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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2009

GOV 357M • Constitutional Structure of Power

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39207 MW
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
MEZ B0.306
Jacobsohn, G

Course Description

The focus of this course is on one of the most vital aspects of politics: interpreting and applying the nation's fundamental rules. We examine constitutional structures of power by exploring contests over authority from John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson to Barack and Nancy Pelosi. Some of the topics to be considered include: the powers of the federal and state governments, the executive's emergency powers, and the Supreme Court's authority to nullify the acts of other branches. Under these general headings are to be found such issues as the power to regulate firearms, the power to establish an office of independent counsel, the power to overturn a judicial decision through congressional action, the power to deprive citizens of rights during wartime, the power to define the terms of impeachment, and the power to decide the outcome of a presidential election. Much of the reading consists of Supreme Court opinions that highlight the politics of constitutional development.

Grading Policy

30% for each paper, 40% for the final


Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Vol. 1), 3rd. ed., another book TBA


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