Professor Sujit Choudhry of the Center for Constitutional Transitions is one of several academics in the field of international and comparative law who are signatories on an amicus curiae brief concerning the improper view of international perspectives on abortion law. The brief, led by Aziza Ahmed, professor at Northeastern University School of Law, supports the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood as co-counsel representing abortion clinics and doctors in a case examining a challenge to a Texas law that bans dilation and evacuation, an otherwise commonly used and safe second trimester abortion procedure. More narrowly, the law seeks to ban the safest, most common method of second-trimester abortions after approximately 15 weeks, and as such Texas is in direct contradiction to the norms recognized in international law. The law was preliminary enjoined by a federal district court as it finds it to be likely unconstitutional. The state of Texas has appealed.
States are required by international human rights law to enable access to safe and legal abortion services. In line with this international norm, the global consensus is such that individual nations with legal traditions similar to those of the U.S. lean towards liberalization of abortion access. This reflects an expanding understanding of the close links between abortion access, gender equality and women’s health. Rather than acknowledging this international consensus, Texas presents a misleading and erroneous analysis of foreign law in the support of the state’s aim to pass a law that restricts access to safe abortion care.
The brief first elaborates international law as a counterpoint to the comparative analysis on which Texas exclusively relies. It then highlights the flawed methodology as well as the irrelevancy of the points mentioned by the expert witness who introduced comparative law evidence in support of Texas as they do not speak to moral or ethical consensus. Professor Choudhry is among the amici who, as international and comparative law scholars, has an interest in correcting this improper view of international law and Texas’s deeply flawed comparative law analysis.
Professor Choudhry is internationally recognized as an expert on comparative constitutional law and politics. He has also been a constitutional advisor for over two decades, and his expertise encompasses facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders, leading stakeholder consultations, performing detailed advisory work with technical experts, training civil servants and bureaucrats, engaging party leaders and parliamentarians, and drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field. Professor Choudhry globally advises on the process of constitution building in a number of countries. He is currently a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster and consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
Choudhry is the founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions that assembles and leads international networks of experts and partners with a global network of multilateral organizations, think tanks, NGOs and universities in order to conduct thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners. This is part of the Center’s effort to both create as well as mobilize knowledge in support of constitution building. To date, the Center for Constitutional Transitions has worked with over 50 experts from more than 25 countries. The Center is partnered with with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, whereby Choudhry co-leads three global collaborative research projects. These include Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions, Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies, and Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation from Authoritarian Backsliding and Partisan Abuse.
Sujit Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law. His previous academic engagements include having been the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. In his research, he focuses on several comparative constitutional law and politics issues. These include constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics; constitutional design in ethnically divided societies; federalism, decentralization and secession; semi-presidentialism; constitutional courts; official language policy, minority and group rights; bills of rights and proportionality; constitutional design in the context of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building; security sector oversight; and basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law.
His publication record includes over ninety articles, books, book chapters, working papers and reports. Choudhry is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law, the International Advisory Council of the Institute for Integrated Transitions, the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review, the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law, and is an Honorary Member of the Advisory Council of the Indian Constitutional Law Review.
More information on Sujit Choudhry can be found on his personal website sujitchoudhry.com as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter (@sujit_choudhry), Instagram (@sujitchoudhry) and on Facebook. More information regarding the Center can be found on constitutionaltransitions.com.