W&L Law Professor Russell Miller has organized a symposium in honor of Don Kommers, a German legal academic who is widely seen as one of the founders of the comparative constitutional law discipline and a much-admired specialist on German constitutional law. To honor him on his 80th birthday, Professor Miller has partnered with two prestigious academic institutions in Berlin–and several important sponsors–for this symposium. The program will be hosted by the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Academy of Science) and the American Academy in Berlin. Sponsors include the Draeger Foundation, the German Federal Ministry of Justice, Notre Dame University and the German Law Journal.
The event begins on Friday, October 26, in the evening with a dinner and podium discussion, the latter featuring Kommers in conversation with former German Constitutional Court Justice Dieter Grimm and Harvard Law Professor Vicki Jackson. Among the invitees to the dinner are a high-level, ministerial delegation from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and current and former justices of the German Constitutional Court. On Saturday, October 27, there will be two panels exploring the theme “The Curious Life of the Grundgesetz in America” and will aim to consider how Kommers’ work–which opened up German constitutional law for American researchers–impacted German constitutional law. The first panel will feature Americans who work on German constitutional law, including a presentation by Professor Miller entitled “What we Teach When we Teach German Constitutional Law”. The second panel will feature Germans who have extensive experience in America, including current German Constitutional Court Justice Susanne Baer.