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Constitutional Analysis

Spring 2014 Course
Meets: Th, F 1:00pm - 2:30pm in WCC Room 1010
3 classroom credits

This course willl investigate some of the key issues that cut across the two basic constitutional law courses and that cross the divide between constitutional criminal procedure and constitutional law as those two realms are classically studied, for curricular reasons, in separate silos – but that often end up not being systematically covered anywhere precisely because they fit everywhere.

Those issues include (1) the definition of constitutional baselines; (2) the choice of levels of generality; (3) the role of government motivation; (4) the symmetry or asymmetry of various rights and powers; (5) splitting and joining rights; (6) the relevance of appearances; (7) the relevance of new technologies to various constitutional provisions and to the relationships among them; and (8) the contest among various forms of textualism, originalism and living constitutionalism. We will explore those matters in the context of disputes – both historical and contemporary – surrounding federalism, separation of powers, and individual rights.

The materials will be drawn from online assignments and a packet of course materials.

The course will receive 3 credits and will meet in two 90-minute lectures each week. Grading will be based entirely on one 8-hour, open-book, blindly graded final examination.

Prerequisites: Interested students must have successfully completed at least one of the two basic courses in American constitutional law - Constitutional Law: First Amendment and Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment and must, during the spring term, be concurrently enrolled in the other of the two basic courses in American constitutional law if not already completed.