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Constitutional Law I
SUNY Buffalo Law School
McCluskey, Martha T.

THE BASICS
Process
àWhat you do with the rules, not memorizing them
àHow the court makes arguments, how to engage and respond to them
Materials
Website discussion board: see web portal
Case book, copied packet, & Supplement
See course outlines in copied packet to see how to take notes and study
Grading
Mostly the final exam (in class, essay, open book)
Assemble materials for exam use, note page numbers, make outline
Exam Questions:
Issue Spotting: Knowing & applying the Supreme Courts rules to a fact pattern
Interpreting the Constitution, why did S Ct come up with the rules they did? Are they right? What should the rules be?
Look at trends in Con law, has it followed Constitutional law, etc?
Participation: will increase or decrease your grade, must come to class, must take part in panels, etc
4 classes are excused, must get permission to miss for it to not affect your grade
Panels- panel leader for one class in the semester, expect to be called on during that time
Pass/Fail writing assignments- making argument using constitutional law
Substance
Doctrine- what the court says the law is (US Const law & alternatives; state const)
State constitutions often track the US const
NY constitution was revised during New Deal era to mimic the economic ideals of that time
NJ constitution originally allowed women owning property to vote when US did not, later amended to only allow white men just like the US const.
Constitutions of other nations- US was often considered the model to follow
After WWII and Cold War lots of countries were establishing their new constitutions
Many adopt US model in one area of const and then directly reject it in other areas of their const.
How similar should they be to one another?
Rules- 14th Amendment
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Order- organizing argument into something manageable and effective
Gives the Federal Government its power
States do not need the Constitution for their powers, create their own powers from their own Constitutions
Method- how to make const arguments
Precedent
General statements that can be applied to fact patterns
Source of rules but leaves questions and confusion about how to interpret
What rules to take out of it and how to apply to various situations
What is the Rule that decides the case?
Often need to explain the rule further
Why using this rule and not another?
Why not the previous rule used?
How do you get the rules?
Meta rules- higher-level rules, types of arguments help choose among various possible interpretations of const.
Often determine which meta-rule governs?
What are the different arguments?
Can argue the rule is wrong/right
How do you Apply the rule being used?
Can argue the rule is right but should be applied differently
Big Picture- context?
What is going on in the world?
Rules change over time
Context
Court makes decisions not only for the reasons stated but also other factors (emotional, power, etc)
 
Intro to Constituation:“We the People…”
 
2. Constitutional Overvie

ach point in history**
 
South African Constitution
More specific about individual rights
Healthcare
Economic rights
Addresses problem of non-governmental power
Right to unionize
Economic rights against private entities
Said to be the new model of Constitutions
Most perfect Constitution
 
How is the Constitution different from other sources of legal authority (treaties, statutes, contracts, etc)?
All other agreements and laws must abide by the Constitution
Constitution creates a legal entity
Other agreements must include 2 previously established entities
What other areas of law create new things?
Some international treaties create new organizations (WTO, UN)
Marriage- state system that creates a new legal entity
Corporations- creates a new entity but must also be specific enough to guide the corporation
Constitutional laws supercede all other laws/agreements
Constitutional laws have broader statementsà meant to last longer than other documents/agreements
How general should a constitution be?
Other agreements are narrowerà not meant to last as long
Cannot be too general or it won’t establish enough power
Constitutionalism- a constitution is something that extends beyond the needs of the moment