL S 367 A: Comparative Law and Courts

Summer Term: 
Full-term
Meeting Time: 
MW 12:00pm - 2:10pm
Location: 
JHN 026
SLN: 
14486
Joint Sections: 
LSJ 367 A
Instructor:
Profile Photo 2
Jonathan Beck

Syllabus Description:

Instructor:                  Jonathan Beck
Office:                         Smith 039
Office hours:              Monday and Wednesday 10:45-11:45 a.m. or by appointment
E-mail:                        jcbeck@uw.edu

Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-2:10 p.m.
Summer Full Term | June 18, 2018 – August 17, 2018

Are you interested in why law and courts matter for politics and policy? This course will introduce you to comparative judicial politics: how law, courts, and politics interact in countries throughout the world. The class is a core course in the Law, Societies and Justice program and will meet twice weekly over the summer full term. The course includes an iterative paper project and will count for W credit.

We begin by critically examining the (ideal) functions of courts:  to provide for “order,” resolve disputes, and to enforce legal norms. We then turn to constitutional politics in democracies, asking whether and how constitutional courts have changed national policies and empowered individuals with new rights. Next we study the development of constitutional courts in countries that are undergoing transitions to democracy, transitioning to some as yet undefined system, as well as those in non-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, which we will compare with the European Court of Human Rights. The course concludes with an examination of the International Criminal Court.

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

PART I:  LAW, DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND COURTS

Week 1

Monday, June 18 - Introduction to the Course; Norms, Rules, and Law

Guiding Question: Do norms and law complement each other, challenge each other, or exist completely separate from each other?

Reading: Mother and Child Reunion; Collier, Law and Social Change in Zinacantan

Wednesday, June 20 - The Logic of Courts. Dyadic and Triadic Conflict Resolution.

Guiding Question: Are courts neutral arbiters of law, or political actors?    

Reading: Shapiro, “Judges as Liars”; Graglia, “Do Judges have a Policy-Making Role in the American System of Government?”; Merril, “A Modest Proposal for a Political Court”

Week 2

Monday, June 25 - The American Legal System in Comparative Perspective; Are the courts a source of social change?

Guiding Question: Do courts (and law) reinforce unequal power distributions, or can people use them to challenge those power distributions?

Reading: Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams (2011). “Race, Reform and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law.” German Law Journal, vol. 12, no. 1: 247-284.

PART II: CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS IN DEMOCRACIES

Wednesday, June 27 - The Politics of Judicial Review

Guiding Question: Why do democracies so often empower unelected courts to review legislation produced through ‘democratic’ processes?

Reading: Stone Sweet, “Constitutional Courts and Parliamentary Democracy.”

Week 3

Monday, July 2 - Case Study: France

Guiding Question: In a democracy, how should we arbitrate between individual and collective rights?

Reading: SAS decision BBC article; Tourkochoriti, “The Burka Ban Before the European Court of Human Rights…”; SAS v. France

Preparation for Simulation Exercise: Guided Reading Questions Due

Wednesday, July 4 – No Class

Week 4

Monday, July 9 - Constitutional Politics and Rights Protection.

Guiding Question: How do courts resolve disputes between different types of rights, more generally?

Reading: Hirschl, “The Judicialization of Mega Politics and the Rise of Political Courts.”

Topic, Thesis Due

Wednesday, July 11 - Case Study: Japan and Comparative Conclusions

Guiding Question: Why do similar institutional arrangements often produce different outcomes?

Reading: Upham, “Stealth Activism: Norm Formation by Japanese Courts.”          Topic, Thesis Returned

Week 5

Monday, July 16 – Midterm/Library Activity

Wednesday, July 18 – First Page – including introduction paragraph, revised thesis, initial bibliography, and outline – due no later than midnight on Friday, July 20.

PART III: CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS IN TRANSITION SOCIETIES

Week 6

Monday, July 23 - Judicial Power in New Democracies/Courts in New Democracies

Guiding Question: Can courts provide justice in transitions to democracy?

Reading: O’Regan, Kate (2014). “Justice & Memory: South Africa’s Constitutional Court.” Daedalus, vol. 143, no. 3: 168-178; Gardbaum, Are Strong Constitutional Courts Always a Good Thing for New Democracies?

Wednesday, July 25 - Case Study: South Korea & Taiwan in Comparison

Guiding Question: What role do courts play in facilitating transitions to democracy?

Reading: Ginsburg, The Constitutional Court and the Judicialization of Korean Politics

Week 7

Monday, July 30 – Plural Legal Systems

Guiding Question: How do legal systems balance between civil and religious law, and how do people on the ground navigate these distinctions?

Reading: Osanloo, Arzoo (2009). “Chapter Four: Courting Rights: Rights Talk in Islamico-Civil Family Court.” In The Politics of Women’s Rights in Iran. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

PART IV: INTERNATIONAL COURTS

Wednesday, August 1 - European Court of Justice and Theories of Legal Integration

Guiding Question: Why would states empower supranational courts to rule against them and their domestic laws?

Reading: Davies, “Activism Relocated: The Self-restraint of the European Court of Justice in its National Context.”

First Draft (5-7 pages) of your final research paper is due.

Week 8

Monday, August 6 - Judicial Rulemaking and the European Court of Justice

Guiding Question: Can supra- and international courts provide a new venue for democratic activism?

Case Study: Women’s Rights

Reading: Cichowski, Women’s Rights, the European Court and Supranational Constitutionalism

Wednesday, August 8 - The European Court of Human Rights

Guiding Question: Do states take international courts seriously, and why?

Reading: Helfer & Voeten, “International Courts as Agents of Legal Change”

Week 9

Monday, August 13 - The International Criminal Court

Guiding Question: Can an international court help us to solve the problem of addressing crimes against humanity?

Reading: Mayerfeld, “Who Shall be Judge?”

Wednesday, August 15 – Final Test and Course Conclusion

Final Paper Due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 17, 2018

 

LSJ/POL S 367 Comparative Law and Courts Grading System

Grade Scale taken from UW Handbook

http://www.washington.edu/students/gencat/front/Grading_Sys.html

UW Grade

UW Letter

100 point

4

A

95-100

3.9

A

94

3.9

A

93

3.8

A-

92

3.8

A-

91

3.7

A-

90

3.6

A-

89

3.5

A-

88

3.4

B+

87

3.3

B+

86

3.2

B+

85

3.1

B

84

3

B

83

2.9

B

82

2.8

B-

81

2.7

B-

80

2.6

B-

79

2.5

B-

78

2.4

C+

77

2.3

C+

76

2.2

C+

75

2.1

C

74

2

C

73

1.9

C

72

1.8

C-

71

1.7

C-

70

1.6

C-

69

1.5

C-

68

1.4

D+

67

1.3

D+

66

1.2

D+

65

1.1

D

64

1

D

63

0.9

D

62

0.8

D-

61

0.7

D-

60

 

F

0-59

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to comparative judicial politics, focusing on the relationship between law and politics in cross-national perspective, as well as on the functioning of supranational and international legal entities in the international system. May not be taken for credit if student has taken LSJ/JSIS B 366. Offered: jointly with LSJ 367.
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
International Relations Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 31, 2019 - 9:06pm