Advanced Constitutional Law Seminar

Credit Hours: 2

This seminar will: (1) cover constitutional questions that frequently arise in (especially commercial) litigation but often fall into the cracks between Constitutional Law I, Federal Courts, Legislation & Statutory Interpretation, and Administrative Law; and (2) probe those questions to introduce students to (constitutional) litigation strategy, as distinct from both writing skills and high-level doctrine. Subjects include federal preemption; constitutional canons (e.g., non-delegation) in statutory litigation; the dormant Commerce Clause; and the often vexing–and routinely ignored–interplay between these and related doctrines. “Strategy” questions include the ins and outs of appellate litigation but also the economics of appellate lit; client and forum selection; coalition-building and amicus management; and certiorari issues. The seminar requires an inordinate amount of reading unedited briefs and opinions. (Cutting through clutter is itself a valuable skill.) Course requirements include a final paper (20-30 pages) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor, and written submission of two questions about the readings for each session, due two days prior to the session.