In this essay, Prof. Siegel identifies several uses of transnational perspectives in first-year constitutional law: (1) comparing American constitutional arrangements to those in other countries; (2) teaching international law and foreign legal experiences when relevant to U.S. litigation in the "war on terror"; and (3) examining the U.S. Supreme Court's invocations of foreign legal practices. These uses are illustrated with examples from doctrinal areas that are covered in his course. While each use serves a distinct pedagogical purpose, cumulatively they underscore the increasing importance of transnational legal perspectives in U.S. constitutional law. He concludes, however, with a cautionary note. Selectivity and modesty are warranted, he suggests, because the course appropriately focuses on the United States, teaching time is scarce, coverage tradeoffs abound, the subject matter is complex, and one cannot easily construct transnational examples that are both intellectually serious and pedagogically tractable.
Neil S. Siegel, Some Modest Uses of Transnational Legal Perspectives in First-Year Constitutional Law, 56 Journal of Legal Education 210-215 (2006)