24 January 2013

BOOK: Miller and The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany



Washington and Lee Law Professor Russell Miller has published a major revision of a landmark treatise on German constitutional law. The new edition of the book, entitled The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany (Duke University Press 2012), has been called “a masterful text” by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

First published in 1989, the book has become an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners of comparative, international, and constitutional law, as well as of German and European politics.  The new edition includes entirely new chapters addressing the relationship between German law and European and international law; social and economic rights, including the property and occupational rights cases that emerged from Germany’s unification; jurisprudence related to issues of equality, particularly gender equality; and the tension between Germany's counterterrorism efforts and its constitutional guarantees of liberty.  Miller, and co-author Donald Kommers, have also updated existing chapters—accounting for the most recent decisions of the German Constitutional Court—that address human dignity, family and marital freedom, free speech, freedom of religion, federalism, and separation of powers.

“German constitutional law—as interpreted by the powerful and widely-emulated German Federal Constitutional Court—plays a significant role in German and European politics,” says Miller.  “And because of Germany’s global economic and political importance—in the rest of the world as well.”  Miller noted the recent drama that engulfed the German Constitutional Court as it deliberated over challenges to Germany’s participation in massive financial bailouts meant to rescue the Euro.  “For several months last year,” said Miller, “the global markets agonized while waiting for the German court’s ruling.”   Headlines from the period simply concluded “German Judges Hold Europe's Fate in their Hands.”    
As in previous editions, Kommers’ and Miller's commentary on German constitutional law is illustrated by elegantly translated excerpts from more than one hundred German judicial decisions.  Miller remarked that this helps make the judgments “of one of the world’s most influential constitutional courts accessible to judges, practitioners and scholars around the world.”  This is confirmed by the praise given to the new edition by sitting and former high-court justices from Hong Kong, Israel, Italy and Poland.  Kate O’Regan, former-Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, has said:  “For those working in the field of comparative constitutional and human rights law (and especially those who do not have a grasp of German), the third edition of this book [is] an essential resource.”  

Miller’s other books include Comparative Law as Transnational Law (with Peer Zumbansen) (Oxford University Press 2011); U.S. National Security, Intelligence and Democracy (Routledge 2008); Progress in International Law (with Rebecca Bratspies) (Martinus Nijhoff 2008); Transboundary Harm and International Law:  Lessons from the Trail Smelter Arbitration (with Rebecca Bratspies 2006) (Cambridge University Press); and two volumes of The Annual of German & European Law (with Peer Zumbansen) (Berghahn Books).

Miller is the co-founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the German Law Journal, a highly respected English-language forum for scholarship on developments in German and European jurisprudence that attracts more than two million site visits from more than 50 countries each year. The Journal was in the vanguard of online academic journals when Miller and his co-founder Peer Zumbansen launched the project fifteen years ago.

Miller joined the W&L faculty in 2008 after six years at the University of Idaho College of Law. Prior to becoming a professor, Miller was a judicial law clerk for Judge Robert H. Whaley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and a criminal defense attorney in Arizona and Tennessee.  In 1999-2000 Miller was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Germany, participating in internships at the German Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights.  During the 2009-2010 academic year Miller was as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar conducting research at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law in Heidelberg, Germany.

Miller earned a B.A., while lettering in football, at Washington State University.  He graduated from Duke University with a  J.D. and a M.A. in English literature.  He received his LL.M. from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 

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