Catalogue 2019 - 2020

LAW 720 Constitutional History



Course Description

This course traces the institutional growth of the Supreme Court from its early tentative beginnings to its present strength while examining the Court's role in the historical development of the United States from the Founding to the Constitutional Revolution of 1937. Students will study selected decisions of the Court in their political, economic, and social context with emphasis on the changing character of the Court, the impact of great justices, and the influence of extra-legal elements in constitutional decision making. The class will address, among other topics, the Court's role in promoting economic development, slavery and race and the Constitution, civil liberties during wartime, and the limits of judicial power. Students will do significant reading in secondary materials in addition to reading the cases considered.