fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Catalogues
Now Available
Registration Opens Aug 17
shopping cart icon0

Courses

« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

LAW 02 — The United States Constitution: Principles and Politics

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 22—Dec 1
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Sep 24
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $445
Instructor(s): William H. Simon
Status: Registration opens Aug 17, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 3 and November 24. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Fall
Live Online
Tuesdays
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Sep 22—Dec 1
9 weeks
Drop By
Sep 24
1 Unit
Fees
$445
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Instructor(s):
William H. Simon
Registration opens Aug 17, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 3 and November 24. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Much political conflict in America is rooted in constitutional issues. Constitutional rights to abortion and guns have been central for decades. Problems posed by the threats of terrorism and pandemics have raised questions about the adequacy of our largely eighteenth-century Constitution to address our current realities. And controversies over executive discretion in recent presidential administrations (not only Trump’s) have been framed extensively in constitutional terms. This course will introduce the basic concepts and methods of constitutional doctrine and consider how they play out in current controversies. These concepts include the structure of government, notably federalism, the separation of powers, and the operation of the electoral process. Others concern individual rights in such areas as racial and gender equality, sexual and reproductive autonomy, healthcare, immigration, and national security. We will also consider debates over the manner in which the Constitution should be interpreted and elaborated. In particular, we will explore the positions of Originalists, who insist that the Constitution should be understood as it was by those who enacted it, and Evolutionists, who favor a “living Constitution” that adapts to take account of current understandings and circumstances.

This course covers much of the same material included in the course taught by William H. Simon in 2019 titled "The United States Constitution: An Introduction."

William H. Simon, William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law, Emeritus, Stanford; Arthur Levitt Professor of Law, Emeritus, Columbia

William H. Simon has taught at Stanford since 1981 and at Columbia since 2001, and also at Harvard and UC Berkeley.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)