WHAT THIS AREA IS ABOUT. Constitutions are foundational documents for political and legal regimes. This area focuses on understanding constitutions and constitutionalism. Constitutionalism involves constitutional law, but it involves much more. It requires focus on subjects ranging from political science and political theory to history and philosophy. Courts play an important role in constitutional regimes and constitutional law, but other actors such a presidents and legislators play important roles in the making and interpreting of Constitutional Law.
PREREQUISITES. Constitutional Law I is a prerequisite to Con Law II courses as well as many upper level courses. Con Law I is supposed to emphasize constitutional history, basic approaches to constitutional interpretation, separation of powers, judicial review, federalism, and the commerce clause. But some professors cover much more than that in three hours; others cover much less. Consequently, the different versions of Con Law I vary almost as much as the different versions of Con Law II.
COURSE OFFERINGS. Students should take a variety of Con Law II courses. They should take courses related both to specific constitutional issues as well as courses in methods of constitutional decision making and design. Students should be particularly attuned to courses offered outside the law school. For example, if one's interest is questions of executive authority, one might want to take courses in the Government or History Departments. Interest in jurisprudence might lead to courses in Philosophy. Interest in issues of comparative constitutionalism can take many forms. Some are area specific and some are broad and more theoretical. For example an interest in emerging democracies generally or in an area of the world specifically, might lead to courses on Latin America or Africa within and outside the law school. Interest in the European Union is facilitated by courses in the law school as well as in courses associated with Center for European Studies.