Book Review: Comparative Constitutional Law

Comparative Constitutional Law, edited by Tom Ginsburg and Rosalind Dixon. Edward Elgar Publishing Company, 2011 (680 pages); $295, hardcover edition.

Comparative Constitutional Law is an excellent collection of “especially commissioned, original contributions by top international scholars” (from the back cover). The editors have collected and organized these contributions in a manner that makes sense and progresses along a well-developed plan helping the reader to more fully comprehend the underlying differences between the constitutional law of several countries.

Many of the authors are law professors in the area of constitutional law. However, to add further insight into the comparative aspect of this topic, there are several authors from countries outside the United States, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Having authors from outside the United States helps to further explore the comparative aspects of constitutional law with a variety of viewpoints.

As stated, the editors have developed a well-organized plan for this book. They start off the book with an exploration of constitutional law design. By understanding the different inputs that go into designing a constitution, the groundwork is laid for understanding the other areas, such as its structure, how it divides power between the government and individuals, and how it is interpreted. Each topic has a minimum of four essays, once again providing different viewpoints, allowing for more in-depth understanding.

At the end of each topic, the reader is presented with references to books and cases in order to allow further reading for those wishing even more in-depth study into the area. Again, both U.S. and foreign cases are cited for potential review by the reader. Finally, an index is provided for quick reference to specific topics within the book.

For anybody interested in this area, Comparative Constitutional Law provides a great background, coming from a wide array of authors. The book provides great in-depth coverage for someone with little to no knowledge of the topic (like myself) and provides the ability for those who wish to delve deeper to do so.

Reviewed by Paul D. Venard, reference librarian at the University of Dayton Zimmerman Law Library.

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