LAW 105 — Civil Liberties and Rights Guaranteed by the US Constitution
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 13—Jun 1
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 15
Instructor(s): C. William Kircher
When the United States Constitution was adopted, Alexander Hamilton argued that there was no need to include basic rights retained by the people since the new government was itself limited in its powers. Others disagreed, and their insistence led to the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. Few today would agree with Hamilton, and most would regard these protections and others added by later amendments as worth keeping. But Americans disagree, sometimes passionately, as to their proper interpretation and application. In this course, we will examine the history and evolution of constitutionally protected civil liberties and rights, with a focus on how these rights bear on such controversial current issues as campaign finance, union dues, religious liberty, electronic surveillance and searches, immigration, reproductive rights, marriage equality, and affirmative action. We will begin with an overview of the Bill of Rights, and then proceed to examine not only specific rights and certain key cases that have delineated their reach, such as Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade, but also the trade-offs involved when rights conflict with other rights and with other significant public policies and goals. Students will be challenged to critically examine key decisions and to “think like a lawyer” in order to come to their own conclusions as to whether we have perhaps gone too far, or not far enough, in the interpretation and application of our fundamental liberties and rights.
C. William Kircher, AttorneyC. William Kircher’s legal career has included firsthand experience with the interpretation, application, and enforcement of constitutionally protected rights as they shape and constrain the actions of all three branches of government: legislative (as a legislative aide and committee consultant at the California State Senate), executive (as an assistant US attorney with the US Department of Justice), and judicial (as a practicing attorney with an extensive federal and state court trial and appellate practice). Kircher received a JD from Stanford.
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Linda R. Monk, The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide, 5th edition (ISBN 978-0316415606)