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Spring 2023 Course

Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment

Prerequisites: None.

Exam Type: Any-Day Take-Home

This is one of the basic courses in American Constitutional Law. It focuses primarily on Equal Protection and Due Process – and secondarily on Federalism and Separation of Powers. Because constitutional law is always [at least potentially] in motion, this class will feature its development through time, animated and structured by momentous shifts in its political and social contexts as well as by ideological tensions deep within the law itself. We’ll analyze the ebb and flow of doctrine and argument, concentrating on the modern period beginning with Brown v.Board of Education.

All of that will prepare us to speculate about possible developments that lie ahead now. We’ll finish by addressing the contemporary challenge posed by populist uprisings, and the supposed crisis of constitutional democracy, in the West.

The overall aim of the class will be to enable you not only to understand constitutional law, but to make effective constitutional argument and to better understand law in general, especially in its relation to emotion, imagination and politics.

In class, there will be no mandatory participation. But I’ll call on students, along with encouraging volunteers, in order to ensure discussions are truly open to all points of view.  If the class has under 50 students, a few grades may be raised in cases of excellent participation in class discussions.

Note: This course is not available for rising 2Ls & 3Ls due to substantial overlap with the 1L Constitutional Law course.