Political Science 410

Constitutional Law I

Spring 2009


Paula J. Lundberg, Visiting Asst. Professor††††††† Office:Zulauf 107††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Plundberg1066@aol.com††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Office Hours:T&Th 8:45-9:30,

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 12:30-1:30

Telephone 815.753.1014†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Class: DU 461, T&Th 9:30


Text:Craig R. Ducat, Constitutional Interpretation, ninth edition


Course Overview

This is the first of three courses that the department offers which involve the study of the impact of decisions by the United States Supreme Court in constitutional cases.POLS 410 begins with the Courtís assumption of the power of judicial review and the institutional constraints on the exercise of judicial power.We will then examine the ways the court has dealt with cases concerning the two other coordinate branches.Federalism issues will occupy the last third of the course and we will conclude with a study of the Courtís decisions regarding property rights and economic issues.

Course Goals

This course is difficult.There are no pictures in the casebook and very few charts.The pages are covered with closely spaced words, some of which you wonít immediately understand.To do well you must read the assigned pages before class, and to do really well you need to be able to dissect a case to extract the legal meaning and be able to trace the development of a legal theory through a series of related cases.Apart from discussions of the political implications of the cases we are studying, this class will run very much like a class you would encounter in law school except at a slightly slower pace.That being said, I do not expect you to be law students, just motivated students.At the conclusion of this class you should understand how to read and brief cases.I will explain in class the most efficient way of doing this.You will also have a pretty firm grasp on how and why the court has come to its decisions in cases regarding the executive and legislative branches. In addition to understanding how the court works, your understanding of the quasi-judicial powers of these coordinate branches will be greatly increased. You should also have a much greater understanding of the ebb and flow of the balance between state and national power in a federal system.

Course Requirements

Your grade in this course will be based on class participation, two in-class tests and the final.


The final grade will be calculated using the following formula.


Test I Ė 25%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††Grading Scale

Test II- 25%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 90-100= A

Final Ė 35%††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 80-89=B

Class Participation- 15%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 70-79=C

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 60-69=D

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Below 60=F


Attendance will be taken and more than one unexcused absence will affect the class participation portion of the grade.All absences after the first one will be looked at as unexcused unless believable evidence is presented to prove the contrary.What constitutes believable evidence is at the instructorís discretion. See paragraph below in Other Information. A seating chart will be made the second class meeting

The two in-class tests and the final will be subjective in nature and will consist of 8-12 short essay questions. The final will be cumulative and will follow the same format.The questions from earlier tests repeated on the final will be those which the class as a whole has struggled with and will be strongly hinted at during the final review.


Other Information

This is an upper level class so I am sure that I donít need to remind anyone about how to behave in a college class or about the consequences of cheating.I started out my working career as a public defender in Cook County and I have heard just about every excuse ever proffered for poor performance so please donít try it on me.If you have a genuine problem, come and see me or talk to me before or after class.I absolutely abhor giving make-up exams so if you know in advance you cannot be at the exam, talk to me ahead of time and I will be happy to accommodate you.


Course Material and Dates


January 13:†† Course introduction, briefing a case, etc.

January 15&20:†† Text:pp.3-11, 14-48 Judicial Review and Justiciability

January 22&27:Text: pp. 48-74, 103-127 Justiciability concluded, Leg. Power

January 29& Feb. 3:Text: pp. 127-167 Leg. Power contíd

February 5:Text pp. 127-167 Leg. Power concluded

February 10:†† FIRST EXAM

February 12&17:Text pp. 168-228 Executive Power

February 19&24:Text pp. 228- 266 Executive Power concluded

February 26& March 3:Text pp 267-296 Powers of National Govít in a Federal System

March 5& 17:Text pp. 296-339 Powers of National Govít contíd

March 19:Text: pp. 340-361 Powers of National Govít concluded


March 26&31:Text pp. 362-409 Regulatory Power of States

April 2& 7:Text pp. 362-409 Reg. Power of States

April 9&14: Text pp. 410-440 Prop. Rights and Economic Liberties

April 16&21:Text pp. 440-469 Prop Rights and Econ. Liberties

April 23&28 Text pp. 440-469 Prop Rights and Econ. Liberties

April 30:Review for Final

May 7:Final Exam 10:00 A.M.



Statements Concerning Students with Disabilities

Under Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building.CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors.It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

Department of Political Science Web Site

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities.Web address is http://polisci.niu.edu


Undergraduate Writing Awards

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science classes or directed studies.Authors do not have to be Political Science majors or have a particular class standing.Winners are expected to attend the Departmentís spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00.Papers, which can be submitted by the student or by a faculty member, must be supplied in triplicate to a dept. secretary by February 28.All copies should have two cover pages-one with the studentís name and one without the studentís name.Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.Papers completed in the spring semester, however, are eligible for the following yearís competition even if the student has graduated.