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In comparative constitutional discourse, Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus; we eagerly tell our European counterparts about the U.S. constitutional experience, but rarely do we listen when they talk to us about their own. Whereas Europeans routinely examine U.S. constitutionalism as an illuminating point of comparison or contrast, as Americans, we seem convinced that we have nothing to learn from looking abroad. This Article challenges that assumption. In particular, it argues that American courts and scholars have overlooked an important alternative to the dominant interpretation of the division of powers in the United States by ignoring the theory and practice of federalism in the European Union and in Germany.


Originally published as Halberstam, Daniel. "Of Power and Responsibility: The Political Morality of Federal Systems." Virginia Law Review 90, no. 3 (2004): 731-834.