Professors Robert M. Chesney

Constitutional Law (Fall 2010)


Class Policies

Powerpoint Slides (see link after each entry in syllabus below)









Welcome to the course website for Constitutional Law.  In this class, we explore the allocation of government powers and individual rights established by the Constitution of the United States, emphasizing not just the past, present, and future of doctrinal rules but also the normative arguments and theoretical perspectives associated with constitutional law and the methodology of constitutional argument. 












1.         Introduction to the Book, the Constitution, and Constitutional Argument (slides)


o   Casebook overview                                                                 PCD xxxi-xxxvi

o   Drafting the Constitution, Selling the Constitution                PCD 19-26

o   The Constitution of the United States                         PCD 1-10

- Be prepared to give a very brief description of the general subject of each of the seven articles, as well as each section within them.

o   The Bank of the United States: A Case Study                   PCD 27-37

- Among other things, be prepared to describe the methods of constitutional interpretation at work in these arguments.  Do you think some are more legitimate than others?  If so, why?


2.         Case Study: The Bank Controversy (II) (slides)


o   The Bank of the United States: A Case Study (cont.)            PCD 27-37


3.         Case Study: The Bank Controversy (III) (slides)


o  McCulloch v. Maryland (implied powers)                              PCD 38-51


4.         Case Study: The Bank Controversy (IV) (slides)


o  Reaction to McCulloch                                                            PCD 51-53

o  Interpretive Methodology                                                      PCD 53-62

o  Inherent vs Implied Powers                                                    PCD 62-64

o  Jackson’s Veto Message                                                         PCD 74-79


5.         Bank Controversy (V); The Election of 1800 and Judicial Power (slides)


o  OLC Memo on Unconstitutional Statutes                               PCD 79-81

o  The Supreme Court Before Marshall                                     PCD 97-99

o  The Revolution of 1800 and Institutional Power                    PCD 99-103


6.         The Election of 1800 and Judicial Power (II) (slides)


o  Stuart v. Laird                                                                         PCD 104-08

o  Marbury v. Madison                                                               PCD 108-24


7.          The Election of 1800 and Judicial Power (III) (slides)


o  Same assignment as class 6


8.         Judicial Review (slides)


o  Same assignment as class 6

o  Precedents for Judicial Review                                               PCD 124-25

o  The Theory of Judicial Review                                                PCD 126-36


9.         Judicial Review (cont.) (slides)


(continuation of last assignment)


10.       “Rights” Theory in the Marshall Court Era (slides)


o  Protecting Property Rights & the Natural Law Tradition       PCD 140-46

o  “Rights” Jurisprudence in the Marshall Era                           PCD 146-48

o  Calder v. Bull                                                                           PCD 149-51

o  Textual Rights and the Ninth Amendment                             PCD 151-53


11.       Federal Power in the Antebellum Era (slides)


o  Gibbons v. Ogden                                                                    PCD 168-80


12.       The Antebellum Era: Prelude to War (II) (slides)


o  Methodology: Distinguishing Text, Purpose, and Meaning   PCD 180-86

o  Historical Context of the Taney Court                                    PCD 187-91

o  Midwest Expansion, Slavery, Violence, and Compromise     PCD 226-28

o  Dred Scott v. Sandford, Part                                                   PCD 228-53


13.       The Antebellum Era: Prelude to War  (III) (slides)


o  Professor Levinson on Nullification and Succession (here)

o  Frederick Douglas on the Constitution                                   PCD 253-57

o  The Lincoln-Douglas Debates and Judicial Supremacy          PCD 257-60

o  James Buchanan on Presidential Power                                 PCD 261-64

o  Judah Benjamin on the Legality of Succession                       PCD 264-67

o  Jefferson Davis on the Confederacy                                       PCD 267-68


14.       The Civil War: Presidential Power (slides)

o  Lincoln’s First Inaugural                                                          PCD 268-71

o  Resort to Force: The Prize Cases                                            PCD 271-75


15.       The Civil War: Presidential Power (II) (slides)




16.       Presidential Power (III) (slides)


o  Detention Power: Ex Parte Merryman                                   PCD 276-79

o  The Emancipation Proclamation                                            PCD 279-83

o  Lincoln Considered                                                                 PCD 283-85

o  The Gettysburg Address                                                          PCD 285-87


17.       Presidential Power (IV); Federal Economic Power (slides)


o  Military Jurisdiction over Civilians: Ex Parte Milligan           PCD 287-91

o  The Legal Tender Cases                                                          PCD 291-99


18.       Reconstruction  and the Fourteenth Amendment (II) (slides)


o  The Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment                           PCD 301-19

o  Post-War America                                                                  PCD 319-20


19.       Reconstruction and the Fourteenth Amendment (III) (slides)


o  The Slaughterhouse Cases and Their Aftermath                    PCD 320-36


20.       Reconstruction and the Fourteenth Amendment (IV) (slides)


o  Continuing the discussion of Slaughterhouse

o  Strauder v. West Virginia                                                       PCD 351-57

o  The End of Reconstruction                                                      PCD 357-58


21.       Reconstruction, Gender, and Voting (slides)


o  Women, Voting, and the Fourteenth Amendment                 PCD 340-43

o  Minor v. Happersett                                                               PCD 343-46


