Political Science | Constitutional Law
Y304 | 5795 | Braman


The Constitution and the decisions of Supreme Court justices who
interpret it have defined the contours of government power in the
United States for over 200 years.  As we will see, however, the
precise scope and nature of that power is not always clear.  Questions
often arise about whether particular governmental entities have the
authority to undertake specific actions.  Conflicts sometimes arise
between the branches (separation of powers) or between the national
and state governments (federalism) concerning appropriate balance of
power among different governmental bodies.   In this course we will
examine the constitutional powers of our national institutions -- the
United States judicial, legislative, and executive branches.  We will
also look at how our constitutional structure limits state and
national government actors.  Finally we will consider how some of the
specific tools the United States government has to address national
problems have evolved over time through Supreme Court decision making.