Strategies for Defending Constitutional Democracy Under Stress

Strategies for Defending Constitutional Democracy Under Stress

Professor Laurence Tribe
Spring 2019 seminar
W 3:00pm - 5:00pm in Lewis Room 301
2 classroom credits

Prerequisite: Enrollment will be limited to 12 and will be by permission of the instructor, based on written applications that include (1) the applicant’s CV and unofficial list of courses and instructors, including those the applicant plans to take concurrently with this seminar in Spring 2019, and (2) a brief (no more than 1 or 2 double-spaced pages) statement of interest. No auditors will be allowed.

All applications must be submitted electronically to Kathy McGillicuddy (, with copies to Professor Tribe ( no later than 4 PM on December 6, 2018. Only students who are prepared to make a firm commitment to enroll in the seminar in the event they are admitted should apply. Students will be admitted on a rolling basis, with all notifications sent out by December 10. There’s no guarantee slots will still be open by that time.

Exam Type: No Exam

In addition to attending and participating in every seminar meeting, each student will be responsible for writing two very short papers (5 double-spaced pages max for each paper) during the course of the seminar. The paper topics will be assigned a week before the papers are due. All papers will be due two days before the session in which they will be used to facilitate class discussion of the assigned materials.

Students who also write a substantial 1-credit paper in conjunction with the seminar on a topic to be approved by the instructor will receive 3 credits in all.

This seminar will assess the challenges for democracy under law, for human rights, and for fact-based government posed by the successful strategies of McConnell, Trump, and Kavanaugh — and will explore ways of using constitutional law and politics to push back against those strategies.

Subject Areas: Constitutional Law & Civil Rights