This offering meets 2 hours per week, but is worth 3 points of credit. The additional point of credit reflects the instructor's certification that the course assignments require student engagement and responsibilities beyond that found in a two hour lecture course.
This seminar seeks to unpack ongoing debates over competing theoretical approaches to interpretation of constitutional text and to adjudication of constitutional controversies. We will discuss the relevance of original intentions and understandings to present-day interpretation, whether and how constitutions present unique interpretive challenges, and whether constitutional fidelity is either possible or desirable. Our primary but non-exclusive focus will be judicial interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Authors will include Antonin Scalia, Ronald Dworkin, Charles Black, John Hart Ely, Bruce Ackerman, Philip Bobbitt, and others. Grades will be based on class participation, biweekly 1- to 2-page response papers, and a research paper of approximately 20 pages. Upon consultation with the instructor at the beginning of the semester, students may arrange to receive major writing credit for the paper.