904 SP Con Law, Spring 2011 to Fall 2015

Categories: Constitutional Law

1st Amendment

Course Page for Fall 2011 - Desai, Anuj

This course covers the free-speech jurisprudence of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is a problem-oriented course, with most class periods spent analyzing specific problems in light of the case law and legal principles and policies. It satisfies the Con Law II requirement.

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20th Century Constitution

Course Page for Spring 2011 - Nourse, Victoria, Snyder, Brad

Twentieth-Century Constitution: This is a course in constitutional history
meeting the constitutional law II requirement. We will
examine the development of constitutional doctrine over the course of the
twentieth century. The course begins with video materials telling a standard
history of the twentieth century constitution. We then return to the original
materials to ask whether the standard history is in fact accurate. Each unit is
introduced by contextual matter aimed at familiarizing the student with the
important issues of the day, whether it be child labor, lynching, the
Depression, or World War II. We will ask how these larger issues are (or are
not) reflected in the constitutional doctrine of the day, from the police power
to the commerce clause to the equal protection clause. Legal issues addressed
include substantive due process, equality, and federalism.

4th, 5th, 6th Amendments

Course Page for Fall 2015 - Berghahn, Marcus

This class will require extensive case reading. Your grade in this class will be based on participation, including leading the class, and a series of written submissions, to include a motion and a post-hearing brief. Students also participate in an in-class evidentiary hearing exercise, but trial advocacy is not required.

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Constitutional Theory Colloquium

Course Page for Fall 2011 - Coan, Andrew

The Constitutional Theory Colloquium provides a unique educational opportunity for students with a strong interest and background in constitutional law. Over the course of the semester, six leading scholars from other institutions will present papers on diverse subjects related to constitutional law. We will spend two weeks on each paper. In the first week, students will meet with Professor Coan in a traditional seminar format to discuss a pre-assigned paper. For each week, two students will have principal responsibility for leading the discussion. In the second week, the scholar who wrote the paper will be present in person for a discussion moderated by Professor Coan. During this week, the students will often be joined by members of the law school faculty. Students will thus have the opportunity to engage in their own critical discussions in a seminar setting and to observe and participate in a high-level academic workshop on presentation weeks. Grades will be based on class participation and weekly response papers.

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First Amendment

Course Page for Spring 2013 - Desai, Anuj

Topics reflect interests of instructor and students.

Institutions in Constitutional Theory & Practice

Course Page for Spring 2014 - Coan, Andrew

This course will focus on the major institutions created by the American Constitution—Congress, the Presidency, the federal courts, and the states—and their role in constitutional theory and practice. At its heart, every constitutional case involves a choice between two or more of these institutions. It is therefore crucial for judges and lawyers to understand the strengths and limitations of each and the complex interactions among them. To that end, this course will equip students with a comprehensive framework for understanding, predicting, and comparing institutional performance. It will then apply that framework to areas of constitutional law ranging from the Commerce Power to the Nondelegation Doctrine to the Takings and Equal Protection Clauses. Grades will be based on class participation, including a major presentation, and seven weekly response papers.

This is a very demanding course, which requires students to come quickly up to speed on a wide range of constitutional doctrines. Students also need to be comfortable with the basic tools of economic analysis, though no formal training in economics is expected or required. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to speak with past students or the instructor for more information before enrolling.

Con Law I required to take this course; Con Law II is recommended. This course meets Con Law II Requirement.

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Politics & Equality

Course Page for Spring 2011 - Greene, Linda

This seminar will focus on the extent to which questions of equality are determined or influenced by political processes such as legislation, initiative processes, or political activism such as demonstrations and advocacy. Have political processes defined the content of equality? Have courts imposed limitations on those political determinations of equality or defer to those determinations? The seminar will focus on politics and equality in three contexts: race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

We will explore previous contexts that illustrate the interplay between political processes and equality. I will examine this interplay in three contexts, the political activity leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the opposition to equal measures in the initiative and referendum process, the political activity in support of and against women’s reproductive choice and the increasing resort by opponents of reproductive rights to ballot measures to restrict rights; and the political activity leading to the increase rights for gays and lesbians and the use of the initiative process to constrain or preempt those rights, for example gay and lesbian marriage. At every turn, the question arises whether equality should be defined by political majorities, and whether the role of courts in the oversight of these measures is essential or illegitimate.
We will use legal and non legal sources, including film, to explore these issues. What do does the recent presidential election the election say about equality and politics?

Do the candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and the ascendancy of Barney Frank in Congress mean that we are heading towards a gender, sexual orientation, and race blind society? Does the election of an increasing number of blacks, women, Hispanics and others to elective offices signal the end of political inequality and a corresponding need for a lesser judicial role in the protection of equality? Against the background of these recent electoral developments, what meaning do we ascribe to the numerous anti-affirmative action measures, anti abortion, and anti gay marriage initiatives on the nation’s ballots.

