CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

Professor Stearns, Fall 2000

Mondays and Wednesdays

10:00 - 11:50 and 2:00 - 3:50

 

Course Materials and Coverage

We will be using GUNTHER AND SULLIVAN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (13d ed. 1997) and the 2000 Supplement. We will cover most of the materials in chapters 1-10. We will cover approximately 30 to 40 pages per two-hour session, although we will start out more slowly then pick up speed throughout the course.

Assignments

Assignments are listed on the tentative syllabus. For each assignment, you are also responsible for the corresponding coverage in the 2000 supplement, which should be in the bookstore soon.

Attendance

I will take regular and punctual attendance into consideration in determining final grades. In order to ensure a record of your attendance, please be sure to initial the class roster that I will circulate during the first hour of each class. While I generally allow students who on rare occasion arrive a few minutes late to sign in during the break, I reserve the right to prevent students who make a habit of this, or who arrive more than a few minutes late, from doing so. I reserve the right to bar students who have been regularly absent from class, as indicated by the rosters, from taking the final examination.

Grades and Exam Requirements

For most students, the final grades will be based entirely upon the final examination. For students in good attendance, I reserve the right to adjust grades upward by no more than one-half grade to reflect consistently insightful class participation. For students who are consistently demonstrate a lack of adequate preparation or who are in bad attendance, I reserve the right to adjust grades downward by no more than one-half grade. For students who are regularly in bad attendance, I also reserve the right to prevent them from taking the final exam. Please be assured that while I very much dislike exercising this option, it is one that I have been compelled to exercise in the past. I will allow each student two free passes throughout the semester, but, to receive the benefit of the free passes, you must tell me in advance of class in which you wish to use the pass. This can be done by email at mstearns@gmu.edu provided that you send the email at least one hour prior to class (otherwise I might not receive it in a timely fashion), or by coming to the podium at the start of class.

Substituting Classes

Students are free to attend either day sessions to make up occasional missed classes in the event of a conflict without advance permission or notification. If you attend a class session for which you are not on the roster, simply write in your name at the bottom of the attendance sheet when it circulates. If you regularly (meaning more than three times during the semester) plan to attend the sessions for which you are not on the roster, please let me know for planning purposes.

Scheduling: Class Cancellations and Make-ups

The class will not meet during the week of October 23-25. I have not scheduled any make up for these sessions. The schedule for the course is quite tight, however, and, as a result, any cancellations beyond that will require a make up.

Office Hours

Office Hours will be held Mondays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or by appointment. My office telephone number is 993-8059. I can also be reached by email as indicated above.