Ireland Project

The Galway-Maryland Constitutional Law Summer School: The Global Crisis of Constitutional Democracy

National University of Ireland School of Law and University of Maryland Carey School of Law

June 8-11, 2022

Lead by Professor Ioanna Tourkochoriti, National University of Ireland School of Law; and Professors Peter Danchin and Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland Carey School of Law

Project Summary

The workshop was attended by UM Carey Law students who traveled to Galway, Ireland and Irish law students at National University of Ireland School of Law. The summer school explored issues related to the foundations of constitutional democracy. Topics included:

  • Political foundations of constitutional democracy through a revisionist account of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
  • The role that the backlash against global law and institutions play in the contemporary crisis of constitutional democracy.
  • How the political theories underlying the 18th century revolutions in France and the United States continue to structure constitutional democracy in those regimes.
  • The role of academic freedom in contemporary constitutional democracies.
  • Liberal constitutional commitment to the rule of law in the contemporary world.
Reflection from UM Carey Law Professor Mark Graber: 

What students learn almost immediately when they travel abroad is legal practices we take for granted in the United States may not exist or exist in different form in other states, and that these states are not badly governed even as when they differ.  In doing so, the travel experience enables students to reflect on what features of law in the United States might be universal, what features of law might reflect the distinctive conditions of American history, and what features of law in the United States might be improved in light of practice abroad.

Reflections by UM Carey Schol of Law Students: 

The connections and memories I made during the Ireland seminar will no doubt stick with me forever. In the classroom, my understanding of the American legal system and constitutional democracy was enriched by Irish and European perspectives. During our excursions into Galway and other parts of Ireland, we were always greeted by the warmth and kindness of the Irish people. I look forward to visiting Ireland again, and I hope to extend the same welcoming spirit to Irish students visiting Maryland.

                                                                           - Keegan Farley, Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2024

I can't say enough how meaningful I found the trip. It was intellectually transformative, and also very fun. I think being outside the country in such an immersive academic setting naturally encouraged all of us to reflect and challenge our existing opinions. It felt like we were thinking seriously about the law in a way that I haven't encountered in any of my other classes but which is completely essential at this moment in history. And Ireland was a particularly great partner for this work in several ways. The cultural similarities between Ireland and the United States often helped highlight the differences between the countries, and this provided a strong backdrop for the comparative law topics we discussed. It was also fascinating to hear perspectives on the US from the Irish students, which sometimes surprised and challenged me. More generally, NUIG (and the Irish people in general) was incredibly welcoming, and the country was beautiful. I really hope that other students will have the opportunity to have similar experiences.

                                                                           - Rosemary Ardman, Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2024

The program with the NUIG students was amazing! They were able to share their perspectives on issues both from the vantage point of Ireland, but also within the context of the European Union. These perspectives were so valuable in discussing issues within Constitutional democracies and analyzing law and governance. The students were incredibly knowledgeable and welcoming, and we all felt incredibly enriched by the program! Ireland is a wonderfully welcoming place for international students, and we also appreciated the great care and hospitality we experienced.

                                                                           - Jill Muth, Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2024

We were able to learn about perspectives from the UK, Ireland, Australia, France, and South Africa through the efforts of our Irish hosts. While engaging with these scholars was a wonderful opportunity, we were also able to engage one-on-one with Irish students who had great insight into their own perspectives on international law and constitutionalism. In addition, my fellow Maryland students and I were able to offer our viewpoints and represent our school on an international platform. Because of this program, I had the opportunity to network and, as a result, gained numerous new contacts with people across the world. This program was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to NUIG and Maryland Carey Law for allowing me the opportunity to participate. I hope the program continues so future law students will be granted the same chance to partake in such a wonderful program in Ireland.

                                                                           - Morgana Omaleki, Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2024