PUBLISHED:April 03, 2011

Annual Bernstein Lecture

Proportionality in Constitutional Law: Why Everywhere but Here?
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
12:15 - 1:15 pm
Room 3041 | Duke Law School

Open to the public.

View Webcast

Featuring Bernhard Schlink
Professor of Law, Humboldt University, Germany, and author of acclaimed novel, The Reader

Today the principle of proportionality plays a dominant role in constitutional law worldwide. This lecture examines where the principle comes from, why it plays the role it plays, and why American constitutional scholarship and jurisprudence are reluctant to embrace it.


Bernhard Schlink is a writer and a professor of public law and legal philosophy; for many years he was also a judge at a German constitutional law court. He was born in 1944, grew up in Heidelberg, lived in Germany, France, and USA, has a son and two granddaughters and teaches now at Humboldt University in Berlin and at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. He began publishing crime novels in 1987 and other fiction in 1995. His first fiction to appear in English was his novel "The Reader", 1997; since then his collection of stories "Flights of Love", the novels "Homecoming" and "The Weekend" and his trilogy about the private detective Gerhard Self, "Self's Punishment", "Self's Betrayal", and "Self's Murder", have come out. His essays "Guilt about the Past" deal with Germany's recent past, collective and individual guilt, forgiving and forgetting, law and morality, his scholarly work focusses on fundamental rights, the role of the police, and the meaning of justice. He has just published another collection of stories in German.