I dont understand con law..

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Eco
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Eco » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Con Law should be optional.

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vanwinkle
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:55 pm

Eco wrote:Con Law should be optional.

At some schools it is now, which made me go :shock: .

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goosey
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goosey » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:07 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Eco wrote:Con Law should be optional.

At some schools it is now, which made me go :shock: .



wow i so wish.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:45 pm

Currently reading Con Law. Totally lost. Am I supposed to memorize every section of every article or something because they casually mention random section of articles in each case and I dont remember off the top of my head what each is. I know Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Plecy v Ferguson, etc. should be much more interesting than the stuff we are doing now but this stuff is just rough right now. ABSOLUTELY LOST.

StudentAthlete
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby StudentAthlete » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:47 pm

It gets exponentially easier toward the 2nd part of con law. The first part is primarily separation of powers/ war powers/ and the dreaded commerce clause.. but things get better so just hang in there

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quakeroats
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:40 pm

StudentAthlete wrote:It gets exponentially easier toward the 2nd part of con law. The first part is primarily separation of powers/ war powers/ and the dreaded commerce clause.. but things get better so just hang in there


If by better you mean easier, things should actually get harder. Parents Involved, VMI, Carhart II and pretty much anything else on abortion/sexuality/race that Kennedy's written are very difficult. You can't get through half their nuances in a year much less a few weeks in a semester.

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uwb09
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby uwb09 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:22 pm


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quakeroats
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:08 pm

uwb09 wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VESzLBqx7KY

/thread


This is consistent with my understanding of UVA students.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:23 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Eco wrote:Con Law should be optional.

At some schools it is now, which made me go :shock: .

It's a trap!

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A'nold
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Re: I dont understand con law...

Postby A'nold » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:59 pm

quakeroats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
abudaba wrote:Dumb question perhaps but..

While I understand it is early in the course, my understanding of the material seems foggy. Our first day assignment was to read the Constitution in its entirety, and while I did the assignment, I didnt go through it painstakingly to get a solid grasp. I wonder if this may be causing the issues?

In other words, is it necessary to read and understand or even memorize the Constitution itself before going through the class or will it all come with time?

No. One interesting feature of Con Law is how much work a small number of clauses do. Most of your course will probably focus on the commerce clause and the 5th/14th amendments which you can read in under a minute.

This.

Reading the Constitution, I think, is most educational for forcing you to recognize what it doesn't say than what it does say. For example, it doesn't explicitly say anything about a fundamental right to privacy at all. What you'll do over the course of the semester is read cases (like Griswold, which did find a right to privacy in its interpretation of the Constitution) and have to understand how that came about. The first part of that understanding is just realizing how little the Constitution actually says, and by corollary, how much of "constitutional law" is what the justices say about the Constitution rather than the Constitution itself.

So think of it that way. You read the Constitution to understand how little it says. Now you know to pay attention to the fact that most of the cases in the class are gap-filling, and the different approaches are really just different theories about how to fill in the gaps. That's the core of what Con Law is. Think of it as a study of the different theories of interpretation and gap-filling, and you'll understand what you're supposed to be looking for all semester long.


Kind of, but a few issues:

Privacy is a bad example because it's essentially dead letter. It was largely Douglas' distaste for liberty-clause Substantive Due Process that gave us the right to privacy. Modern decisions just go the liberty-clause route and leave privacy for rhetorical points and non-lawyer discussions. Jamal Greene has a good piece on this: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1456026

As for the rest, I'd say it isn't so much gap-filling as interpreting what purposefully broad language means. For example:

Article I Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To... provide for the... general Welfare of the United States.
To regulate Commerce... among the several states
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution... all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States

9th
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

14th
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

What is the general welfare and how does one provide for it? What is commerce and what constitutes regulation? What types of law are necessary and proper for powers vested by the Constitution? Is the 9th Amendment nearly useless or clear justification for an expansive fundamental rights jurisprudence? What is a privilege of citizenship? An immunity? If this clause wasn't correctly interpreted in 1873 can we simply clause shift its meaning to the liberty clause while leaving P or I to protect only travel? Is equal protection "the usual last resort of constitutional arguments," a prescription for equal outcomes across broad classes, or something in between?


So, vanwinkle broke it down into terms the average student could easily understand and then you had to go try to make it academic and convoluted huh? That's the opposite of what op needs, it seems to me.

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quakeroats
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Re: I dont understand con law...

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:18 am

A'nold wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
While I understand it is early in the course, my understanding of the material seems foggy. Our first day assignment was to read the Constitution in its entirety, and while I did the assignment, I didnt go through it painstakingly to get a solid grasp. I wonder if this may be causing the issues?

