Desert Fox wrote:Make sure you know the case that is the current "good law." For commerce you only need to know Lopez and Raich for example. All the law before that is pretty much irrelevant. So don't waste your time learning old cases that you can't even use to make a point.
Did you read getting to maybe? I'm pretty sure just knowing how to take the exam puts you past a huge chunk of your class.
I would add United States v. Morrison since Lopez leaves some possibilities open that are explicitly foreclosed in Morrison and not really handled in Raich. Plus it depends on your professor. Some professors cream themselves if you can point out how the law has evolved and how it might revert if the court's style changes in a certain way. For example in my class we covered:
Champion v. Ames,
Hammer v. Dagenhart,
NLRB v. Jones & McLaughlin Steel Corp.,
United States v. Darby,
Wickard v. Filburn,
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States,
Katzenbach v. McClung and Notes,
United States v. Lopez,
US v. Morrison,
Raich v. Gonzalez
A good answer would discuss how the last 3 cases might guide us to understand if a law is a legitimate exercise of commerce clause power, but the answer that would get an A would inevitably bring out past interpretations of the CC. After all if the clause was once interpreted narrowly, then broadly, and now more narrowly, wouldn't it be sensible to suggest as part of your answer that the law might shift back to a more broad interpretation urged by the dissents in Morrison?
So naturally the great answers might talk about how a given law would have been seen as Constitutional under Katzenbach or even Champion and a shift in court membership might push the Constitutional jurisprudence in that direction, along with the usual discussion about the modern CC cases.
romothesavior wrote:Are you saying that knowing how to take an exam doesn't put you past a huge chunk of your class? I mean, know you've said some dumb things on TLS before and taken some flak for it, but this takes the cake. Being able to properly organize an answer, write clearly and concisely, and write a metric shit ton is incredibly important. So, so many people can't write law school exams or communicate their answers in ways that rack up points.
I think knowing how to write an exam keeps you out of B- range and will make even B's a rare occasion. After last semester and seeing model answers for this semester I have a new-found appreciation for just how arbitrary bad professors can be. For my upcoming Property exam, the Professor is a former CLS dean and is Director of the American Law Institute. He's smart, but he's clearly in retirement - I don't give a fuck - mode. Roughly half of class time is listening to his (non-property) stories and other excuses for him to name-drop like there's no tomorrow.
The first thing his TA's told us during the exam review was that the grading would be unpredictable and often arbitrary. The model answers read more like grocery lists containing property law summaries, and there was almost none of the style that is advocated by Getting to Maybe
. While GTM encourages exploring and discussing BOTH SIDES of a fork and then reasoning to favor one side over the other, this prof was more than happy to conclude "the other side's stupid, ignore it!"
So in retrospect, I'd say GTM is best if you don't have access to some of your professor's model answers or you can't discern any useful answer patterns from the model answers. Some good professors will emphasize the style advocated by GTM by writing questions with "close" answers that could come out either way, not expressing a grade preference for the answer but rather the reasoning used to reach it, etc... but others won't and individual practice with a professor's material will probably give you a better sense of how to write a good answer than reading GTM.