The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Alan M Sager


Lecturer, Department of Government



CTI 335 • Law Of Politics

33945 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 330pm-500pm WAG 201
(also listed as GOV 357M)

Course Description

This course is designed for government majors, students who are interested in some of the core issues of "retail" politics, students who want to become political practitioners or are political “junkies,”  students who want a little taste of what law school might be like, future government teachers, and students who are interested in some of the difficult and current theoretical issues at the intersection of law and politics.

There are many ways to conceptualize the structure of this course. One way is to see it as being about the way institutional structures affect or cause results in our political system. For example, how requiring a voter i.d. law may affect the outcome of elections. From another viewpoint, it is a course in constitutional and statutory interpretation with the subject matter being elections and electoral law. From still another point of view it is about what structures and processes are necessary or sufficient to create the American form of republican government. Of course, that also requires constantly defining what is "republican government."

The course is a discussion course, not a lecture course. Students are expected to prepare for each day's assignments so they can discuss the assigned material in class. There is no way to be highly successful in this course without such preparation.

Grading Policy

    3 Hour Exams -approx 65%(19, 22, 24%)

    Papers - approx 17%

    Class participation, quizzes and attendance - approx 18%


Each examination will be divided into two parts, 60% essay and 40% objective or short answer.  The objective will be 30 or so true/false, multiple choice or similar kinds of questions. Generally, there will be 2 essays  worth approximately 30 points each. 

Papers and Class Project

There will be a briefing assignment using the full text of one of the cases we cover in this course Everyone in the class will be required to participate in some aspect of the 2012  elections in Travis County, mainly as poll watchers at early voting.   If you do not want to register to vote in Travis County, you can go to your home county to complete the project. If you cannot register to vote in the U.S., we will have an alternate project. The second paper will be about your observations during the elections. A couple of times during the semester you  may be asked to turn in one of your daily class briefs.  These will be graded on a 4 point scale, well done, adequate, unacceptable, not done.  These points will count toward your class participation grade

Class Participation and Attendance

This part of your  grade consists of the following:

         A. Demonstrating a reasonable level of daily preparation and understanding of the material covered.

         B. Contributions made to class discussion and analysis.

         C. Overall attendance.  More than 3 unexcused absences will affect this part of your grade. More than      5 will lead to a loss of one grade.


Election Law: Cases and Materials: by Daniel Lowenstein and Richard HasenDemocracy in America,  by Alexis De TocquevilleDon’t Vote It Just Encourages The Bastards by P.J. O’Rourke

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