Why do we compare Constitutions? Why should we? Those were the questions
posed by Santiago Legarre, a professor at Universidad Católica Argentina, at a talk at Harvard Law School on Jan. 11 sponsored by HLS’s American Constitution Society.
Legarre set out to defend a natural law theory of comparative constitutional law, and used the talk to allow students to participate in a scholar’s “thinking in progress.”
Currently a visiting professor at Notre Dame Law School, Legarre stressed that foreign judgments are one source that judges should be able to explore to make persuasive constitutional law arguments.
The comparative law approach has its critics, who cite its arbitrariness. But Legarre sees that as no barrier. “Of course you are going to pick your friends from the crowd of jurisdictions,” he said. “Who wouldn’t?” Comparative law is just one tool among many, he argued, and, like other methods, it must be used in good faith.
Legarre received an LL.B. from Universidad Catolica Argentina, a Master of Studies in Legal Research from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. from Universidad de Buenos Aires. He is a founding member of and visiting professor at Strathmore Law School, Nairobi, Kenya.