This course will examine a range of approaches to accomplishing the task of constitutional interpretation. It will use a series of contested doctrines — e.g., the right to privacy, bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, the right to equal citizenship, state sovereign immunity — to analyze a variety of theories of constitutional interpretation that have been employed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, the course will include a unit on the interpretive work of state courts in the interpretation of state constitutions and a unit on constitutional interpretation outside of the United States. The seminar will take up the question of the role that history plays in interpreting constitutions, as well as the question of how constitutions properly should be interpreted by governmental actors outside of the judiciary. The readings will explore textualism, originalism, doctrinalism, structural theories, representation reinforcing theories, civic republicanism, and narrative theory. In addition to case law, the assigned materials will include articles and book excerpts by a wide range of scholars, including Charles Black, Robert Bork, Ronald Dworkin, John Hart Ely, David Luban, Stephen Macedo, Michael McConnell, Michael Sandel, Antonin Scalia, Cass Sunstein, Robin West, and others. A paper written for this seminar may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement. C: Constitutional Law I
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Fall 2013.