740 Constitutional Law II - §002, Fall 2013

Categories: Constitutional Law

Instructor(s) Quraishi-Landes, Asifa

This course explores the constitutional protection of individual rights under the "Equal Protection" and "Due Process" clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Most of the semester will be spent on Equal Protection, specifically race (including the related issues of desegregation and affirmative action) and gender discrimination, and then explore other potential bases of equal protection claims (such as disability, sexual orientation). Finally, we spend a few weeks on the fundamental rights recognized as part of the Due Process Clause, thus addressing constitutional protection of contraception, abortion, and sexual activity. The casebook is Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (edited by Brest, Levinson, Balkin, Amar and Siegel). Professor Quraishi-Landes teaches this course with attention to the idea that what constitutes a good or persuasive constitutional argument has changed and will continue to change over time. In class, students will explore how what the Constitution means is often intertwined with the question of how one chooses to interpret it, who is the person or institution performing this interpretation, and why the question is presented in the first place. To help students to go beyond the doctrinal rules of the law, Professor Quraishi-Landes uses several non- traditional techniques, including role plays (where students literally wear the hat of a past constitutional character), video supplements, internet streaming audio/video, and real life hypotheticals. She expects students to come to class prepared to articulate the relevant constitutional rulings as well as their own analyses of the issues. The goal is an interactive classroom environment that is demanding yet open and alive.

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