William Baude : Courses and Seminars
Constitutional Law I: Governmental Structure
This course provides an introduction to the U.S. Constitution. We will cover the traditional topics in separation of powers and federalism, including Congress's enumerated powers, the scope of executive power, judicial review, and so on. In the course of covering those substantive topics, we will sometimes explore the Constitution's meaning outside of judicial doctrine, asking how it should be interpreted by different people and institutions. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.
The Constitution in Congress
For much of American history, most important constitutional questions were resolved outside of the courts. Using the books by the late Professor David Currie as our guide, we will discuss a series of constitutional issues debated in Congress and the Presidency in the first century of the Constitution. Topics will likely include the organization of the judiciary and the executive branch; the powers of Congress; war and peace; and rights to free speech, religion and due process -- essentially much of the modern constitutional docket. The goal will be to understand the original arguments and also to assess their persuasiveness. Students will write several reaction papers to stimulate class discussion and a short research paper. Students may also get credit for an SRP by writing a more substantial version of the research paper. No prior constitutional law course is necessary.
This course covers the role of the federal courts in the federal system. Topics will include the jurisdiction of the federal courts, Congress's power over those courts, litigation against federal and state governments and their officials, and the relationships between federal and state courts. There are no formal prerequisites, but Constitutional Law I and Administrative Law are both recommended. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.