Will Germany always really best the US (and the world) in doctrinal legal scholarship?

Germany’s Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) has issued a report on the state of legal scholarship in the country. At first glance it is fairly interesting as an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the discipline. The report has attracted, however, a rather unusual response at Verfassungsblog from a professor at Duke, Ralf Michaels, who seems to hold to theories of cultural determinism in legal education. According to Michaels, “German doctrinal scholarship will always be superior to that of other countries,..”

Always? I am not sure what to make of this. Is it an indirect insult, a polite (at least in Germany) way of saying that Germany will not ever be superior in Rechtsphilosophie or interdisciplinary scholarship? Even if one were to accept for a moment cultural determinism, and I do not, still one would have to wonder about the soundness of the assessment of the historical German legal culture-is the German public law tradition, and its strengths, to be reduced to doctrinal wizardry? Anyone with awareness of that tradition as it evolved from Hegel until the day Hitler came to power would, I think, have to say no ...

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