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The Public Law Center and the Law and Society Center visited Washington, DC for 8 days from March 4 to 12, 2023. The delegation comprised of four students and four staff members participated in various professional programs. The purpose of the trip was to explore key areas of the American legal system, federalism and constitutional discourse, including in particular the relationship between the church and the state.
The opening event of the trip was a conference on Religion and Constitution in the 21st Century, organized by Liberty University, the Religious Freedom Institute and the Freedom and Identity in Central Europe (FICE) working group, where the organizers invited Dr. Szabolcs Nagypál, Head of our Law School, to moderate a panel; Dr. Márton Sulyok, head of the Public Law Center, gave a presentation on Hungary's situation of the relationship between church and state in the light of the provisions of the Fundamental Law. He also spoke about how the role of history and religion in constitutional identity is reflected in the practice of the Constitutional Court, and how the provisions of the Fundamental Law resonate with the American constitutional thinking.
During the study trip, students visited institutions such as the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery and Mount Vernon, where a high-quality exhibition of local, cultural, constitutional and legal history was installed at the former family estate of US President George Washington.
In addition, the delegation met with American professors at several universities, who gave high quality lectures on topics such as family, the relationship between children's religious upbringing and the education system, the roots of the administrative state in the constitutional history of the Federalist Papers, the functioning of the American administrative and legislative system, and federalism and interstate relations in America.
The group was also hosted by the Heritage Foundation and Hungary Foundation, as well as Embassy staff, to provide insight into the work and functioning of the foundations and the organization of the Embassy. This gave the delegation a comprehensive picture of current trends in the relationship between the United States and Hungary, highlighting in which areas cooperation is the most needed.
As a result of the study trip, the students gained a strong practical experience of how the US is dealing with issues such as the separation of church and state, the challenges of federalism, or even the limits of the administrative state in the 21st century.