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

H. W. Perry, Jr.

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Michigan

Associate Professor, Joint Professor with UT School of Law
H. W. Perry, Jr.

Contact

Biography

Professor Perry has been a member of the faculty at Harvard University and Washington University in St. Louis. He is the field chair in Public Law and he teaches both in the Department of Government and the Law School. Professor Perry specializes in the U.S. Supreme Court, constitutional interpretation, and the intersection of law and politics. His works in progress include a study of decision making in the U.S. Department of Justice.

His book, Deciding to Decide: Agenda-Setting in the United States Supreme Court (Harvard, 1991), was awarded the Wilson Prize by the Board of Syndics of the Harvard Press and the C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association, as well as the 2007 Wadsworth Publishing Award, Awarded by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. He has co-authored Civil Liberties (8th ed.) and has written articles on the Supreme Court and the U.S. Attorneys.

Awards/Honors:
He has received an Arts and Sciences Faculty Award from Washington University, a Levenson Teaching Award, a Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award from Harvard and the Texas Excellence Teaching Award.

GOV 357M • Constitutional Interpretatn

38885 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm CLA 0.130
show description

Gov 357 Constitutional Interpretation 2014

H. W. Perry, Jr.

 

General Description of the Course

            The only prerequisites are those required by the Gov. Dept. for upper level courses.

             Determining what the Constitution means, determining how to determine what it means, and determining who should determine what it means are fundamental tasks for participants in the American political process and for students of it.  The course may be of interest to those thinking about attending law school, but it is equally valuable to those who have no such interest.  Given the nature of our society, understanding the Constitution and constitutional law is part of a liberal arts education.  For the most part, the course does not focus on the "civil liberties" provisions in the Constitution; those important subjects are left to other courses.

One objective of the course is for the student to become a constitutional interpreter who contributes intelligently to this ongoing process.  Judges play a very important role in defining the meaning of the Constitution.  As such, it is important to learn what judges have said the Constitution means and to understand how they came to such conclusions.  This necessitates learning how to read and analyze judicial opinions.  The student should develop a sufficient comfort level with legal analysis so that she or he can evaluate intelligently some important interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask

                  Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.

                  The course requires a substantial time commitment.  The time required varies greatly over the course of the semester, and as described below, it is hard to plan ahead.

Format of the Course

            There are few lectures.  A combination of the case and Socratic methods is used.  This requires students to come to class, to be prepared, and to listen to one another.  Daily preparation is required.  The method assumes that, instead of lecturing, I am making points through discussion with students.  Lack of preparation or repeated absences or will hurt one’s grade.  The workload in this course increases dramatically as the semester proceeds.

            There will be one or more evening sessions for the Moot Court that require attendance late in the semester. 

Evaluation

  • Midterm examination; Moot Court Group Project; Final Examination
  • Class attendance and participation are required and may affect a grade positively or negatively.

 

Texts

 

  • Constitutional Law, 18th ed., Kathleen Sullivan and Noah Feldman, eds., Foundation Press
  • Deciding to Decide, by H. W. Perry, Jr., Harvard University Press 

GOV 357M • Civil Liberties

39241 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.130
show description

 

General Description of the Course

            The only prerequisites are those required by the Gov. Dept. for upper level courses.

            Civil Liberties is primarily a course in Constitutional interpretation that focuses on some of the rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  The course is designed to familiarize students with approaches and concepts related to certain freedoms, particularly as enuciated by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Particular attention is given to the First and Fourteenth Amendments, which involve issues of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, equal protection, and due process.  

            One objective of the course is for the student to learn what the Supreme Court has said about certain parts of the Constitution and to examine the implications of the rulings for the American polity.  The student should become comfortable with relevant legal analysis and doctrine so that he or she can evaluate intelligently the interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask. 

            Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills.  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Engaging in constitutional reasoning can assist in developing intellectual precision and political persuasiveness.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.

