University of Miami School of Law Course Description - Online System
 StudentLink New   Concentration/Area of Focus Registration New

Spring 2020

Course Description
This is a course in U.S. constitutional law that supposes that “right now” matters much. It takes as one starting point constitutional questions that the Supreme Court has decided to hear or will soon decide to hear and will likely address by the beginning of next July. There are already prominent matters lined up – dealing with gerrymandering, for example, and a possible constitutional right to refuse to make wedding cakes for same sex marriage celebrations. Sometimes the Supreme Court will have ruled already when we take up a case and we will read the Court’s opinions. Often, however, cases will still be pending. We will then look at judicial opinions issued at initial stages in the cases at hand, arguments and citations raised by counsel in Supreme Court filings and proceedings, and occasionally other pertinent materials. Maybe this year especially, pressing questions we will want to consider will have originated outside the Supreme Court docket. Questions about gun rights of individuals are once again pressing. Police discretion to use firearms or other means of deadly force – in controversy now for some time – remains an important, difficult matter. The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer look to have revived long-time free speech controversies. The new presidency may bring into focus other constitutional questions as well. Some cases will touch on themes familiar from U.S. Constitutional Law I or II. Others will visit matters studied — likely from other angles -- in criminal or civil procedure or other courses. Still others may raise issues largely new to the curriculum. The idea is to build up a sense of the approaches to constitutional law evident within the work of the current Supreme Court or other present-day actors -- as well as associated preoccupations, divisions, achievements, failures etc. Recurring difficulties in constitutional law, evident across the longer run, will no doubt become apparent as well.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-13-2020 - 04-21-2020   TR  2:00 PM-3:20 PM TBD

Course Frequency
Occasional course offering

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: Yes
Prerequisite: The course assumes that all students have taken U.S. Constitutional Law I or its equivalent. U.S. Constitutional Law II is recommended — whether studied previously or concurrently. Every effort will be made to distribute all course materials digitally, at no cost to students. As a consequence, most Supreme Court opinions or associated materials will not be edited.
Method of Evaluation: There will be two examinations. The first, a weekend take-home effort, would likely be scheduled a week or two after spring break. This examination will address cases and materials distributed in the first part of the course, as well as materials distributed to be read during the weekend examination period itself. The second examination – much shorter and more straightforward – will take up added materials considered in the last part of the course. It is likely that all or part of this second examination will be closed-book. Details and mechanics of the two examinations – including the relative weights of the exams for grading purposes – will be discussed from time to time in class.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes: None
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Government & Regulation - Basic
Bar Subject(s): None
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s): TBD/None



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-2261
Office: C220