University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2021

Course Description

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-26-2021 - 04-27-2021   TR  10:10 AM-11:50 AM DL

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered every semester

Course Information

Credits: 2
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation:
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes: None
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s):
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: American Constitutional Law
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Required
    Author: Shanor
    Publisher: West Academic
    Edition: 6th edition
    ISBN: 978-1683280712
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: Assignment for the First Day of Class – January 26 All class assignments and materials not in the casebook will be posted on Blackboard. Reading the Constitution: An Introduction Be prepared to discuss the following topics. Discussion Topics: (1) What is the purpose of the Preamble? (2) Does the Preamble define the locus of sovereignty under the Constitution? If so, what component of the constitutional system constitutes the locus of sovereignty? (3) Who or what constitutes “We the People of the United States”? Why and in what ways does the answer to this question matter to our understanding of the Constitution? (4) The Preamble enumerates several goals or purposes or aspirations or hopes or values reflected in the Constitution. Why are these items enumerated? What is missing? What do these terms mean? How do we know what they mean? Do the meanings of the various enumerated items change over time? (5) What is the relevance of the Preamble to reading and interpreting the remainder of the Constitution? (6) We will explore throughout the course the idea that the Preamble articulated values and goals while the remainder of the Constitution addressed the structures and procedures through which these values can be achieved and preserved. If this is a useful idea (and it may or may not be), how does the design of countervailing authority through the balance of power relate to the concept of sovereignty? What is meant by representation and participation? What structures, what allocations of authority, what patterns of countervailing authority did the Constitution rely upon to forestall the reemergence of tyranny? Did the founders regard tyranny as a remote danger or as an ever-present danger?

    The casebook is Charles A. Shanor, American Constitutional Law: Structure and Reconstruction (6th edition 2017). Used copes of the 6th edition should be available in the bookstores.

    The Preamble to the Constitution (Shanor: xxv)



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-2642
Office: G283