This advanced Constitutional Law course will examine in greater depth the two clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment that have played a central role in many of the most hotly contested legal, political, and social disputes in modern American history. Today, we generally associate the Due Process Clause with the concept of liberty and the Equal Protection Clause with the concept of equality.
This course will examine the development of the Constitution's liberty guarantee in disputes over slavery, economic regulation, and private schooling, and consider how it has evolved in more recent times in cases involving the death penalty, abortion, and gay rights. It will likewise examine the development of the Constitution's equality guarantee, primarily in cases involving race and sex discrimination and issues such as school integration, busing, affirmative action, pregnancy, and rape. As we study these two lines of cases, we will consider how and why certain issues came to be understood as questions of liberty while others came to be understood as questions of equality. We'll ask what is at stake in this distinction, what is the relationship between liberty and equality, and how these concepts are evolving in the twenty-first century.