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INTRODUCTION TO CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Instructors Quinton Lucas, Cornell Law School, Candidate for J.D., 2009 Katie Higgins, Cornell Law School, Candidate for J.D., 2009 Purpose The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the modern development of constitutional rights and civil liberties. We place substantial emphasis on the Bill of Rights and the Reconstruction Amendments. Each course meeting will focus upon a specific constitutional right. Guest speakers will frequently join the course, and lead discussions on modern issues in constitutional law. Required Materials Please bring the following materials to each class meeting: 1. Joseph Dillon Davey, The Bill of Rights Today: Constitutional Limits on the Powers of Government, University Press of America, 2008. 2. Course Packet In addition to the Davey text and the course packet, handouts will be provided periodically throughout the course. The midterm and final examinations will cover material from the Davey text, course packet, and handouts. Grading Grades will be based on scores from a midterm examination (1/3), a final examination (1/3), and class participation (1/3). Class participation includes involvement in class discussions, submission of short writing assignments, and leading an assigned discussion during the course. All written assignments may be handwritten. Class Attendance 1


If a student misses more than two classes for reasons other than health or a court hearing, the student will not be allowed to continue in the class. A slip explaining your absence must be turned in to the instructors the following week. Assignments Students must read the assigned pages listed on the syllabus prior to each week’s class. Students should also read constitutional amendments which correspond to the readings each week. Applicable amendments may be found in the back of course packets and the Davey textbook. In addition, we have selected special discussion cases for each week. Selected students will be required to lead the discussion for these cases. All students are required to brief the special discussion cases each week. We may also provide additional assignments week-to-week.

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ASSIGNMENTS AND COURSE OUTLINE INTRODUCTION TO THE COURTS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Week 1 February 2 Readings:

Introduction to Constitutional Law in American Courts No assigned readings

Week 2 February 9 Readings: Guest:

Race and the Courts Handouts Sheri Johnson, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT Week 3 February 16 Readings: Assignment: Guest:

The Limits of Search and Seizure Course Packet, Week 3 Readings Brief Scott v. Harris Sherry Colb, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

Week 4 February 23 Defining ‘Unreasonable’ Search and Seizure Readings: Course Packet, Week 4 Readings Assignment: Brief United States v. Robinson THE FIFTH AND SIXTH AMENDMENTS Week 5 March 2 Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Readings: Course Packet, Week 5 Readings Assignment: Brief Strickland v. Washington; Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Osborne v. Hall Week 6 March 9 Readings: Assignment: Guest:

Self-Incrimination Course Packet, Week 6 Readings Brief Miranda v. Arizona; Brewer v. Williams John Blume, Professor Law, Cornell Law School 3


MIDTERM Week 7 March 16 Readings: Assignment: Guest:

Voting Rights Course Packet, Week 7 Readings Brief Richardson v. Ramirez Mary Katzenstein, Professor of American Studies and Government, Cornell University

Midterm Examination: students will pick up the midterm examination at the end of class on March 16, 2009, to be completed over the following two weeks and turned in at the beginning of class on March 30, 2009. THE FIRST AMENDMENT Week 8 March 23 First Amendment: Freedom of Speech Readings: Text, pp. 139-52; Course Packet, Week 8 Readings Assignment: Brief Shaw v. Murphy THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT Week 9 March 30 Readings: Guest:

Introduction to the Due Process Clause Text, pp. 41-54 Michael Page, Cornell Law School, Candidate for J.D., 2009

Week 10 April 6 Readings:

Due Process Clause: An Expansion of Rights? Text, pp. 205-20

Week 11 April 13 Race and the Equal Protection Clause Readings: Text, pp. 69-90; 113-19; 129-32; Course Packet, Week 11 Readings Assignment: Brief Johnson v. California Week 12 April 20 Gender and the Equal Protection Clause Readings: Text, pp. 101-12; Course Packet, Week 12 Readings Assignment: Brief Michael M. v. Superior Court 4


THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT Week 13 April 27 Cruel and Unusual Punishment Readings: Text, pp. 55-65; Course Packet, Week 13 Readings Assignment: Brief Farmer v. Brennan FINAL EXAMINATION

Week 14 May 4

Final Exam: two-hour, in-class, open-book examination

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Briefing a Case

Although the exact form of your briefs may vary from case to case, the following parts should appear somewhere in your brief in a way that helps you understand the case and recall the needed information: à Read the opinion first so you will understand the overall story and identify important facts, etc., before beginning to brief the case on paper. 1. Heading: a. Case name (to identify the parties) b. Date of the decision 2. Statement of Facts a. Identify legally relevant facts, that is, those facts that tend to prove or disprove an issue before the court. The relevant facts tell what happened before the parties entered the judicial system. 3. Procedural History (PH): a. Who appealed and why. 4. Issues: a. The point of law in dispute b. Procedural issue: What is the appealing party claiming the lower court did wrong (e.g., ruling on evidence, jury instructions, etc.?) 5. Holding: a. This is a statement of law that is the court’s answer to the issue. 6. Rule of Law: a. The legal principle applied or established. 7. Reasoning: a. This is the court’s analysis of the issues. 8. Concurring/Dissenting Opinions a. Note the concurring/dissenting judge(s)’ reasons for refusing to join in the majority opinion. 9. Additional Comments/Personal Impressions: What are your reactions to the opinion? Anything you like? Dislike? How does this case fall in line with the other cases you have read? 6

Profile for Quinton Lucas

Constitutional Law -- Auburn (NY) Correctional Facility  

This syllabus is from a course on Constitutional Law and Individual Rights I co-taught at Auburn (NY) Correctional Facility, a maximum secur...

Constitutional Law -- Auburn (NY) Correctional Facility  

This syllabus is from a course on Constitutional Law and Individual Rights I co-taught at Auburn (NY) Correctional Facility, a maximum secur...

Profile for qlucas
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