POLSCI 318 - American Constitutional Politics
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

What is the American Constitution?
Is it a good constitution?
How should we interpret it?
What duties does the Constitution confer onto political officials and citizens?

This course seeks to support students in understanding, evaluating, and advancing their own claims about American constitutional politics. The emphasis is upon the powers, limits, and ethics of the multiple offices that the Constitution establishes. The syllabus seeks some fidelity to the Constitutional vision of politics by roughly mirroring the Constitution’s own structural divisions. We do not proceed historically. Instead we study each branch in turn, with a special focus on special types of constitutional issues that that branch faces.

The Supreme Court occupies a special place in our curriculum because of its special legal duties of interpretation. But the course as a whole rejects judicial supremacy: the idea that the Constitution is whatever the Court says it is. Instead, the course seeks to explore the role that all political participants play in giving meaning to the U.S. governing document. The ultimate aim of the course is to help you come to your own judgments of constitutional meaning through which to evaluate the activities of both Supreme Court Justices and other officials.

We will focus on topics including:

  • executive, legislative, and judicial power;
  • citizenship and participation;
  • due process, private property, equal protection, privacy and bodily integrity;
  • slavery and desegregation. This course is in the American Politics OR Political Theory subfield.

    Course Requirements:

    No data submitted

    Intended Audience:

    Sophomores, juniors, or seniors

    Class Format:

    Lecture meets twice a week for an hour and a half

POLSCI 318 - American Constitutional Politics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
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