GOV 357M • Structure of Individual Liberties
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. The focus of this course is on the ways in which the Constitution protects individual rights as it accommodates the often competing claims of groups, communities, and the state. While the emphasis is on the United States Supreme Court, the class will also look at how other constitutional polities address similar issues. We examine rights under the Constitution as they have evolved and been defined through judicial interpretation during periods of crisis and normalcy. Some of the topics to be considered include: equal protection under law, substantive and procedural due process, freedoms of speech and religion, and privacy. Under these rubrics are to be found such issues as affirmative action, capital punishment, hate speech, property rights, abortion, and gender discrimination. Much of the reading is of Supreme Court opinions that highlight the politics of constitutional development.
Grades will be based on two papers (5-7 pages), a final exam, and class participation.