Constitutional Law I
- Semester: Fall 2021
- Course ID: 534
- Credit Hours: 5
- Grading Method: Pass/Fail Not Allowed
- 1L-only required
|TUE, WED, THU||9:10 - 10:17 am||TNH 3.125|
|Take-home 9-24 hrs||December 13, 2021|
We will be studying Constitutional Law together at an extraordinary and difficult moment. Our constitutional arrangements have been put under considerable stress, and little seems happily settled. We will have just emerged from a difficult election, and our national electoral arrangements are creaky at best and democratically questionable at worst. The Supreme Court, which will be the object of much of our attention, is itself shrouded in controversy, with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg followed by a politically-fraught appointment to the Court and questions of court-packing hanging in the air. The reasons we have a Constitution, how we should interpret the Constitution, and how it can be amended are suddenly especially prominent issues. Dusty questions of federalism and separation of powers are now vividly and concretely important, with some state governments and the President at war over immigration, the environment, and social justice, on the one hand, and Congress and the President at odds on the other. In the domain of social justice, controversy over the meaning of equality is far from new, but so too is it far from settled. Affirmative action, abortion and same sex intimacy and marriage are all objects of recent or current sharp contention.
Our project will be to consider and try to understand the role of the Constitution, the courts and our political community in addressing the questions that presently swirl around us. I do not expect or hope that we will all agree. I do hope that we will all deepen our understanding of how best to think about these matters, and I will insist that our conversations be conducted in an environment of mutual respect.
I said at the outset that this is an extraordinary and difficult moment to study constitutional law.. It is also an exciting moment to do so, and I am looking forward to seeing you all.
Textbooks ( * denotes required )