Spring 2022 Course Schedule

U.S. Constitutional Law (LLM Only) (LAW-503L-001)
Fernanda Nicola

Meets: 01:00 PM - 03:50 PM (Th) - Warren - Room N101

Enrolled: 23 / Limit: 40

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This course covers the constitutional foundations of the U.S. legal system through the history of the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The three main areas of study will include: (i) the structure of the United States government and separation of powers within the federal government and between the federal government and the states; (ii) first amendment, due process and state action (iii) equal protection. We will examine the United States Supreme Court’s key rulings on the constitutional issues. We will focus on the reasoning and the doctrinal tests that the Court has applied in those rulings. The course will also focus on how the Court’s approach to various constitutional issues has developed or changed over time through a legal history approach by reading the work of legal historians as well as original texts from the Federalist papers. Being aware of this historical development is critical to understanding how Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) apply and interpret differently constitutional rules over time.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

  1. Jesse Choper, Leading Cases in Constitutional Law, A Compact Casebook for a Short Course, American Casebook Series, West Academic Publishing, 2020 Edition (“Choper”)
  2. Robert G. McCloskey, The American Supreme Court, University of Chicago Press,Ltd., 2016 Sixth Edition (“McCloskey”) you should find this used.
  3. Supplemental Readings (Supp. available on CANVAS)
  4. Federalist Papers
  5. Modes of Constitutional Interpretation (2018)

First Class Readings


    Introduction/Interpretation of the Constitution

    • McCloskey, Chapter One: The Genesis and Nature of Judicial Power (McCloskey 1-16)
    • Federalism: Federalist No. 10 (Supp.)
    • Separation of Powers: Federalist No. 51 (Supp.)
    • The Bill of Rights: Federalist No. 84 (Supp.)
    • Judicial Review: Federalist No. 78 (Supp.)
    • Origins of Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madison (Choper 1-10)
    • Read The Constitution, ARTICLES I, II and XXV Amendment

    • What is an Impeachment according to the U.S. Constitution?
    • What is the Impeachment procedure?
    • What was left out by the Framers and how do you think Congress could fill some of the gaps in the procedure or substance of the Impeachment?


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