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LAW 7062: Originalism

This two-credit seminar will explore the theory and practice of "originalism" -- the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted in light of the meaning of its text to those who had authority to enact it. This is a controversial approach (as are the others) and we will read and consider critics as well as proponents, so that students can make up their own minds. The first part of the seminar will be devoted to the theory: how it works, what are its justifications, what are its flaws, the various versions. The remainder will be devoted to specific applications. Because there are far more topics than we have time to cover, students will vote on the first day for which topics we will take up. Among the choices are: executive power, speech and press, liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment, equality under the Fourteenth Amendment, gun rights, searches and seizures, and freedom of religion. Two students will assist in leading class discussions. Elements used in grading: Grades will be b more »
This two-credit seminar will explore the theory and practice of "originalism" -- the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted in light of the meaning of its text to those who had authority to enact it. This is a controversial approach (as are the others) and we will read and consider critics as well as proponents, so that students can make up their own minds. The first part of the seminar will be devoted to the theory: how it works, what are its justifications, what are its flaws, the various versions. The remainder will be devoted to specific applications. Because there are far more topics than we have time to cover, students will vote on the first day for which topics we will take up. Among the choices are: executive power, speech and press, liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment, equality under the Fourteenth Amendment, gun rights, searches and seizures, and freedom of religion. Two students will assist in leading class discussions. Elements used in grading: Grades will be based 20% on participation and 80% on papers. Students will have the choice of one longer research paper or three shorter reflection papers. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from Section 01 into Section 02 (long research paper), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2
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