Const Law II: Commerce Clause/Federal Bal

Class Unique: 29250
One of the great achievements of the Framers was, to borrow Justice Kennedy's phrase, to 'split the atom of sovereignty' between state and federal governments. This division of governmental labor was achieved in part by limiting Congressional authority to a finite set of enumerated powers, including the power to regulate interstate commerce. This course will examine the evolution of Commerce Clause doctrine and the role the Commerce Clause has played in the shifting scope of federal and state legislative power over the Constitution's life span. We will begin by considering the choice of enumerated powers as a mechanism for creating a federal system, and closely analyze the judicial reasoning -- and external factors -- behind the various incarnations of Commerce Clause doctrine. In the latter part of the course, we will focus on issues that emerge under the post-Lopez and Morrison interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The course will not be delivered dogmatically on the presumption that a particular balance between state and legislative power is desirable. The course will rather be an attempt to address in an open-minded manner the many issues unleashed by 'splitting the atom of sovereignty', and to evaluate the efficacy of the Commerce Clause in maintaining that federal-state split. The reading will include judicial decisions and secondary sources, and the course will also have a comparative element, with alternative federal systems briefly considered.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9:30 - 10:20 am TNH 3.126
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 12/17/07 1:30 pm A-Z

Additional Information

Course Type


Farrell, Ian P Farrell, Ian P