22.       Judicial Acceptance of Segregation; An Evolving Economy (slides)


o  Plessy v. Ferguson                                                                   PCD 359-68

o  Legal and Social Consequences of a Changing Economy       PCD 412-15

o  “Incorporation” of the Bill of Rights Against the States         PCD 415-16


23.       Judicial Resistance to Legislative Intervention in the Market (slides)


o  Lochner v. New York                                                               PCD 417-31

o  Federal Regulation of the National Economy                        PCD 435-37


24.       Economic Power continued (slides)


o  Champion v. Ames (The Lottery Case)                                    PCD 437-41

o  Hammer v. Dagenhart                                                            PCD 441-49

o  Note on the Taxing Power                                                      PCD 449-50


25.       Economic Power continued; Free Speech and National Security(slides)


o  Note on the Spending Power                                                  PCD 450-56

o  The 16th Amendment                                                              PCD 471-72

o  The 17th Amendment                                                              PCD 472-73

o  Protection for Subversive Speech?                                         PCD 460-68

o  The Role of the Constitution During Emergencies                 PCD 469-71


26.       The Incorporation Debate; The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (I) (slides)


o  The Incorporation Debate                                                      PCD 485-93

o  Resistance to Economic Regulation Weakens                        PCD 499-501


27.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (II) (slides)


o  Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell                      PCD 501-10

o  West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish                                              PCD 510-13


28.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (III) (slides)


o  United States v. Carolene Products Co.                                  PCD 513-20

o  Williamson v. Lee Optical Co.                                     PCD 520-27



29.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (IV) (slides)


o  Unleashing the Commerce Clause                                         PCD 549-50

o  United States v. Darby                                                            PCD 551-53


30.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (V) (slides)



o  Wickard v. Filburn                                                                   PCD 553-56

o  Note on Constitutional Change                                               PCD 556-58


31.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (VI) (slides)


o  Economic Power and Civil Rights Legislation             PCD 558-64

o  The Power to Tax and Spend                                                  PCD 564-70


32.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (VII) (slides)


o  Introductory Note                                                                   PCD 600-01

o  United States v. Lopez                                                PCD 601-19



33.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (VIII) (slides)


o  Lopez (cont., emphasis on Morrison and Raich)                    PCD 619-27


34.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (IX) (slides)


o  Lopez, Morrison                                                                      PCD 619-27


35.       The “Modern” Constitutional Era: Economic Regulation (X) (slides)


o  Raich                                                                                       PCD 619-27


36.       The Rehnquist Court and the Spending and Reconstruction Powers (slides)


o  Taxing and Spending Power                                                   PCD 627-29



37.       The Rehnquist Court and State Sovereignty (I) (slides)


o  City of Boerne v. Flores                                                           PCD 629-43


38.       The Rehnquist Court and State Sovereignty (I) (slides)


o  Constitutional Protection of State Sovereignty                      PCD 649-53

o  Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority           PCD 653-63

o  Introductory Note                                                                   PCD 663-65

o  Gregory v. Ashcroft                                                                 PCD 665-74


39.       The Rehnquist Court and State Sovereignty (II) (slides)


o  New York v. United States                                                      PCD 674-92


40.       The Rehnquist Court and State Sovereignty (III) (slides)


o  Printz v. United States                                                 PCD 693-711


41.      Executive Power: Control of the Bureaucracy (I) (slides)


o  Note on the Appointment and Removal Powers                    PCD 761

o  In re Sealed Case                                                                    PCD 761-63 (Parts I and II only)

o  Morrison v. Olson                                                                   PCD 773-86


42.       Executive Power: Control of the Bureaucracy (II) (slides)


o  Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB                                              here [link to be added]



43.       Executive Power: Control of the Law (slides)


o  Note on the Veto Power                                                         PCD 795

o  INS v. Chadha                                                                          PCD 796-814


44.       Executive Power: The Commander-in-Chief (slides)


o  Note on the Korean War and the Steel Dispute                     PCD 819-22

o  Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer                               PCD 823-36


45.       Equal Protection: Racial Distinctions (slides)


o  Note on School Desegregation                                               PCD 893-98

o  Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS                           PCD 898-904

o  Brown and Methodology                                                        PCD 904-13


46.       Equal Protection: Racial Distinctions (II) (slides)


o  Brown and Methodology (cont.)                                             PCD 913-23

o  Note on the “Suspect Class” Concept                         PCD 956-59

o  Loving v. Virginia                                                                    PCD 959-66


47.       Equal Protection: Affirmative Action (slides)


o  Note on Bakke                                                 SKIM    PCD 1071-72

o  Regents of the University of California v. Bakke        SKIM    PCD 1072-77

o  Aftermath of Bakke                                                    SKIM    PCD 1077-81

o  Grutter v. Bollinger                                                                 PCD 1120-42


48.       Fundamental Rights: Contraception (slides)


o  Introductory Note                                                                   PCD 1339-42

o  Griswold v. Connecticut                                                          PCD 1342-55

o  Methodology and Fundamental Rights                                  PCD 1355-65


49.       Fundamental Rights: Family & Other Living Arrangements (slides)


o  Michael H. v. Gerald D.                                                          PCD 1370-82


50.       Fundamental Rights: Privacy & Abortion (slides)


o  Background Note                                                                    PCD 1387

o  Roe v. Wade                                                                            PCD 1388-1406


51.       Fundamental Rights: Privacy & Abortion (II) (slides)


o  Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey                PCD 1424-54


52.       Fundamental Rights: Sexuality (slides)


o  Lawrence v. Texas                                                                  PCD 1482-05


53.       Fundamental Rights: End of Life (slides)


o  Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dep’t of Health                         PCD 1569-79

o  Washington v. Glucksberg                                                      PCD 1579-86


54.       The Right to Bear Arms (slides)


o  District of Columbia v. Heller                                                 click here


55.       The Constitutionality of the “Individual Mandate” (slides) 


o  Readings to be added




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