Constitutional Law I - Professor Kobil


Course Title

Constitutional Law I


Professor Kobil

First Assignment

For the first week of classes beginning Wednesday, August 25, 2021, please sign up for this class on TWEN (this TWEN class will be created by August 1) and also read the following in ERWIN CHEMERINSKY, CONSTITUTIONAL  LAW (Wolters Kluwer, 6th Ed. 2020)(ISBN 978-1-5438-1307-4):                                                                  

WEDNESDAY: Introduction to the Constitution, Judicial Review, and Methods of Interpretation; Limits on the Judicial Power.

  • SKIM the U.S. Constitution:  pp. xli-lvii (read Article III closely as it is relevant to Marbury);
  • View Class One asynchronous video on Echo 360. 
  • READ pp. 1-66 in the casebook.   Our class will begin by will begin by studying the famous case of Marbury v. Madison (pay particular attention to what Marshall describes as the role of the Court in saying what the Constitution means).   Next, we will look at how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and how the it chooses to limit its own power to decide Constitutional rules.   We will consider the problems of constitutional interpretation that surround controversial issues of gun control and gun ownership rights, as exemplified by the Court’s holding in Heller.  (Heller is as much about what methods judges should use in interpreting the Constitution as it is about the substance of Second Amendment rights.  Should that original meaning be binding on society today, and how should we ascertain that meaning?  Finally, as a matter of constitutional doctrine, what is the Court’s actual holding and what does Heller mean for future gun control legislation?  After considering interpretive limits on the Court’s power, we will consider various doctrines the Court has created to limit its power of judicial review. 

FRIDAY:  Limits on the Judicial Power.

  • Casebook, pp. 52-118 (omit Geraghty); in class handout on standing. Why do the cases on standing seem rather inconsistent?  Consider what, if anything, is left of the Flast exception after Winn?  Also, does anything strike you as odd about the political question doctrine defined by the Court in Baker v. Carr (hint:  Despite the fact that this law suit is about how elections can be conducted in Tennessee, is the law suit challenging malapportionment considered by the Court to be a “political question,” in the constitutional sense?)