Political Science | Constitutional Rights & Liberties
Y305 | 4553 | Westler


The language of rights pervades contemporary political discourse.
But what exactly are rights and where do they come from?  This
course will attempt to answer these questions by developing an
understanding of the foundation of rights and how they apply to us
through the US Constitution.  We will first develop philosophical,
moral, and constitutional methods for understanding rights.  These
understandings of rights will then be put into practice by reviewing
Supreme Court cases dealing with specific rights including freedom
of speech, privacy, freedom of religion, and equality.  These rights
will be discussed in the context of specific issues such as
abortion, pornography, public funding of religious schools, and
polygamy.  Over the course of the class, we will be confronted with
the difficulties of morally and politically justifying rights as
well as the problems that arise when two rights seemingly come into
conflict with one another.  The course will be taught through
lectures, discussions, and moot courts.