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Globalizing the US Constitution

September 17, 2013


The Discussion

Constitution Day 2013, NYU Brademas Center, in conjuction with the Office of Government and Community Affairs and the Office of Global Programs, convened a discussion reflective of the global nature of the constitution. An esteemed panel of scholars debated and discussed the influences of the U.S. Constitution abroad: Has the Constitution been a model of for other countries in establishing rule of law? What about the U.S. Constitution have other countries changed?

The History of Constitution Day

In December 2004, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), the Senate's most prominent constitutional scholar at the time, successfully passed a bill creating Constitution Day requiring all primary, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions to raise awareness about the significance of the U.S. Constitution around the anniversary of the document's signing each September. Since that time, NYU has commemorated Constitution Day with an annual academic lecture that highlights the living nature of the constitution, featuring scholars and thinkers that keep the debates around this founding document alive.

Robert (Bob) Bauer

In Bob's 30 years of practice, he has provided counseling and representation on matters involving regulation of political activity before the courts and administrative agencies of national party committees, candidates, political committees, individuals, federal officeholders, corporations and trade associations, and tax-exempt groups.

Bob is the author of several books — United States Federal Election Law (1982, 1984), Soft Money Hard Law: A Guide to the New Campaign Finance Law (2002) and More Soft Money Hard Law: The Second Edition of the Guide to the New Campaign Finance Law (2004) — and numerous articles. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of Journal of Law and Politics. In 2000, he received the prestigious "Burton Award for Legal Achievement" for his legal writing. Bob is a 1976 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was named Hardy Dillard Fellow in legal writing.

Bob returned to the firm after a period of service to President Barack Obama as his White House counsel from December of 2009 until June of 2011. He is now General Counsel to the President’s re-election committee, to Obama for America and General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee. He has also served as co-counsel to the New Hampshire State Senate in the trial of The Hon. Chief Justice David A. Brock (2000); general counsel to the Bill Bradley for President Committee (1999 - 2000); and counsel to the Democratic Leader in the trial of President William Jefferson Clinton (1999). He has co-authored numerous bipartisan reports, including "Report of Counsel to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in the Matter of the United States Senate Seat From Louisiana" in the 105th Congress of the United States (March 27, 1997); "Campaign Finance Reform," A Report to the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the United States Senate (March 6, 1990); and "The Presidential Election Process in the Philippines" (1986), a bipartisan report prepared at the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Daniel Hulsebosch

Daniel Hulsebosch is a legal and constitutional historian whose scholarship ranges from the early modern British empire to the nineteenth-century United States. Throughout his work he explores the relationships between migration, territorial expansion, transnational sources of law, and the development of legal institutions and doctrines.

His first book, Constituting Empire: New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic World, 1664-1830 (2005), examines the intersection of constitutionalism and imperial expansion in the British Empire and early United States by focusing on New York between 1664 to 1830. He concludes that American constitution-making contributed significantly to the formation of the substantive genre of constitutional law in the Atlantic world. Presently he is writing a book with Professor David Golove entitled, A Civilized Nation: The International Dimensions of American Constitution-Making, 1774-1816. He is also working on another book, Writing Law on the Margins: Chancellor Kent and the Republic of Letters in the Early Republic, exploring the cosmopolitan legal culture of early America through the lens of James Kent's library, reading notes, published writings, and judicial career.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, he obtained a Ph.D. in history at Harvard University and then was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at N.Y.U. School of Law. He joined the faculty as professor of law in 2005.

Pasquale Pasquino

Born in Naples, Italy, Pasquale Pasquino is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Centre de Théorie du Droit, Paris (CNRS). He obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Classics from the University of Naples and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Paris I - Sorbonne.

Dr. Pasquino has been working in different research and teaching institutions, notably the Collège de France; Ecole Normale Supérieure; Université de Paris I, Sorbonne; Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris; Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte, Göttingen; Universität Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany; King's College, Cambridge; The University of Chicago; and the Universities of Turin and Rome I, Italy. Since 1995, he has been a Visiting Professor at NYU in the Politics Department and in the Global Law School Program.

Dr. Pasquino published 3 books, including Sieyes et l'invention du constitutionalism en France (Editions Odile Jacob, Paris, 1998), and eighty articles on constitutional and political theory and on history in European countries. He is currently writing a book entitled The Divided Power on the role of courts in the Athenian democracy and in contemporary constitutional systems. Dr. Pasquino’s fields of interest and expertise are Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, German Staatslehre in the 17th and 18th centuries, the political and constitutional theory of the French Revolution, the Weimar Republic, and contemporary constitutional adjudication in comparative perspective. He has coordinated the law and politics activities of the Adriano Olivetti Foundation (Rome) for six years. Through his work with the Foundation and NYU, he has organized conferences in Italy and New York about constitutional justice in the world.

Mila Versteeg

Mila Versteeg joined the Law School in 2011. Her research and teaching interest include comparative constitutional law, public international law and empirical legal studies. Versteeg earned her B.A. in public administration and first law degree from Tilburg University in the Netherlands in 2006. She earned her LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 2007 and a D.Phil. in socio-legal studies in 2011 from Oxford University, where she was a Gregory Kulkes Scholar at Balliol College and recipient of an Arts and the Humanities Research Council Award.

Prior to joining the Law School, Versteeg was an Olin Fellow and lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she taught comparative legal institutions. Versteeg previously worked at the U.N. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute in Turin and at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg. In the spring of 2009, she was a Hauser Global visiting researcher at New York University Law School. In the spring of 2010, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for Empirical Research in the Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Watch the Event

Meet the Moderator

Trevor Morrison

Trevor Morrison is currently the Dean and Clarence D. Ashley Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He was previously the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he was also faculty co-director of the Center for Constitutional Governance and faculty co-chair of the Hertog Program on Law and National Security. He spent 2009 in the White House, where he served as associate counsel to President Barack Obama. Drawing on both his scholarship and work experience, he has developed particular renown for his expertise in constitutional law as practiced in the executive branch. Dean Morrison's research and teaching interests are in constitutional law (especially separation of powers and federalism), federal courts, and the law of the executive branch. His scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, among others.

From 2003 to 2008, Dean Morrison taught at Cornell Law School, and was a visiting associate professor at NYU Law in 2007. Before entering academia, he was a law clerk to Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1998-99) and to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court (2002-03). Between those clerkships, he was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Solicitor General (1999-2000), an attorney-advisor in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (2000-01), and an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) (2001-02).

Dean Morrison received a B.A. (hons.) in history from the University of British Columbia in 1994, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1998. He was also a Richard Hofstadter Fellow in History at Columbia University. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. He was awarded the Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching by the Columbia Law School Class of 2011, and he was elected Faculty Convocation Speaker by the Cornell Law School Class of 2007.

Dean Travis Morrison



Meet the Panelists

Bob Bauer

Robert Bauer

Pasquale Pasquino

Pasquale Pasquino

Daniel Hulsebosch

Daniel Hulsebosch

Mila Versteeg

Mila Versteeg

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