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LAW 740 Alabama Constitutional Law


Albert P. Brewer 304 Robinson Hall

Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00 A.M. - 12:00 Noon and by Appointment

Required text:

Brewer and Cole: Alabama Constitutional Law (2nd ed.) Samford University (1997)

Course objective:

To give students a basic understanding of the Alabama Constitution, its construction, interpretation and application.

Method of instruction:

Seminar setting using selected cases illustrative of provisions of the state constitution; extensive class discussion; and a research project applying constitutional provisions and principles to a specific topic.

Course requirements:


satisfactory attendance and participation in class discussions; completion of outside assignments; satisfactory completion of research paper on approved topic; presentation to the class ofresearch topic.

2. 3.



There will be no final examination; the final course grade will be determined according to the attached grade guide.


Grades for this course will be determined in accord with the criteria set out on the attached grade sheet. There will be no final examination. Each student will prepare a research paper which should have the following characteristics: (1) The paper should contain a title page, table of contents, introduction and bibliography; The introduction should set out the scope of the paper and the methodology of presentation; The substance of the paper should follow the outline established in the introduction, offering, where appropriate, the seminal case or cases, evolutionary cases, trends, and the most recent case or cases; A conclusion or summary of conclusions, designated as such, which shall be a distinct part of the paper; Read all Alabama cases on point and include the cases in your bibliography even if the cases are not used in your paper; Include federal cases if they amplify specific sections of the Alabama Constitution.






Each student will select a research topic (to be approved by the professor) which should be developed using treatises, law review articles, encyclopedic works, cases, statutes and any other appropriate materials, as well as consultations with persons working and/or practicing in the topical area. Be certain to reference the treatises, law review articles, etc. in your bibliography. Topic selection is very important. The topic must be narrow enough to be adequately treated. The topic can be narrowed if necessary after the student begins research and/or writing. The student shall use the most recent edition of the Uniform System of Citation for citation purposes. It will assist the student if full and correct citation references are made as the research is developed.

Be aware of the difference between primary and secondary material. Consult the original! (Secondary material is sometimes misleading.) Be creative in the research and writing process. After becoming saturated in the subject matter reflect upon what you have developed and where the material appears to be evolving. Use an outline in developing your material; proceed to a first draft and refine that draft for clarity and improved composition. Quoted material should be noted as such with correct citation. The use of footnotes is encouraged when appropriate. The following schedule should be observed with regard to the research paper: (1) (2) The topic must be submitted for approval on or before January 23; The detailed outline of the topic coverage shall be submitted on or before February 13. Outlines will be returned promptly to students with comments and suggestions; Each student will make an oral presentation of the research topic to the class. A brief summary of the research paper will be turned in the class period before such is to be presented to the class with sufficient copies of the summary for distribution to the members of the class; The completed research paper will be due on April 24, 2001.

(3) (4)


The following are suggested topics: 1. 2. 3. Sovereign Immunity in Alabama Current status of Batson in Alabama Examples where Alabama's Constitution grants greater rights than the U.S. Constitution Evolution of the "intermediate" standard of review in Alabama Inverse condemnation - what is a "taking" and what is the remedy?

4. 5.


Constitutionality of Alabama's drive-by shooting death penalty statute

7. 8.

Legislative immunity in Alabama Separation of powers - effect of constitutional amendment requiring legislative approval of court orders for the payment of public funds Does Alabama's Constitution afford equal protection guarantees to Alabama citizens? The constitutionality of Alabama's statute authorizing a court to grant grandparents visitation rights with children whose parents are divorced Due Process rights of professionals before disciplinary boards Constitutional Revision in Alabama (historical perspective) Constitutional Revision in Alabama (methodology) State Immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution Addressing Alabama's regressive tax system Avoiding the prohibitions of Section 93 of the Alabama Constitution Judicial override in death penalty cases Effective assistance of counsel under the Alabama Constitution Constitutionality of Canon 7, Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics



11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Grade Sheet for Alabama Constitutional Law

Student's name: Paper topic:

Maximum points Overall organization Writing style & composition Authorities, comprehensiveness Formality of citations Substance, analysis and presentation of topic Oral presentation of research paper Class participation and attendance 15 15


30 15


Grade scale


90- 93 87- 89 84- 86


80- 83
7570656155079 74 69 64 60 54