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POL 321: Constitutional Law

Course Description

This course will focus on a general overview of the Constitution, with a special focus on certain Amendments that have a profound effect on current day America. This will include the First Amendment's protection of free speech, religion and press, the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, the Sixth Amendment's Rights of the Accused, and the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment provision. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Recall The Bill of Rights of The US Constitution.
  2. Translate the knowledge gained in studying the US Constitution into the new context of rewriting parts of the document.
  3. Predict the consequences of potential new Amendments or differently worded parts to the Constitution.
  4. Use concepts and theories related to Constitutional interpretation to concretely apply in discussions related to editing the Constitution.
  5. Recognize hidden meanings in the US Constitution to interpret what the Framers intended in their original writings.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsWeight

Weekly Learning Activities (Weeks 1-7)

50%

Weekly Discussions Board Postings (Weeks 1-8)

30%

Final Report (Week 8)

20%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through Charter Oak’s online bookstore)

  • Sabato, Larry J. A More Perfect Constitution. Walker & Company, 2007. ISBN-10: 0-8027-1683-0 or ISBN-13: 978-0-8027-1683-5

Additional Resources

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1, 3, 4

Topics: Should we have a Constitutional Convention?

  • Readings:
    • Overview of the US Constitution
    • A More Perfect Constitution, pps. 1-18. 233-256; special focus on The Bill of Rights, pps. 246-247
    • The U.S. Constitution
    • Marbury v. Madison (found in Week 1 Resources folder)
    • The Background and Significance of Marbury v. Madison (found in Week 1 Resources folder.)
    • McCulloch v. Maryland
  • Read assigned sections
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Threaded Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

2

2-5

Topics: Term Limits related to the Presidency and the Congress

  • Readings:
    • A More Perfect Constitution, Chapter 1, pp. 41-53; Chapter 2, pp. 76-96
    • Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution
  • Read assigned sections
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Threaded Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

3

1-5

Topic: Clarifying the Bill of Rights: Shall we revise the language of the 2nd Amendment in order to provide clarity on the right to bear arms?

  • Readings:
    • A More Perfect Constitution, pp. 246-247
    • Theories of Constitutional Interpretation (found in the Week 3 Resources folder)
    • Does Constitutional Theory Matter? (found in the Week 3 Resources folder)
    • Student research for selected readings on the 2nd Amendment
  • Read assigned sections, articles and cases
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Discussions
  • Research material to support your position on the 2nd Amendment
  • Review the Lecture material

4

5

Topic: Clarifying the Bill of Rights:  Shall we revise the language of the 8th Amendment to provide clarity on the death penalty?

  • Readings:
    • A More Perfect Constitution, pp. 246-247
    • Separation of Powers (found in the Week 4 Resources folder)
    • U.S. v. Nixon or Clinton v. Jones
    • Student Research for selected readings on the 8th Amendment
  • Read assigned sections
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Discussions
  • Research material to support your position on the 8th Amendment
  • Review the Lecture material

5

2-5

Topic:  Shall we amend or remove The Electoral College?

  • Readings:
    • A More Perfect Constitution, pps.134-152
    • Korematsu v. United States (found in the Week 5 Resources Folder)
    • University of California v. Bakke
    • United States v. Virginia (VMI) (1996)
  • Read assigned sections
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Threaded Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

6

2-5

Topic: A Call For National Service

    • Readings:
        • A More Perfect Constitution, Chapter 5
  • Read assigned sections
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Threaded Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

7

2-5

Topic: What are the most important changes that should be made to the Constitution?

  • Readings:
    • A More Perfect Constitution, pps. 179-197
    • 23 Proposals to Revitalize the Constitution (found in the Week 7 Resources folder)
  • Video:
    • Sabator’s comments on the Constitutional Convention (found in the Week 7 Resources folder)
  • Read assigned sections
  • View the video
  • Participate in the assigned Learning Activities and Threaded Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

8

1-5

Topics: Conclusion and Final Paper

  • Readings: None
  • Participate in the Threaded Discussions
  • Submit Final Paper

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.