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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

This is a one semester class. 

  • Can executive power be used to provide legal status for people who arrived illegally in America when they were children (the "Dreamers")? Do parents have the right to homeschool their children? Is there a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and how does that impact religious liberty? Is the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) constitutional? Is it still constitutional without the individual mandate? Are there any limits on the government's ability to take private property for a "public purpose?" Does the Second Amendment apply to individuals or just the militia? Why is prayer no longer allowed in public schools? What does "separation of church and state" really mean? Does a WWI memorial on public land that includes a large cross have to come down? What limits may now be placed on abortion? We will explore these questions and more by reading the leading Supreme Court and lower court opinions on these topics, exposing students to legal reasoning and the unique writing forms it takes.

  • This class is updated in "real" time: if the Supreme Court hands down a relevant new decision, we will discuss it in class. Classes are taught using a "mild" Socratic method, so class participation is required.

 

  • Topics include the following:

    • Judicial Power

    • Executive Power

    • Legislative Power: Commerce Clause & Tax and Spend Clause

    • Religious Freedom: Free Exercise and Free Religion Clauses

    • Freedom of Association

    • Abortion, Reproductive Rights, and Homosexual Rights

    • Parental Rights and Homeschooling

    • 2nd Amendment Rights

    • 5th Amendment and the Takings Clause

    • The influence of International Law on Constitutional Law

  • The class is taught from an Originalist perspective, but other viewpoints are presented. Constitutional Law is for the student or parent who wants to become a more informed citizen and desires to thoughtfully confront major civic issues in the college and public spheres.

  • This course is offered in two different tracks: Traditional and Audit.

 

  • In the Traditional Track, students will be expected to read 20-40 pages of material each week and must attend class prepared to debate the issues, to defend their positions, and to understand the opposing arguments. Grades will be based on completion of weekly case briefs, class participation, one short paper, and a final exam.  Homework times will average 2-4 hours per week.

  • In the Audit Track, students should read the course material each week and be prepared to engage in class discussions but will not be required to do so.  There will be no other requirements.

  • This course is well-suited to parents taking it with their older students, as it prompts many of the subjects parents often want to discuss with their students prior to college or joining the workforce.

  • A US History course is strongly recommended as a prerequisite and US Government is very helpful.  Because of the mature subject matters discussed in this course, only students in 11th or 12th grade may enroll.  Mature 10th graders may enroll with instructor permission.  Parents are also welcome to audit the class.

  • This course is worth 1/2 credit of high school social studies for successfully completing the semester. Parents are responsible for managing the transcript for their student.  The teacher will communicate the end-of-course grade within 2 weeks of the final class date.

 

CLASS TIME

Spring 2024

Tuesdays

12:00-1:30

Traditional Class with Graded Briefs and Exams

   $125.00*

 

Audit Track

   $50.00*

 

*Plus insurance and facilities fee.

See Registration page for details.

CLASS FEE
TEXTBOOK​

Students do NOT need to purchase a book. 

 

Texts will be provided by Bristol Academy, on loan to each student for the duration of the class.  

 

Students must treat the books with care so that future classes can also use them.   The text for this class is:

Constitutional Law for Enlightened Citizens - 2nd Edition

— Author: Michael P. Farris
— ISBN-13: 9781880665053

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