Constitutional Interpretation and Individual Rights
This course explores the place of contemporary theories of constitutional interpretation in the definition of individual rights and the Supreme Court as a venue for change. Topics include: constitutional theory and practice; the counter-majoritarian difficulty; text, precedent, and moral values in Court decision-making. Theories studied: conservative originalism (Bork and Scalia); progressive originalism (Balkin, Barnett, and Ackerman); representation-reinforcement (Ely); popular constitutionalism (Tushnet and Kramer); philosophical/moral reading of the Constitution (Dworkin and Fleming); common law constitutional theory (Strauss); and critical theory (race, gender, and sexual orientation).
Grading and Method of Evaluation:
Letter grade with pass/fail option. Students will be graded based on a final exam. With the permission of the instructor, students may submit a paper in leiu of the exam and may use it to satisfy the UCWR.