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Constitutional Interpretation (Berman)
Fall 2019   LAW 946-401  

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Meeting Times/Location
W 4:30PM - 6:30PM
Silverman Hall 270

Mitchell Berman

Leon Meltzer Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy

Additional Information

100% Paper

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor



This seminar will examine leading academic theories of constitutional interpretation, starting with classic texts by (for illustration) Thayer, Wechsler, Ely, Bobbitt, Dworkin, and Scalia, and emphasizing current debates within originalism and between originalists and their critics. It will also examine current work by the instructor. While the focus will be on American constitutional interpretation, we will see how that literature is currently running up against, and possibly contributing to, more “philosophical” or “jurisprudential” accounts of the contents of law.

Consistent with the nature of the material, the reading load is likely to be heavier and more demanding than in the average seminar. Students will be expected to read the assigned material carefully and to participate actively in class discussions; they will have the option of submitting either a single research paper or several shorter papers.

Course Concentrations

Constitutional Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of constitutional law; Perform legal analysis in the context of constitutional law; Communicate effectively on topics related to constitutional law; Demonstrate an understanding of constitutional law affects other areas of law.