Format of the Course

            There are few lectures.  A combination of the case and Socratic methods is used.  This requires students to come to class, to be prepared, and to listen to one another.  The method assumes that, instead of lecturing, I am making points through discussion with students.  Lack of preparation or repeated absences or will hurt one’s grade.  The workload in this course increases dramatically as the semester proceeds.

            There will be one or more evening sessions for the Moot Court that require attendance late in the semester. 

Evaluation

  • Midterm examination; Moot Court Group Project; Final Examination
  • Class attendance and participation are required and may affect a grade positively or negatively.

 

Text

 

            Civil Liberties and the Constitution: Cases and Commentaries 9th ed., Lucius Barker, et.al.  Pearson Education, Inc. (required)

GOV 357M • Constitutional Interpretatn

39245 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WEL 2.246
(also listed as CTI 326 )
show description

General Description of the Course

            The only prerequisites are those required by the Gov. Dept. for upper level courses.

             Determining what the Constitution means, determining how to determine what it means, and determining who should determine what it means are fundamental tasks for participants in the American political process and for students of it.  The course may be of interest to those thinking about attending law school, but it is equally valuable to those who have no such interest.  Given the nature of our society, understanding the Constitution and constitutional law is part of a liberal arts education.  For the most part, the course does not focus on the "civil liberties" provisions in the Constitution; those important subjects are left to other courses.

One objective of the course is for the student to become a constitutional interpreter who contributes intelligently to this ongoing process.  Judges play a very important role in defining the meaning of the Constitution.  As such, it is important to learn what judges have said the Constitution means and to understand how they came to such conclusions.  This necessitates learning how to read and analyze judicial opinions.  The student should develop a sufficient comfort level with legal analysis so that she or he can evaluate intelligently some important interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask

                  Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.

                  The course requires a substantial time commitment.  The time required varies greatly over the course of the semester, and as described below, it is hard to plan ahead.

Format of the Course

            There are few lectures.  A combination of the case and Socratic methods is used.  This requires students to come to class, to be prepared, and to listen to one another.  Daily preparation is required.  The method assumes that, instead of lecturing, I am making points through discussion with students.  Lack of preparation or repeated absences or will hurt one’s grade.  The workload in this course increases dramatically as the semester proceeds.

            There will be one or more evening sessions for the Moot Court that require attendance late in the semester. 

Evaluation

  • Midterm examination; Moot Court Group Project; Final Examination
  • Class attendance and participation are required and may affect a grade positively or negatively.

 

Texts

 

  • Constitutional Law, 18th ed., Kathleen Sullivan and Noah Feldman, eds., Foundation Press
  • Deciding to Decide, by H. W. Perry, Jr., Harvard University Press 

GOV 384N • Core Readings In Public Law

39095 • Spring 2013
Meets M 330pm-630pm BAT 5.102
show description

Prerequisites :

Graduate or Law school standing

 

General Description of the Course

            This course provides an overview of the field of public law in political science.  Because the focus is political science, most readings are by political scientists even though public law is an interdisciplinary field.  A one semester course cannot include all topics in the field, nor can it assign all the "classics" or important works on the topics that are covered. Nevertheless, this course attempts to do some of both.  The reasons for selecting particular readings vary.  Some of the reasons include: 1) the reading is a classic, or it is familiar to most students of public law, or it is part of the intellectual history of the field;  2) the reading is seen as important by the profession; e.g., it has recently been published in a major journal, or it has won the American Political Science Association's award for the best book or article in public law;  3) the reading is an example of an area of substantive interest; the reading is an example of method of research.  Given these criteria, all readings are not equally good or interesting; indeed, you may consider some dreadful, but it is important to be aware of them.  Topics are selected because they are (or have been) considered important in the public law field or because they might be important in the future. The course should provide students with a good sense of this very broad field and highlight opportunities in research and teaching.

The course has two basic organizational rubrics.  The first part of the course is a brief examination of the evolution of the field, which has frequently been driven by methodological approaches.  The second part of the course is a more question or topic driven approach. 

Reading assignments are in a separate document.  Most will be materials that can be accessed online or a copy is on reserve.  Some will want to purchase some of the books for convenience and for your library.

