Course Information

Course Number




Area of Study & Practice

  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

Constitutional Law II: The Scope and Limits of Presidential Authority

By most measures, the president of the United States is the single most visible and most powerful individual actor in American government. It can be surprising, as a consequence, to recall that the text of the Constitution says relatively little about the powers and responsibilities of the chief executive. This course will explore the constitutional role of the president by reading primary sources, including Supreme Court and Justice Department opinions, and secondary literature on the scope of executive authority, the power of Congress to limit and direct the exercise of presidential authority, and the difficult legal issues that arise in the conduct of foreign policy and the preservation of national security where judicial review and even judicial precedent are often limited or absent. A paper will be required.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.