What power does Congress possess to define equality, and has the Supreme Court imposed constraints on its role? In this seminar, we will return time and again to an over arching questions-What is the appropriate role of legislatures, the people, and the courts in defining and protecting Equality. You may begin to think about the issues in the course by reading the following articles on the same sex marriage debate before the beginning of the semester.
Klarman, “Brown and Lawrence and Goodridge” 104 Mich. L. Rev. 431 (2005); and Mary Bonauto, “Goodridge in Context,” 40 Harv. CR-CL 1 (2005).

I will be in touch again to let you know about other course materials and with a tentative seminar syllabus. I look forward to these discussions! Each Student will choose a topic and write a paper which will count for 70% of the grade. The remaining 30% will be based upon class participation and several short (1-2) page writing assignments. Class Participation and Attendance are required and No Pass-Fail grades will be permitted.

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Politics & Equality

Course Page for Spring 2015 - Greene, Linda

Topics reflect interests of instructor and students.

Recent Offerings of this course by this instructor

Supreme Court Seminar

Course Page for Fall 2015 - Church, Larry

Selected Problems in Constitutioonal Law--Supreme Court Seminar: Profs. Paff and Church

This three- credit seminar takes as its subject matter the current docket of the United States Supreme Court. Each week, two or more students argue to the class a case currently pending before the Court. (Occasionally, a case that might reasonably be expected to come before the Court in the near future may be selected.) Prior to this argument, the advocates jointly prepare and distribute a short written summary of the case, including a jointly edited version of the opinion(s) below and the most important of their arguments? a mini-brief. Neither the mini-brief nor the class presentation will be graded.

Each student will also be asked to assume the persona of an actual Justice now on the Court, and to maintain that identity throughout the semester, asking questions as that Justice might be expected to ask, during presentations. At the end of the presentation, each ?Justice? will predict how the actual justice may be expected to vote in the case and why. Finally, each student will also cast a vote personally, for one side or the other, explaining why, briefly. (Because this aspect of the course cannot well succeed if attendance is sparse, regular class attendance will be required.)

At the end of the semester, each student will be asked to submit an individual paper of twenty pages or more, on any Constitutional Law subject he or she desires. This paper will be graded on a letter grade basis; that grade will be the grade for the course. The paper will be due on the last day of exams.

Constitutional Law I is a prerequisite for the course. The course satisfies the Wisconsin Bar requirements for Constitutional Law II. (At the beginning of the course, there will be lectures offering an overview of Constitutional Law II. A student seeking Constitutional Law II credit for the course must also present to the class and write his or her paper on cases or questions dealing with Constitutional Law II issues.)

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Wisconsin State Constitutional Law

Course Page for Fall 2015 - Monette, Richard

This course will be an exercise in ‘constitutionalism’. The course will address not only court opinions interpreting the State constitution, but will spend significant time with the document itself. We will cover the history of the document from its initial drafting through amendment exercises, including currently proposed amendments. The class will actually read the State Constitution and discuss its historical context, overall logic, and meaning: i.e., is this document one of restricted, expressly enumerated powers; or is it a wholesale grant of plenary authority (or power) to the government institutions it establishes? We will do a textual analysis particularly focusing on the relationships between and among various Articles, sections, and provisions. While we all have learned the importance of the basic ‘separation of powers’ between legislative, executive, and judicial functions, this course will teach that, as important as it is to separate powers in government, perhaps it is equally if not even more important to separate powers from government. As a result we will study the relationship(s) between the constitution and the ‘liberty sphere’ where the citizenry, property, and societal institutions reside (i.e., corporations, unions, families, marriages, religions, churches, political parties, etc.)

The course will focus on certain constitutional provisions and developments unique or peculiar to our State’s constitution, including legislative committees playing a participant role in the executive or administrative process even after enactment of a law; legislators having standing to file suit; the idea of the ‘constitutional office’; the ever-looming ‘partial-veto’; the lengthy provisions on non-governmental social issues du jour – i.e., gaming, the Public Trust Doctrine, anti-gay marriage, as well as other hot-button issues today: redistricting, selection of judges, open meetings, resurrecting a meaningful State Bill of Rights, and the constitutional amendment process. Additional readings may include a book by Professor Dinan on State constitutions generally as well as several law review articles on the Wisconsin Constitution.

The course, however, will not be all constitutional theory. We will study how law is made is Wisconsin. We will study the structure and processes of the Wisconsin court system. We will look at administrative processes in general including, for example, our contested rule-making requirements. Several guest speakers will be invited to present on their respective areas of government practice or expertise.

The course will be offered for 2 or 3 credit option. Both the 2 and 3-credit requirements will include one two hour class session per week and a two-hour final exam. The 3-credit requirement will add a paper from 5 to 7 (10-15 double-spaced) page paper.

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