APGOV/Constitutional Law and Public Policy Course Schedule

Semester 2 Schedule 2016 -- Justice in Public Policy

Essential Question: What is best for the citizens of the United States?

Jan 4: Introduction to the semester and time to edit and post Values essays -- inclass TedTalk

Jan 6: Supreme Court Basics

How the Court Works -- Read the following sections (don't panic...they aren't long):

Dignity, Formality, and Tradition

The Term

The Court's Workload

Oral Arguments

Types of Cases the Court Hears

Justices' Conferences

Drafting and Releasing Opinions

Selecting Justices

Research: The current Supreme Court -- what the ideological leanings of the current Justices? Use this site. Read the bios and listen to the recordings too!


Jan 11: What is the purpose of law? If it is justice, then what is justice? Is justice the judgment of morality?


Interpose Your Friendly Hand linked on PB Works "On-Line Readings" page

Choose one of the following questions for which to write a 1200 word answer. Answers due in class.

1) Should the justice of laws depend on the moral worth of the conduct they prohibit or protect?

2) Can justice be achieved where there is no law?

3) Should the law aim toward making citizens virtuous?

4) Do rights exist in anarchy or are they not a construction of government?


Jan 13: Warm - up panel on the 14th Amendment and Liberty of Contract

ALL READ the 14th Amendment and the following cases:

Lochner v. NY (1905)

Nebbia v. NY (1934)

Williamson v. Lee Optical (1955)

Jan 19: BEGIN Constitutional Law Dockets -- right to bear arms (Ben Showard and Spencer Martin)


Links to court transcripts/decisions are almost without exception on Douglas Linder's Constitutional Law Site. He also has GREAT background on each area of Constitutional Law -- so you may use his site as a secondary source too! PLEASE cite...of course!

You should use oyez.org to round out the historical context and specifics of the justices' decisions.


political philosophy question: does gun ownership protect liberty?

Constitutional question: What conduct is the Second Amendment protecting? Should that conduct be prohibited?

United States vs. Miller (U.S. 1939)
District of Columbia vs Heller (U.S. 2008)
McDonald v Chicago (U.S. 2010)

Jan 21: Abortion and same sex marriage -- privacy (Asha and Daniel)

political philosophy question: who owns my body?

Constitutional question: Is there a right to privacy in the Constitution? Is that right inalienable?


Griswold v Connecticut (1965)

Cruzan v. Missouri Dep't. of Health (1990)

New York Times v. US (1971)
Lawrence v Texas (2003)

Roe v. Wade (1973)
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)


Jan 27: Equal Protection/Equality under the law (Karam and Ben P) -- WE SWITCHED DATES!

politcal philosophy question: what is fair? is it government's job to ensure equality?

Constitutional question: Is there an assumption in the Constitution that all are created equal?

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) (do not blog on this one)
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
Brown v Board of Ed. (Brown II)(1955) (do not blog on this one)
Bakke v. Regents, Univ. of California (1978)
Grutter v Bollinger (2003)


Jan 25: Speech (Spencer and Asha)

political philosophy question: is all speech valid? how far can protection of free speech go when that speech is harmful?

Constitutional question: does any part of the Constitution seem to contradict the notion that the First Amendment is unassailable?


Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School District  (1969)
Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986)
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
Morse v Frederick (2007)

Feb 3: Executive Privilege and Power (Ben Showard and Ben P)

political philosophy question: To what extent are elected leaders above the law or one of the people? What is the extent of governmental power especially in matters of national security and/or emergencies?

Constitutional question: Does the Constituion suggest that the President is above the law and does the Constitution limit executive power in times of national emergency?


United States v Nixon (1974)
Clinton v Jones (1997)

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004)


Feb 8: Campaign Finance (Daniel and Karam)

political philosophy question: Is it acceptable to allow unfettered spending in elections in a democracy which purports to value equality?

Constitutional question: Does the First Amendment protect campaign contributions by citizens or does the state have a vested interest in limiting those donations?


Buckley v. Valeo

Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. Federal Election Commission (just read Oyez...no need to read decision)

Randall v Sorrell (2006) -- this opinion is LONG - do your best!

McConnell, et al v. Federal Election Commission (use Oyez) 2003

Citizens United v FEC

Feb 10: Begin Public Policy units -- Work DAY...choosing your topic

ESSAY DUE -- Revisit the question you answered in the first week of this semester and offer an argument about how the Supreme Court has (and might) answer the question. You must use evidence from at least 2 dockets that you did NOT present on -- use our class blog and the other resources to remind yourselves of the dockets and decisions. 5-7 pages. Double-spaced. Chicago. Pg #s. Hard copy in class!

Feb 15: Ms. Calverley's presentation

Feb 17: Intro to Public Policy

READ: Handout from A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis

Feb 22: First Policy Unit -- Keystone Pipeline

PBS on the Alaskan Pipeline (as an interesting comparison with Keystone -- pay particular attention to the Special Features section)

Politico Article on Keystone in general

General Information on Tarsands (aka oilsands) and the pros and cons of the Keystone project from Harvard (this one is LONGish, but excellent)

NYT's Keystone Coverage (be sure to watch the video "How Keystone XL Got so Political")!

Dickinson University Environmental Online Newspaper (anti tarsand extraction but very good stats)

National Geographic Article on Transcanada and Canadian Oil Boom (NOT required but super interesting!)


Feb 29: Prospectus DUE -- you will present!

Prospectus should include:

An introductory paragraph about your issue, your essential research question(s), an annotated bibliography of 7 of your 10 sources, and a description of and sources for ALL the government entities that affect your issue (these will certainly be federal government entites but may also be state and/or local).

March 2:

Energy/Environmental Policy

Essential Questions = What current policy principle seems to guide America's approach to the environment? What policy principle should guide the approach America takes towards the enviornment and energy security

Read about on the EPA's "Learn the Issues" website. Peruse the issue you are assigned below and be prepared to report to the class on the policies and principles promoted by the EPA for that issue. Regulatory orIncentive based? Comprehensive orSuperficial? Specific or Vague? etc.

Air = Daniel

Chemicals and Toxins = Spencer

Climate Change = Ben S

Greener Living = Asha

Pesticides = Karam

Waste = Ben P

Water = ALL

Go to the Department of Energy website and learn about energy use and policy in the United States. The US uses considerable sources for energy...learn a bit about each (skim the sections on each different kind of energy) and get some feel for the "International Energy Outlook" -- this is very technical...get a sense of what the major questions are regarding global energy policy (vs. national energy policy).

March 21: Work Day -- discussions of narrative outlines

March 23: Outlines and Introductions due

March 28: Read "Shitty First Drafts"

April 6: First draft due

April 11: Work shop and reader comments due

April 18: 2nd draft due to Dr. Berry

April 25: Receive 2nd draft comments

May 2-4: Course evaluations; presentations; self assessment

May 9: Final Draft due to Dr. Berry