Categories: Constitutional Law
Course Page for Fall 2016 - Klug, Heinz
This course is designed to enable students to understand the rights contained in the Bill of Rights by adopting a comparative approach to explore the jurisprudence of constitutional rights. The course uses four jurisdictions, the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa to compare how these different constitutional systems protect and interpret the rights enshrined in their constitutions and law. While all four jurisdictions are rooted in the common law legal tradition and share a history of colonial settlement and English public law, their respective approaches to the protection and interpretation of specific rights provides a unique opportunity to explore the idea and practice
of constitutional rights and to see how similar rights may be understood and shaped depending on the different historical, social and institutional contexts
in which they are recognized.
By the end of this course students should:
1) Have a thorough understanding of the origins and development of the Bill of Rights;
2) Understand the relationship between the federal structure of the constitution and the protection of rights;
3) Be able to distinguish the particular ways in which the Constitution recognizes and upholds fundamental rights through the protection of due process, equality and liberty;
4) Be able to compare and contrast the role of the courts in the protection of democracy and individual rights;
5) Understand the role of different constitutional branches, the courts, legislature and executive in the advancement and protection of rights;
6) Be able to compare the protection of individual rights with concerns of minority communities whose policy preferences and rights are less likely to gain recognition through democratic contestation;
7) Appreciate the distinction between how rights are protected in the United States as compared to three other Anglo-American common law jurisdictions: Australia, Canada and South Africa, all of which use the common law method and share the Anglo-American legal tradition yet have quite different approaches to the protection of rights.
Recent Offerings of this course by this instructor
Course Page for Fall 2016 - Schwartz, David
This course covers civil and individual rights at the federal level. Emphasis is on the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, including substantive due process, privacy, discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference and other characteristics, fundamental rights and affirmative action. The 1st Amendment is also reviewed, including the freedoms of speech, the press, association and religion.
On completion of this course, you should be able to:
1) Understand and explain in your own words, the following constitutional doctrines of constitutional law:
• substantive due process both in general terms and with particular reference to the problems of privacy;
• equal protection, both in general terms and with particular reference to the problems of race and sexual orientation;
• the First Amendment doctrines of content neutrality and unprotected speech;
2) Apply these doctrines to new cases and fact patterns;
3) Evaluate and critically assess the following interpretive and analytical approaches to constitutional law:
• the “levels of scrutiny,” and at least one alternative framework for balancing individual rights versus governmental regulatory interests;
• at least two theories of constitutional interpretation;
4) Formulate an answer to the question “why is race discrimination unconstitutional?” in a way that thinks critically and doesn’t entirely rely on stock answers to that question;
5) Create an effective 3-5 minute oral presentation explaining and analyzing a complex constitutional law question.