These courses address the fundamental questions that face people drafting or revising constitutions: How does one design a system of government to fit the histories, cultures, and aspirations of a country’s people? What are the choices or models available from other countries? Which models work under which conditions and why? How might designers think about the process of borrowing and/or modifying such models? How should the constitutional drafting/revision process itself be designed?
These issues are of relevance to people who hope to work in the State Department, international organizations (such as the UN), and many non-governmental organizations. These classes also provide a valuable perspective from which to think about the Constitution and process of government in the U.S.
The curriculum on constitutional design includes a series of basic courses and a collection of more specialized electives.
The Center for Constitutional Democracy (CCD) works with constitutional reformers to build democratic institutions, practices and cultures in countries marked by ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other divisions. The Center offers 7-8 students each year the opportunity to become JD affiliates. Affiliates work with the CCD on research projects related to the constitutional advising work. In the past, such work has included research for the first-ever constitutional commentary on Liberia's constitution, travel to Thailand for consultation with Burmese democratic reformers, and travel to Liberia to meet with the Constitutional Review Committee. Affiliates are also invited to participate in the Center seminar series, which brings speakers from around the world to discuss topics related to democracy and constitutionalism.