The Constitution & American Exceptionalism: Citation of Foreign Law - Event Audio/Video

2007 National Lawyers Convention

What relationship is there between the ideology and reality of American exceptionalism and our ideas about the Constitution?  Is the U.S. Constitution a symbol of the United States' status as a Shining City on a Hill – a kind of Ark of the Covenant of the New Israel that is America?  How different is the U.S. Constitution from the Constitutions of other Western democracies and are those differences a good thing?  How different is Supreme Court constitutional case law from the comparable case law of other major Western democracies?  Why is the U.S. so much more enthusiastic about freedom of speech and of the press than are other Western democracies?  What explains America's unique fascination with the separation of church and state, the exclusionary rule, the death penalty, jury trials, and property rights?  Why is the abortion issue so much more controversial in the U.S. than it is in other Western democracies?  Are we unique in the power we give to our Supreme Court to decide controversial issues of domestic policy?  Do these differences suggest that the U.S Supreme Court ought not to rely on foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution, since the United States is such a different country from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan?

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Grand Ballroom

Showcase Panel III: The Constitution & American Exceptionalism: Citation of Foreign Law

  • Prof. Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law School
  • Hon. Frank H. Easterbrook, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • Prof. Vicki C. Jackson, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: Hon. Janice Rogers Brown, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

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