Constitutional Law II, Civil Rights and Liberties: Schedule

Spring 2010 syllabus (pdf)

Class Schedule (subject to change as necessary)


February 8

Course Introduction

Letter of Introduction due via email by 5pm on February 9, 2010. Assignment available here.

February 10

Supreme Court Background

O'Brien, 1-21 (with particular emphasis on Amendments 1-10 and 14), 175-205; SCW 1-5; Primer on Supreme Court Procedures; Tushnet, "The Politics of Constitutional Law".

Know 9 current justices of U.S. Supreme Court; know content of first 10 amendments to the Constitution; familiarize yourself with glossary terms from syllabus.

February 15

Theories of Constitutional Interpretation

O'Brien, 66-101; Farber and Sherry, "The Originalism Debate"; "Theories of Constitutional Interpretation".
Complete the chart on the last page of the "Theories of Constitutional Interpretation handout.

Theories of Constitutional Interpretation essay assignment distributed. Also available here (after 2/15).

February 17

Nationalization of the Bill of Rights

Levy, "Why We Have the Bill of Rights"; O'Brien, 324-339.

Know five approaches to incorporation described on page 337 in O'Brien.

February 22

Free Speech and the First Amendment

Kairys,"Freedom of Speech"; O'Brien 408-427; Schenk v United States 427-428; Gitlow v United States 428-433; Schenck and Gitlow flyers.

Brief Schenk v United States; Gitlow v United States. Bring extra copy of Gitlow brief to hand in.

February 24

Free Speech and the First Amendment

Dennis v United States 433-444; Brandenburg v Ohio 445-447; Smith Act of 1940.

Brief Dennis v United States; Brandenburg v Ohio.

March 1

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Levy, "The Eighth Amendment"; Wittes, "Cruel and Unusual?"; O'Brien 1157-1163.

Theories of Constitutional Interpretation essay due in class.

March 3

The Eighth Amendment and the Death Penalty

Scalia, "God's Justice and Ours"; Latzer, "Capital Punishment: The Law and the Issues"; Francis v Resweber.

Brief Francis v Resweber.

March 8

The (Temporary) Abolition of the Death Penalty

O'Brien 1168-1178; Furman v Georgia 1178-1188; Gregg v Georgia.

Brief Furman v Georgia; Gregg v Georgia.

March 10

Capital Punishment and Non-Homicides/Racial Disparities

Coker v Georgia; McCleskey v Kemp 1194-1204.

Brief Coker v Georgia; McCleskey v Kemp.

March 15

Capital Punishment and Juveniles

Atkins v Virginia 1208-1214; Roper v Simmons 1214-1222.

Brief Atkins v Virginia; Roper v Simmons.

March 17

The Latest Decisions

SCW 120-122; Baze v Rees SCW 122-134; Kennedy v Louisiana 134-143.

Brief Baze v Rees; Kennedy v Louisiana.

March 22

Privacy and Liberty: Sterilization, Contraception, and Abortion

O'Brien, 1232-1246, 357-358, 1249-1253; Buck v Bell 1247-1248; Griswold v Connecticut 359-368; Roe v Wade 1253-1262.

Brief Buck v Bell; Griswold v Connecticut; Roe v Wade.

March 24

Privacy and Liberty: Abortion

O'Brien, 1270-1271; Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey 1271-1283.

Brief Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey.

March 29

Spring Break

March 31

Spring Break

April 5

Spring Break

April 7

Privacy and Liberty: Abortion

Stenberg v Carhart; Gonzales v Carhart 1283-1292.

Brief Stenberg v Carhart; Gonzales v Carhart.

April 12

Privacy and Liberty: Sex and Sexual Orientation

O'Brien, 1296-1305; Bowers v Hardwick; Lawrence v Texas 1304-1315.

Brief Bowers v Hardwick; Lawrence v Texas.

April 14

Racial Discrimination and State Action

O'Brien, 1334-1360; Dred Scott v Sandford 1360-1371; The Civil Rights Cases 1371-1378.

Brief Dred Scott v Sandford; The Civil Rights Cases.

April 19

Racial Discrimination and State Action

Plessy v Ferguson 1379-1383; Shelley v Kraemer 1383-1385.

Brief Plessy v Ferguson; Shelley v Kraemer.

April 21

Racial Discrimination in Education

O'Brien, 1388-1401; 1406-1412 Brown v Board of Education (1) 1401-1406; Bolling v Sharpe 1412-1413; Brown v Board of Education (2) 1413-1416.

Brief Brown v Board of Education (1); Bolling v Sharpe; Brown v Board of Education (2).

April 26

Racial Discrimination in Education

O'Brien, 194-195; Cooper v Aaron 1416-1421; Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenberg Board of Education 1422-1426.

Brief Cooper v Aaron; Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenberg Board of Education.

April 28: MayDay!

Racial Discrimination in Education

Milliken v Bradley 1427-1430; O'Brien, 1434-1439; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 1440-1453.

Brief Milliken v Bradley; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

May 3

Racial Discrimination in Education

O'Brien, 1456-1463; Regents of the University of California v Bakke 1464-1473; Gratz v Bollinger 1500-1505; Grutter v Bollinger 1505-1513.

Brief Regents of the University of California v Bakke; Gratz v Bollinger; Grutter v Bollinger.

May 5

Gender-Based Discrimination

O'Brien, 1513-1517; Frontiero v Richardson 1521-1524; Craig v Boren 1525-1529.

Brief Frontiero v Richardson; Craig v Boren.

May 10

Gender-Based Discrimination

Michael M. v Superior Court of Sonoma County 1529-1532; United States v Virginia 1533-1544.

Brief Michael M. v Superior Court of Sonoma County; United States v Virginia.

May 12

Sexual Orientation-Based Discrimination

O'Brien, 1548-1549; Romer v Evans 1550-1560.

Brief Romer v Evans.

May 17

Wealth and Alienage-Based Discrimination

San Antonio Independent School District v Rodriguez 1567-1574; Plyler v Doe 1583-1588.

Brief San Antonio Independent School District v Rodriguez; Plyler v Doe.

May 19

Polstitutional Olympics!