SST 318   Constitutional Law


Alan Sussman





Mon    9:30 – 11:50 am  Olin 202         


Social Science

Cross-listed: American Studies

This course focuses on the legal boundaries between individual autonomy and state control. These boundaries are never static, however, as the Constitution is an organic document, subject to continual contextualization by external events and periodic interpretation by the Supreme Court. Topics of study include the nature and limits of freedom of speech (including advocacy of crime, defamation, obscenity, flag burning, hate speech and student protest) and religion (objection to military service, drug use), complex questions of equal protection (segregation, affirmative action, gender discrimination), personal intimacy and privacy (sexual autonomy, family privacy, the “right to die”), due process in criminal law (search and seizure, confession, cruel and unusual punishment), and post-9/11 legal developments in the current dispute between national security and civil liberties. Landmark Supreme Court cases and opinions will be examined, requiring the student to consider the process of legal reasoning and the Court’s reliance upon or deviation from prior legal authority. Relevant commentaries and historical documents will be read and discussed as well.  On-line registration