Constitutional Law (Spring 2015) – Syllabus
Email: [email protected] (please use this instead of my STCL email)
Course Homepage: https://joshblackman.com/blog/classes/constitutional-law-spring-2015/
Office: Room 623
Welcome to Constitutional Law. This class will cover a wide range of topics in constitutional law, including our constitutional structure, the scope of federal powers, the separation of powers, the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, individual liberty, federalism, the First Amendment speech and religion clauses, the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court, and many other topics. We will be using “The Constitution of the United States” by Paulsen, Calabresi, McConnell, Bray (Second Edition, Foundation Press, 2013).
Your final grade will be based entirely on your performance on a three-hour in-class examination. We will hold a review session before the exam.
The exam is completely open-book. You can use anything you wish, so long as that it was printed before the distribution of this exam. Obtaining any new information from anyone or anything after the exam is distributed is prohibited.
You can download previous exams here:
Attendance and Class Participation:
I will take attendance in class. I expect everyone to be prepared to participate in class. Please consult the South Texas College of Law Student Handbook’s section on Attendance and Class Participation (pp. 70-71).
I will hold office hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.
I expect that all students will be prepared to engage in our discussions during each session. During class, I will leave open a live chat (known as a backchannel) on the course blog, that will allow you to interact with your colleagues, and with me at the podium, in real time. The livechat will be projected on the screen, so everyone, with or without a laptop, will be able to follow along. I will not tolerate any comments I deem inappropriate.
Outside of class, there will be several channels available to interact with me and your colleagues. First, you can reach me via email at [email protected]. I will rely on the course blog to post all announcements and materials for class. You will be responsible for checking the course blog prior to class. You can also view all the class videos by subscribing to the YouTube channel. (I encourage you to watch all of my lectures from the Spring 2014 semester here). You can view all of the lecture notes in this Google Drive folder.
The course calendar is available here.
Class 1 – 1/15/15
Our Founding Documents
- The Declaration of Independence
- The Articles of Confederation (pp. 1633-1638)
- The Constitution of the United States (pp. 1-15).
- The Adoption of the Constitution (19-27).
- Six broad themes of the Constitution (35-39).
- Map of the Constitution (39-42).
Note: Read these documents in their entirety. They’re not long. And no one should graduate law school without reading them at least once.
Class 2 – 1/20/15
Why is the Constitution Supreme?
- Constitutional Supremacy and Interpretation (123-124).
- Federalist No. 51 (128-129).
- Federalist No. 78 (133-138).
- Background of Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review (140-143).
- Marbury v. Madison (143-155).
- Stuart v. Laird (155-156).
- Judicial Supremacy and letters from Jefferson and Madison (159-161)
- A Case Study in Judicial Supremacy: Cooper v. Aaron (163-164)
- Judicial Power – Article III (486-491).
Class 3 – 1/22/15
The Separation of Powers
- Separation of Powers (173-175).
- Youngstown Sheet & Tube (175-190).
- The Powers of Congress – Article I (190-192).
- Enumerated Powers (192-193).
- M’Culloch v. Maryland (193-209)
Class 4 – 1/27/15
The Legislative Powers
- Bicameralism & Presentment (260-261).
- INS v. Chadha (261-272).
- Clinton v. City of New York (272-281).
- Read Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution (3-4).
- Enumerated Powers in Article I, Section 8 (281-283).
- Bills of Attainder (283-284).
- Note 5 – Nixon v. GSA (293-294).
- Ex Post Facto Clause (294-295).
- Contracts Clause (295).
Class 5 – 1/29/15
The Executive Power I – The Appointment Power
- The Appointment Power (334-335).
- National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (Read the entire case)
Class 6 – 2/3/15
The Executive Power II – Removal Power
- The Executive Power – Article II (296-297).
- Notes (306-308).
- The “Removal” Power (348-351).
- Myers v. United States (351-366).
- Humphrey’s Executor v. United States (366-370).
- Morrison v. Olson – Removal (370-382).
Class 7 – 2/5/15
The Executive Power III – “Take Care That The Laws Be Faithfully Executed”
- Political Question doctrine (519-520).
- The “Take Care” Clause I (316-318).
- The “Take Care” Clause II (330-331).
- Josh Blackman, The Constitutionality of DAPA Part II: Faithfully Executing the Law, Texas Review of Law & Politics (2015) – Read entire article except Part IV (21-34).
Class 8 – 2/10/15
The Executive Power IV- Foreign Affairs and War
- Inherent Executive Powers (308).
- Executive Powers for Foreign Affairs (383-385).
- Curtiss-Wright (385-390).
- Dames & Moore v. Regan (392-399).
- The War Power (411-413).
- Practice and Precedent (415-416).
- Prisoners of War and Civilian Detention (439-440).
- Ex Parte Milligan (440-444)
- Korematsu v. United States (454-468)
Class 9 – 2/12/15
Scope of Federal Powers I
- Federalism (577-578).
- Federalism Map (578-581).
- Federalist No. 10 (581-587).
- The Ninth and Tenth Amendment (1258-1262).
- Early Disputes over National Power (588-591).
- Gibbons v. Ogden (591-597).
- History of Commerce and Necessary and Proper (598-605).
- United States v. Darby (605-607).
Class 10 – 2/17/15
Scope of Federal Powers II
- Wickard v. Filburn (607-612).
- The modern debate (612).
- Hearts of Atlanta Motel (612-617).
- United States v. Lopez (617-637).
No Class on 2/19/15
Class 12 – 2/24/15
Scope of Federal Powers III
- Taxing Power (637-643).
