Constitutional Theory (S)


This course will examine contemporary controversies concerning the nature of constitutional interpretation and the proper scope of judicial review in our constitutional democracy. It will use a series of problems or debates about certain controversial rights -- e.g., right to privacy, reproductive rights, right to marry, right to die, right to welfare, and right to equal citizenship -- to assess several theories of constitutional interpretation. The readings will illustrate the theories of originalism, reinforcing representative democracy, and protecting fundamental rights, as well as civic republican, communitarian, progressive, and feminist theories. Authors will include Robert Bork, Ronald Dworkin, John Hart Ely, Mary Ann Glendon, Catharine MacKinnon, Frank Michelman, Michael Sandel, Antonin Scalia, Cass Sunstein, Robin West, and others. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.