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Constitutional Interpretation (Berman)
Fall 2020   LAW 946-401  

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Meeting Times/Location
W 4:30PM - 6:30PM
Silverman Hall 240A

Faculty
Mitchell Berman

Leon Meltzer Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy

mitchberman@law.upenn.edu
Additional Information

Skills Training
Expository Writing

Grading
15% Participation,
85% Paper

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor

Location

Class meets in person.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- If you are absent, due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can ask for volunteers among your classmates to share their notes with you.

Category
Seminar

Credits
3.0

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.

Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.