- The Spending “Power” (643-645).
- United States v. Butler (645-648).
- South Dakota v. Dole (648-656).
- New York v. United States (657-670).
- Printz v. United States (670-683)
Class 13 – 2/26/15
Extended Lecture on NFIB v. Sebelius (“Obamacare”)
- Enumerated Powers and Federalism (597-598).
- NFIB v. Sebelius (683-711).
- NFIB Notes (711-715).
- Excerpt (Foreword and Introduction) from Unprecedented: A Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare
Class 14 – 3/3/15
The Reconstruction Amendments
- The Text, Structure, and History of the Reconstruction Amendments (1265-1266).
- The Thirteenth Amendment (1266-1267).
- The Fourteenth Amendment (1267-1271).
- Slaughter-House Cases (Field, J., dissenting) (1281-1285) and (Bradley, J., dissenting (1285-1287) (Skim majority but read the dissents).
- Notes (1288-1291).
- Early Interpretation of Equal Protection (1292).
- Bradwell v. Illinois (1292-1295).
- Minor v. Happersett (1295-1301).
- Strauder v. West Virginia (1301-1306).
- Enforcement Powers (1306-1307).
- The Civil Rights Cases (1307-1318).
- Notes (1318-1322).
Class 15 – 3/5/15
The Enforcement Powers of the 14th Amendment
- Note on 11th Amendment (1262-1263).
- Sovereign Immunity (557-558).
- 11th Amendment (558).
- Chisolm v. Georgia (558-566).
- Hans v. Louisiana (566-570).
- City of Boerne v. Flores (1327-1337).
- United States v. Morrison (1322-1327).
Class 16 – 3/10/15
Equal Protection and Segregation
- Citizenship Clause (768-771).
- Dred Scott v. Sandford (771-794).
- Dred Scott notes (794-800).
- Segregation Cases (1337).
- Railroad Company v. Brown (1337-1339).
- Plessy v. Ferguson (1339-1346).
Class 17 – 3/12/15
Equal Protection and Desegregation
- Cumming v. Board of Education (1346-1349).
- Giles v. Harris (1349-1352).
- Berea College v. Kentucky (1352-1359).
- Desegregation Cases (1359-1360).
- Board v. Board of Education (I) (1360-1363).
- Bolling v. Sharpe (1363-1364).
- Brown v. Board of Education (II) (1364-1365).
- Notes (1365-1370).
Spring Break – No Classes on 3/17/15 and 3/19/15
Class 18 – 3/24/14
- Affirmative Action (1386-1389).
- Grutter v. Bollinger (1389-1401).
- Notes (1401-1405).
- Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin (2013).
- Affirmative Action Outside Education (1405-1407).
- Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (2014).
Class 19 – 3/26/15
Race & Gender Discrimination
- Loving v. Virginia (1373-1379).
- Sex Discrimination (1407).
- Craig v. Boren (1407-1416).
- United States v. Virgnia (1416-1424).
- Beyond Race and Sex (1425-1428).
- “Fundemental Interests” (1441-1443).
Class 20 – 3/31/15
Substantive Due Process and Economic Liberty
- Due Process of Law (1443-1444).
- Due Process and Separation of Powers (1444-1446).
- Substantive due process (1463-1464).
- Lochner v. New York (1465-1473).
- West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1473-1476).
- “Fundamental Interests” (1441-1443).
- Rehabilitating Lochner, by David Bernstein
No Class on 4/2/15
Class 22 – 4/7/15
Individual Liberty I
- Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1476-1478).
- Buck v. Bell (1428-1432).
- Griswold v. Connecticut (1478-1494).
Class 23 – 4/9/15
Individual Liberty II
- Eisenstadt v. Baird (1494-1500).
- Roe v. Wade (1500-1516).
- Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1516-1540).
- Notes (1540-1544).
Class 24 – 4/14/15
Individual Liberty III
- Romer v. Evans (1432-1441).
- Lawrence v. Texas (1557-1571).
- Notes (1571-1572).
- Substantive due process review (1572).
- United States v. Windsor
Class 25 – 4/16/15
The First Amendment – Speech I
- The Addition of the Bill of Rights (43).
- Amemdment Process – Article V (817-818).
- Amendments Outside Article V (821-822 notes 14 and 15).
- Barron v. Baltimore (48-53).
- The BIll of Rights (827-831).
- The First Amendment (831-836).
- New York Times v. Sullivan (853-861).
- Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (880-884).
- Categorical exclusions (885-887).
Class 26 – 4/21/15
The First Amendment Speech II
- Brown v. EMA (887-900).
- United States v. O’Brien (900-907).
- Texas v. Johnson (907-917).
- Time, Place, and Manner Regulations (917-918).
- Renton v. Playtime Theaters (918-924). Incitement (924).
- Clear and Present Danger (927-931 note 3).
- Brandenburg v. Ohio (935-937).
- Note on Central Hudson (979-980).
Class 27 – 4/23/15
The First Amendment – Free Exercise
- Freedom of Religion (1103-1104).
- Madisons’ Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1104-1106).
- The Free Exercise Clause (1110-1111).
- Wisconsin v. Yoder (1113-1116)
- Employment Division v. Smith (1116-1124).
- Note 7 on Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) (1126-1127)
- Reading on Hobby Lobby & RFRA
- Church of the Lukumi (1128-1129)
- Establishment Clause (1133).
Class 28 – 4/28/15
The Second Amendment
- The Second Amendment (1192-1194).
- District of Columbia v. Heller (1195-1212).
Final Exam Review Session