 

Requirements            

Class participation (≈50%)  You are expected to read all assigned materials and to participate actively in class discussions.  You will be asked to write nine one-page single-spaced papers that focus on the readings for the week.  You may choose the weeks with a few exceptions.  You must make copies of your paper available to your classmates and me no later than 7 p.m. on the day before class.  Late papers are not accepted.  These papers will not be graded per se, but they will serve as part of my evaluation of you.  More details will be given in class.  A student or a group of students may be asked to lead part of the weekly discussion. Each week, a pre-selected group of students will initiate the discussion.  Each student in the group will prepare a discussion guide that must be distributed to the entire class via Blackboard no later than 5 pm the day before the discussion so as to give everyone time to reflect on it. It should under no circumstances exceed 5 pages (and will usually be much shorter than that). These guides will not be graded per se, but they also will serve as part of evaluation of your class discussion.  Your discussion guide should very briefly summarize the main argument(s) in the readings (note that there is a difference between summarizing the argument and summarizing the entire reading) then turn to their critical examination. It should include a list of no fewer than 5 and no more than 10 questions that will provoke a comprehensive discussion of the readings.  The questions should include ones related to theoretical frameworks, the strength of arguments, substantive importance, and overall quality. By the end of each discussion we should all know at least the following: what question(s) does this set of readings purport to answer? What explicit and implicit assumptions regarding the nature of courts and law does each author embrace? How good are the arguments and the evidence? What can we learn from these readings? What have the authors failed to teach us?

  

Research project (≈50%)  You will submit either a research prospectus or a research paper of approximately 12-20 pp on a topic of your choice, though it must be related to the issues raised in the course.  A prospectus should be a proposed plan of study for either a dissertation or a major article.  A successful prospectus will address the existing literature, lay out a problem and a theory, and propose a feasible plan to answer the problem in light of the theory. A research paper should be one that would be of the quality that might be published if expanded.  Publications are supposed to make an original contribution (though one may question how close we come to that ideal).  Thus, you will need to make some original claim in your paper, not just repeat in re-processed form what is already in the literature. The research paper is intended to be empirical, though we can discuss exactly what this means during the course of the semester. You will be required to discuss your project with at least one of the professors before beginning work on the paper.  More details on both these options will be given in class.

 

1. Short shrift is given to works on jurisprudence, legal theory, and Constitutional interpretation and history.  These topics are considered more fully in other courses.

2. Familiarity with the literature and topics assigned in this course is a necessary though not a sufficient condition for preparation for the preliminary examination in public law.  For example, public law concentrators are required to have a basic knowledge of Constitutional law among other things that are not covered in the course.

3. The requirements and readings are subject to change depending upon class size, composition, or pedagogical considerations.

GOV 357M • Constitutional Interpretatn

38750 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CBA 4.328
(also listed as CTI 326 )
show description

Course Description

Politics is often defined as "the authoritative allocation of values."  In the American political system, the Constitution is an important source of authority, and it gives preference to certain values.  The Constitution is a document of law, politics, and political theory.  Determining what the Constitution means, determining how to determine what it means, and determining who should determine what it means are fundamental tasks for participants in the American political process and for students of it.  The course may be of interest to those thinking about attending law school, but it is equally valuable to those who have no such interest.  Given the nature of our society, understanding the Constitution and constitutional law is part of a liberal arts education.  For the most part, the course does not focus on the "civil liberties" provisions in the Constitution; those important subjects are left to other courses.One objective of the course is for the student to become a constitutional interpreter who contributes intelligently to this ongoing process.  Judges have never been, nor should be, the only ones engaging in constitutional interpretation.  Presidents, members of Congress, and many others engage in constitutional interpretation.  A more complete course would examine their statements and actions in greater detail.  Judges, however, play a very important role in defining the meaning of the Constitution.  As such, it is important to learn what judges have said the Constitution means and to understand how they came to such conclusions.  This necessitates learning how to read and analyze judicial opinions.  The student should develop a sufficient comfort level with legal analysis so that she or he can evaluate intelligently some important interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask.  Prominent among such questions are those concerned with the proper role of courts and judges in the American political system.  We concentrate on the primary material--the Constitution and cases--so that the student can begin to develop his or her own ideas without undue influence.     Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills.  Engaging in constitutional reasoning can assist in developing intellectual precision and political persuasiveness.  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.    The course requires a substantial time commitment.  The time required varies greatly over the course of the semester, and as described below, it is hard to plan ahead.

