727 Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation

This seminar will examine important constitutional issues that have arisen in recent Supreme Court cases and will use those cases as a vehicle for considering broader questions of constitutional interpretation and Supreme Court practice, such as theories of interpretation and the role of stare decisis. Among the issues that may be studied are the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the Sixth Amendment rights to counsel and trial by jury, the Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Enrollment for Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation is limited to 15 students.  Only third-year students are eligible to apply for enrollment, as it is anticipated that students in their final year of law school will be best prepared to engage fully in the course.

This seminar is a one-credit fast-track course and will meet in Washington, DC, from Friday, March 8, through Thursday, March 14, 2019.  The Law School will help subsidize student travel to attend the course.  Students selected for the course are expected to attend every class session.

We anticipate the selection process will be completed before the end of the Spring drop/add period so that students will have ample time to finalize their Spring schedule.  The Registrar’s Office will manually enroll the selected students in Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation.

To apply for enrollment, please provide the following:

  • A copy of your academic record (an unofficial transcript is acceptable)
  • A resume
  • A statement, one page or less, double-spaced, indicating
    • Why you are interested in taking Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation
    • How this course will fit into your career or other goals related to the law
    • How your perspective may be a benefit to the course discussions
  • The names of two faculty members to serve as references

Students selected for the course should expect to do a substantial amount of reading once the course materials become available.

Submit applications to Dean Barnes (barnes@law.duke.edu) via email by Friday, November 9, 2018.  Additional information about the anticipated budget and funding will be provided before the application deadline.  Please feel free to contact Dean Barnes with any questions regarding this application process.

Course Areas of Practice
Course Type
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.