This course explores the governmental structure, rights, and responsibilities created by the US Constitution and how it is interpreted today. Students apply a critical lens to this document to assess its strengths and weaknesses. Students examine issues of voting, free speech, religion, equal protection, privacy, and criminal procedure to determine the boundaries of safeguarded rights. Students read, listen to, and analyze leading Supreme Court cases and other commentary to develop their conclusions. Current event topics also help to shape the curriculum. Class time centers on student dialogue and debate; all members of the class are expected to contribute actively to discussions. Students participate in local mock trial and moot court competitions and engage in social entrepreneurship projects, identifying social problems and developing ways to effect change. Field trips to the Supreme Court and lower-level courts, as well as a wide range of guest speakers, further enrich students’ understanding of the political system. Through the content of the class, students cultivate their analytical, writing, research, oral advocacy, and collaborative skills and become more informed, thoughtful, and engaged individuals.
Epstein and Walker, Constitutional Law for a Changing America