In other words, is it necessary to read and understand or even memorize the Constitution itself before going through the class or will it all come with time?

No. One interesting feature of Con Law is how much work a small number of clauses do. Most of your course will probably focus on the commerce clause and the 5th/14th amendments which you can read in under a minute.
This.

Reading the Constitution, I think, is most educational for forcing you to recognize what it doesn't say than what it does say. For example, it doesn't explicitly say anything about a fundamental right to privacy at all. What you'll do over the course of the semester is read cases (like Griswold, which did find a right to privacy in its interpretation of the Constitution) and have to understand how that came about. The first part of that understanding is just realizing how little the Constitution actually says, and by corollary, how much of "constitutional law" is what the justices say about the Constitution rather than the Constitution itself.

So think of it that way. You read the Constitution to understand how little it says. Now you know to pay attention to the fact that most of the cases in the class are gap-filling, and the different approaches are really just different theories about how to fill in the gaps. That's the core of what Con Law is. Think of it as a study of the different theories of interpretation and gap-filling, and you'll understand what you're supposed to be looking for all semester long.


Kind of, but a few issues:

Privacy is a bad example because it's essentially dead letter. It was largely Douglas' distaste for liberty-clause Substantive Due Process that gave us the right to privacy. Modern decisions just go the liberty-clause route and leave privacy for rhetorical points and non-lawyer discussions. Jamal Greene has a good piece on this: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1456026

As for the rest, I'd say it isn't so much gap-filling as interpreting what purposefully broad language means. For example:

Article I Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To... provide for the... general Welfare of the United States.
To regulate Commerce... among the several states
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution... all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States

9th
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

14th
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

What is the general welfare and how does one provide for it? What is commerce and what constitutes regulation? What types of law are necessary and proper for powers vested by the Constitution? Is the 9th Amendment nearly useless or clear justification for an expansive fundamental rights jurisprudence? What is a privilege of citizenship? An immunity? If this clause wasn't correctly interpreted in 1873 can we simply clause shift its meaning to the liberty clause while leaving P or I to protect only travel? Is equal protection "the usual last resort of constitutional arguments," a prescription for equal outcomes across broad classes, or something in between?


So, vanwinkle broke it down into terms the average student could easily understand and then you had to go try to make it academic and convoluted huh? That's the opposite of what op needs, it seems to me.


lol. You've got a point, but OP has a better shot at doing well if he goes my route. It's still--sadly in my estimation--prof specific, so he could get someone who just does one long commerce hypo and calls it a day. Con Law profs tend to be pretty good about not doing that, if everyone who teaches Con Law at my school and a number of others I've read elsewhere any indication.

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A'nold
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Re: I dont understand con law...

Postby A'nold » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:59 am

A'nold wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
quakeroats wrote:

No. One interesting feature of Con Law is how much work a small number of clauses do. Most of your course will probably focus on the commerce clause and the 5th/14th amendments which you can read in under a minute.
This.

Reading the Constitution, I think, is most educational for forcing you to recognize what it doesn't say than what it does say. For example, it doesn't explicitly say anything about a fundamental right to privacy at all. What you'll do over the course of the semester is read cases (like Griswold, which did find a right to privacy in its interpretation of the Constitution) and have to understand how that came about. The first part of that understanding is just realizing how little the Constitution actually says, and by corollary, how much of "constitutional law" is what the justices say about the Constitution rather than the Constitution itself.

So think of it that way. You read the Constitution to understand how little it says. Now you know to pay attention to the fact that most of the cases in the class are gap-filling, and the different approaches are really just different theories about how to fill in the gaps. That's the core of what Con Law is. Think of it as a study of the different theories of interpretation and gap-filling, and you'll understand what you're supposed to be looking for all semester long.


Kind of, but a few issues:

Privacy is a bad example because it's essentially dead letter. It was largely Douglas' distaste for liberty-clause Substantive Due Process that gave us the right to privacy. Modern decisions just go the liberty-clause route and leave privacy for rhetorical points and non-lawyer discussions. Jamal Greene has a good piece on this: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1456026

As for the rest, I'd say it isn't so much gap-filling as interpreting what purposefully broad language means. For example:

Article I Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To... provide for the... general Welfare of the United States.
To regulate Commerce... among the several states
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution... all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States

9th
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

14th
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

What is the general welfare and how does one provide for it? What is commerce and what constitutes regulation? What types of law are necessary and proper for powers vested by the Constitution? Is the 9th Amendment nearly useless or clear justification for an expansive fundamental rights jurisprudence? What is a privilege of citizenship? An immunity? If this clause wasn't correctly interpreted in 1873 can we simply clause shift its meaning to the liberty clause while leaving P or I to protect only travel? Is equal protection "the usual last resort of constitutional arguments," a prescription for equal outcomes across broad classes, or something in between?