GOV 357M • Civil Liberties

38748 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JGB 2.216
show description

General Description of the Course

    Civil Liberties is primarily a course in Constitutional interpretation that focuses on some of the rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  The course is designed to familiarize students with approaches and concepts related to certain freedoms, particularly as enuciated by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Particular attention is given to the First and Fourteenth Amendments, which involve issues of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, equal protection, and due process.  

    One objective of the course is for the student to learn what the Supreme Court has said about certain parts of the Constitution and to examine the implications of the rulings for the American polity.  The student should become comfortable with relevant legal analysis and doctrine so that he or she can evaluate intelligently the interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask.  

    Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills.  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Engaging in constitutional reasoning can assist in developing intellectual precision and political persuasiveness.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.

Format of the Course

    There are few lectures.  A combination of the case and Socratic methods is used.  This requires students to come to class, to be prepared, and to listen to one another.  The method assumes that, instead of lecturing, I am making points through discussion with students.  Lack of preparation or repeated absences or will hurt one’s grade.  The workload in this course increases dramatically as the semester proceeds.    There will be one or more evening sessions that require attendance late in the semester.  

GOV 357M • Constitutional Interpretatn

38755 • Fall 2011
Meets MW 330pm-500pm GSB 2.126
(also listed as CTI 326 )
show description

see syllabus

GOV 384N • Core Readings In Public Law

39170 • Spring 2011
Meets W 330pm-630pm BAT 1.104
show description

See syllabus

GOV 357M • Constitutional Interpretatn

38575 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 330pm-500pm GSB 2.126
show description

Politics is often defined as "the authoritative allocation of values."  In the American political system, the Constitution is an important source of authority, and it gives preference to certain values.  The Constitution is a document of law, politics, and political theory.  Determining what the Constitution means, determining how to determine what it means, and determining who should determine what it means are fundamental tasks for participants in the American political process and for students of it.  The course may be of interest to those thinking about attending law school, but it is equally valuable to those who have no such interest.  Given the nature of our society, understanding the Constitution and constitutional law is part of a liberal arts education.  For the most part, the course does not focus on the "civil liberties" provisions in the Constitution; those important subjects are left to other courses.

One objective of the course is for the student to become a constitutional interpreter who contributes intelligently to this ongoing process.  Judges have never been, nor should be, the only ones engaging in constitutional interpretation.  Presidents, members of Congress, and many others engage in constitutional interpretation.  A more complete course would examine their statements and actions in greater detail.  Judges, however, play a very important role in defining the meaning of the Constitution.  As such, it is important to learn what judges have said the Constitution means and to understand how they came to such conclusions.  This necessitates learning how to read and analyze judicial opinions.  The student should develop a sufficient comfort level with legal analysis so that she or he can evaluate intelligently some important interpretations of the justices and ask the questions that a student of politics should ask.  Prominent among such questions are those concerned with the proper role of courts and judges in the American political system.  We concentrate on the primary material--the Constitution and cases--so that the student can begin to develop his or her own ideas without undue influence.

    Another objective of this course is to improve reasoning and communication skills.  Engaging in constitutional reasoning can assist in developing intellectual precision and political persuasiveness.  As in most courses, good writing is demanded, but it is also important to develop the capacity to think and speak on one's feet.  Mastering the use of language, orally and in writing, increases the ability to think and communicate clearly.  Moving toward such mastery is a vital part of education.

    The course requires a substantial time commitment.  The time required varies greatly over the course of the semester, and as described below, it is hard to plan ahead.

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