Political Science | American Constitutional Interpretation
Y304 | 3769 | Failer

This course explores the intersection of constitutional theory and
the politics of interpreting the American Constitution.  At its most
abstract, the course addresses two broad questions.  First, what kind
of a thing is a constitution?  Second, how -- if at all -- can
written constitutions shape and maintain political societies?  To get
at these theoretical issues, we will move back and forth between
constitutional theory and three problems basic to the study of the
American constitutional enterprise: WHAT is the American
Constitution, WHO are its authoritative interpreters, and HOW should
we interpret the Constitution?  By moving back and forth between
constitutional theory and law, we will try to learn about the nature
of both constitutions in general and the Constitution of the United
States in particular.

Requirements: keep up with the reading (there aren't a lot of pages
but sometimes it can be slow-going), participate in class
discussions, submit one written assignment on the nature of written
constitutions and one on the limits to constitutional interpretation,
hand in several written "case briefs" on assigned legal cases, and
participate in two task force simulations and two moot courts.