731 Constitutional Law I - §002, Spring 2009

Categories: Constitutional Law

Instructor(s) Althouse, Ann

Covers the basic structure of government in the United States, with emphasis on the federal government. Includes the role of the federal courts and the doctrine of judicial review; the rise of federal power, as reflected particularly in shifting definitions of "interstate commerce," the doctrine of separation of powers, with emphasis on current issues of legislative and executive branch authority; and judicial and other limitations on the exercise of authority by the states.

In addition to learning the doctrine in this area, the goals of this class are:

1. To understand how courts derive doctrine from the text of the Constitution, from the historical materials, from precedent, from practical and ethical considerations, and from reasoning about the capacity of the judiciary in relation to the legislature and the executive,

2. To understand the Supreme Court as an institution that has changed over the course of American history and that is composed of different individuals who have varying approaches to interpreting the Constitution and who do not always completely, clearly, or correctly explain their reasoning in the written opinions that we must rely upon,

3. To learn how to express yourself clearly and persuasively within the professional discourse of constitutional law, and

4. To prepare yourself to absorb the changes in constitutional law that will occur as it evolves over the
course of your career.

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