This three-credit seminar will consider a variety of theories of U.S. constitutional interpretation and change. The topics to be addressed will include background issues such as various conceptions of constitutional authority, the relationship between constitutional law and politics, and concerns about the "countermajoritarian difficulty," as well as specific constitutional theories such as those associated with John Hart Ely, Ronald Dworkin, and Bruce Ackerman. In addition to considering the role of the judiciary in constitutional interpretation, there will be a focus on how U.S. constitutional law is interpreted and can potentially evolve outside of the courts.
The readings will be substantial, and students will need to purchase a number of books by constitutional theorists (although the total price of the books probably will not exceed the price of a new casebook, and one set of the books will be placed on reserve in the library). Students will be expected to complete both a series of short reaction papers as well as a research paper, and to attend a scholarly conference that will be held all day on a Saturday in the late Fall.
Instructors: Curtis Bradley and Neil Siegel