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POLS 121 – Law and Politics; Summer Term 2014 (Course Registration Numer !0""2#
I.The course will begin by surveying the sources of US law; the Constitution’s division of responsibility for lawmaking first between the federal government and the states and then among the branches at the federal level. This initial part of the course will focus first on lawmaking at the federal level including the roles of the Congress the !"ecutive #ranch and the $udiciary. The course will e"amine certain specific sources of law%making power for e"ample the Constitution’s &ecessary and 'roper Clause and the Constitution’s Commerce Clause; as well as certain restrictions on Congress’s law%making powers for e"ample the (irst )mendment’s Speech and *eligion Clauses. The course will ne"t focus  briefly to the lawmaking responsibilities of the states using +ermont as an e"ample. )fter building this foundation the course will illustrate what has been learned by e"amining specific controversial issues of national importance e.g. the legal disputes over ,-bamacare the legal dispute about +ermont’s effort to close the +ermont /ankee nuclear power plant the legal dispute over efforts to enact gun control the legal disputes relating to the regulation of abortions and the legal disputes surrounding efforts to regulate election campaign fundraising and spending. The course will conclude with a discussion of the reasons for and limits of the law and the relationship between ,law and ,0ustice using 1on (uller’s ,The Case of the Speluncean !"plorers 23arvard 1aw *eview 45657 as a stimulus for the discussion. ).The classroom format will be a mi"ture of lecture class discussion8engagementand ,Socratic give%and%take. Students will be e"pected to read the assigned materials prior to class and to participate regularly in class discussions on the assigned readings. )ttendance and class participation will count for 9: of the grade for the course.#.The class readings will be a mi" of te"tbooks and materials I will provide.4.Te"tbook < ,The United States 1egal System= )n Introduction by >argaret ?. $ohns and *e" *. 'erschbacher 2Carolina )cademic 'ress 9d ed. @:4@7 < the e"cerpts to be read are specified below.@.Supplemental te"tbook %% ,>aterials on the United States Constitution by 1ouis Cohen 2unpublished7 < the e"cerpts to be read are specified  below. 9.-ther reading materials are specified below. They will be handed out in class and8or posted on #lackboard.C.In addition students may earn e"tra credit of as much as A by reading one book from the following list 2or a pre%approved book of the student’s choice7 and submitting a 9 page essay discussing it; the essay may be submitted at any time  but no later than 9 days after the final e"am. 4.$ustice Stephen #reyer ,>aking -ur Bemocracy ork@.1inda Dreenhouse ,#ecoming $ustice #lackmun9.$onathan 3arr,) Civil )ction6.$effrey Toobin,The -ath4
A.$ustice Sonia Sotomayor ,>y #eloved orldB.There will be one mid%term and one cumulative final e"am on the dates specified  below. The mid%term will count for 9: of the course grade and the final e"am will count for 6: of the course grade. II.Class Session E4 2(irst Tuesday < >ay @:7).Topics to cover in class4.Introduction to and overview of the course@.-verview of the U.S. Constitution % hat it says about who makes law in the U.S. and how it is made9.-verview of (ederalism < divisions of responsibility under the U.S. Constitution between federal and state governments 6.-verview of Separation of 'owers at the federal level < ,checks and  balancesa7The Congress cannot on its own enact a law nor can the 'resident on his own enact a law b7)rt I sec F Clause @ the 'resentment Clause < a bill must pass  both houses of Congress and then it is ,presented to the 'resident for signaturec7both the Senate and the 3ouse have to pass a law by a ma0ority vote d7Super%ma0ority rules issues < filibusterse7it must then be presented to the 'resident for signature#.*eading4.U.S. Constitution < the 'reamble )rticle I )rticle II and )rticle III@.$ohns8'erschbacher pp. G9%54 2secs. 9%9.@.@79. Cohen= pp. @9%666.*> resource= &ew (ederalist Ch. 4A 2pp. 444%4@47III.Class Session E@ 2(irst ednesday < >ay @47).Topics to cover in class < Congress’s lawmaking powers generally4.)rt. I sec 4 < )ll legislative powers ,herein granted shall be vested in a Congressa7&ote < )rt I does not give the Congress all legislative power only the power ,herein granted@
 McCulloch v. Maryland 
 < held that ,This Hnational government is  one of enumerated powers.  HIJt can e"ercise only the powers granted to it.@.ho can e"ercise the legislative powers not ,herein granted < the statessee )mendment K= ,The powers not delegated to the federal government  by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.9.)rt I sec G < specification of laws within Congresss power a7Ta"ation < ,The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect ta"es  to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States . b7Spending 'ower < ,to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United Statesi7&ote how broad the power is < Congress can appropriate funds for anything it deems related to either defense or the ,general welfareii7The spending power is not limited to uses specifically identified in the Constitutionc7)rt I section 5 % ,&o money shall be drawn from the TreasuryHe"cept throughJ appropriations made by lawi7*ead together sections G and 5 give Congress control over all spending by the US Dovernmentd7&aturaliLation < why was it important to have a uniform national law on thise7#ankruptcy %% dittof7Intellectual property < ditto6.The Commerce Clausea7,To regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States b7The Interstate Commerce Clause has been broadly construed to cover not only transactions that cross state linesc7)ctivities that ,substantially affect interstate commerce even if they do not themselves involve interstate commerce 2
Gibbons v. Ogden
7 < e.g. Congress can enact legislation setting a national minimum wage that applies to what a factory owner in Indiana  pays to his workers in Indiana because the goods manufactured in the factory may be sold across state lines; d7)nd through the ,aggregation principle < which says that Congress has power to legislate under the Interstate Commerce Clause in any situation where the behavior that is the sub0ect of the 9

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