Geoffrey R. Stone : Courses and Seminars
Constitutional Law III
This course considers the history, theory, and contemporary law of the post-Civil War Amendments to the Constitution, particularly the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The central subjects are the constitutional law governing discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and other characteristics, and the recognition of individual rights not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. Throughout, students consider certain foundational questions, including the role of courts in a democracy and the question of how the Constitution should be interpreted. The student's grade is based on a final examination.
Geoffrey R. Stone
Students enrolled in this seminar work as courts consisting of five Justices each. During each of the first eight weeks of the quarter, the courts are assigned several hypothetical cases raising issues under either the Equal Protection Clause or the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. Each court must select in advance whether it will focus on equal protection or the First Amendment. All cases must be decided with opinions (concurring and dissenting opinions are, of course, permitted). The decisions may be premised on the legislative history of the amendment (materials on that history will be provided) and on any doctrines or precedents created by the Justices themselves. The Justices may not rely, however, on any actual decisions of the United States Supreme Court. The seminar is designed to give students some insight into the problems a justice confronts in collaborating with colleagues, interpreting an ambiguous constitutional provision, and then living with the doctrines and precedents he or she creates. Constitutional Law is not a prerequisite for participation in this seminar. Enrollment will be limited to three courts. Since the members of each court must work together closely under rigid time constraints, it is preferable for students to form their own complete courts. Students will complete a major research paper.
Geoffrey R. Stone