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87 N.Y.U. L. Rev. Online 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/nyulro87 and id is 1 raw text is: 








                       RESPONSE

           METHOD IN COMPARATIVE
 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: A COMMENT ON
                 LAW AND VERSTEEG

                        SUJIT CHOUDHRY*

      In response to David  S. Law &  Mila Versteeg, The Declining
Influence of the United States Constitution, 87 N.Y.U. L. REV. 762
(2012).

                          INTRODUCTION
    Of  the many questions raised by David Law and Mila Versteeg's
important article,' I want to focus on two. First, as a methodological
matter, do they measure  constitutional convergence and divergence
in  the  right way?   Second,  what  is the  relationship between
quantitative, large-n work of the  genre represented  by Law   and
Versteeg's article and small-n, qualitative work that has hitherto been
the favored methodological  approach  in comparative constitutional
law and politics?

                                 I
           MEASURING   CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE
    Law   and   Versteeg  measure   constitutional convergence  by
treating each dimension of a constitution as a binary variable.2 For
bills of rights, they aggregate  the  number   of  rights-protecting
provisions to  sixty, and make   a series of pairwise comparisons
between  each bill of rights and, inter alia, (a) a hypothetical, generic
bill of rights,3 and (b) the U.S. Constitution.4 With respect to rights-

  * Copyright @ 2012 by Sujit Choudhry, Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law, Faculty
Director, Center for Constitutional Transitions (www.constitutionaltransitions.org), New
York University School of Law. I thank the editors of the New York University Law
Review for inviting me to contribute this comment, David Law and Mila Versteeg for
sharing a portion of their dataset with me, and Aqeel Noorali for excellent research
assistance.
   1 David S. Law & Mila Versteeg, The Declining Influence of the United States
Constitution, 87 N.Y.U. L. REV. 762 (2012).
   2 Id. at 771-72.
   3 See id. at 776-79 (describing a generic bill of rights).
   4 See id. at 781-84 (describing declining similarity between the U.S. Constitution and


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