Con Law ii
Professor Ari Ezra Waldman
New York Law School
This is the second part of a two-semester class on constitutional law. In Con Law II, our substantive focus switches from federal government structure and the powers of the three branches to the relationship between government power and our rights, specifically our rights to equality, due process, and liberty. Our discussions are primarily, but not exclusively, based on the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition to learning about what the constitution says about topics as diverse as fake news, a woman's right to choose, and same-sex marriage, we will practice important lawyering skills and discuss interpretive models, history of the development of modern constitutional jurisprudence, and policy arguments that play essential roles in civil society today.
Be present. Be on time. Be engaged. Have fun!
By the end of this semester, you should ...
- learn how to interpret the Constitution's rights provisions, specifically the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment;
- recognize the different types of interpretive models used to interpret provisions of the Constitution;
- understand the social and political and legal effects of those different interpretive models;
- continue to perfect important lawyering and law student skills, including identifying relevant facts, teasing out holdings, and marshaling and manipulative holdings to make arguments;
- situate constitutional doctrinal developments in social and political history;
- deploy and critique policy arguments; and
- have fun!
Rules & Regs
1. Erwin Chemerinsky, Constitutional Law (5th Ed. 2016).
2. Any supplemental materials I post to this website.
As the semester unfolds, I will supplement, subtract, revise the readings based on our interests, the news, and our pace. I appreciate the flexibility and I hope you will too.
Please note that I have provided questions to guide your reading. You will find them on the next page. These are not assignments that you have to hand in; no one will see your answers save you, assuming you write them down. However, they may help focus your reading on the topics and skills we will discuss in class. You should not restrict yourself to answering these questions, but you may use them as guides.
Participation is essential for success in this class and in law school generally. I will rarely, if ever, just lecture to you. Class is a discussion among all members of our community, and you should come to class prepared to participate. In the event that there are either an insufficient number or an insufficient variety of volunteers, I will call panelists assigned to a particular class at random. Panelists will be determined based on the seating chart. You needn't worry about being called on if you're prepared for class.
Being prepared for class means the following:
1. You did the reading ... of course. Sometimes, you read it more than once.
2. You reflected on the readings through the questions in the text.
3. You looked up any terms you didn't understand.
4. You came to class with your readings annotated and your notes available.
Attendance is mandatory. Please consult the NYLS Attendance Policy if you have any questions.
We will maintain a courteous and professional learning environment. Professionalism means many things. For example, it means answering questions using appropriate tone and language. It means handing in assignments that reflect the same. Most importantly, it means treating everyone with respect. We are all in this together.
Laptops and Cellphones
Professionalism also means not distracting your fellow students. I do allow laptops in class, despite some misgivings. If that's how you feel you learn better, feel free. But do not use your laptop for anything other than taking notes. Trust me, I will know. Turn off your cell phone before class and do not use any tech during class.
Recording devices are not permitted. If you have reason to have class videotaped, using classroom tech, please contact Academic Affairs. The following NYLS policy applies: "Under extraordinary circumstances (such as hospitalizations or other extended excused absences) and only with the permission of the Office of Academic Affairs, recording of classes may be arranged through the Office of Academic Affairs."