So, vanwinkle broke it down into terms the average student could easily understand and then you had to go try to make it academic and convoluted huh? That's the opposite of what op needs, it seems to me.


lol. You've got a point, but OP has a better shot at doing well if he goes my route. It's still--sadly in my estimation--prof specific, so he could get someone who just does one long commerce hypo and calls it a day. Con Law profs tend to be pretty good about not doing that, if everyone who teaches Con Law at my school and a number of others I've read elsewhere any indication.


Thank you for taking my post lightly, as that was how it was intended (I was going to put a winky smiley but thought, "meh"). :)

StudentAthlete
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby StudentAthlete » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:45 pm

quakeroats wrote:
StudentAthlete wrote:It gets exponentially easier toward the 2nd part of con law. The first part is primarily separation of powers/ war powers/ and the dreaded commerce clause.. but things get better so just hang in there


If by better you mean easier, things should actually get harder. Parents Involved, VMI, Carhart II and pretty much anything else on abortion/sexuality/race that Kennedy's written are very difficult. You can't get through half their nuances in a year much less a few weeks in a semester.



I thought it was a lot easier primarily because it was much more interesting- not to mention there are far less cases from 1810 (such as gibbons... marbury... peck.. and all that crap)

CLAIRTY

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goosey
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goosey » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:03 pm

yes, we're on marbury, gibbons, etc...

I am at least now starting to comprehend what I read. I guess I still dont understand how its law though..like are there actual rules I should be taking away from these cases? I know iwth marbury it basically establishes judicial review, but like we read thomas jefferson's veto rant and I am like "what the hell do I do with all this?" still seems like a history class.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:24 pm

I simply dont see the forest yet. I understand the cases well enough, but I dont see how they connect with eachother and already forgot some cases from last week.

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quakeroats
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:27 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:I simply dont see the forest yet. I understand the cases well enough, but I dont see how they connect with eachother and already forgot some cases from last week.


Let me put it this way, you won't use Constitutional cases before 1900 very often on a Con Law exam.

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vanwinkle
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:30 pm

goosey wrote:yes, we're on marbury, gibbons, etc...

I am at least now starting to comprehend what I read. I guess I still dont understand how its law though..like are there actual rules I should be taking away from these cases? I know iwth marbury it basically establishes judicial review, but like we read thomas jefferson's veto rant and I am like "what the hell do I do with all this?" still seems like a history class.

A lot of professors love to focus on the history. At the end of the day, it's still about the law. There are different possible answers to the question of who gets to decide what the Constitution means. Thomas Jefferson and others argued very loudly for other types of systems, and Marbury v. Madison stands for the proposition that the Supreme Court gets to. So there's two important things to take away there:

1) The way the Constitution is currently interpreted isn't the only way it could have been. (Kinda obvious to some but not all.)
2) Judicial review exists because Marbury v. Madison says it does; lots of other things in the class will follow this same principle, that things exist because the Court says it does.

These are very basic things. Most of the history is just there to "illuminate" them. It'll get heavier as the course goes on, but just like 1L fall, these classes can start too slow and then ramp way the hell up down the road.

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quakeroats
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:58 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
goosey wrote:yes, we're on marbury, gibbons, etc...

I am at least now starting to comprehend what I read. I guess I still dont understand how its law though..like are there actual rules I should be taking away from these cases? I know iwth marbury it basically establishes judicial review, but like we read thomas jefferson's veto rant and I am like "what the hell do I do with all this?" still seems like a history class.

A lot of professors love to focus on the history. At the end of the day, it's still about the law. There are different possible answers to the question of who gets to decide what the Constitution means. Thomas Jefferson and others argued very loudly for other types of systems, and Marbury v. Madison stands for the proposition that the Supreme Court gets to. So there's two important things to take away there:

1) The way the Constitution is currently interpreted isn't the only way it could have been. (Kinda obvious to some but not all.)
2) Judicial review exists because Marbury v. Madison says it does; lots of other things in the class will follow this same principle, that things exist because the Court says it does.

These are very basic things. Most of the history is just there to "illuminate" them. It'll get heavier as the course goes on, but just like 1L fall, these classes can start too slow and then ramp way the hell up down the road.


Another point that should be driven home is that the Court has no actual power--it can't dispatch the police or the military to enforce its will nor can it cut funding or really much of anything else. It depends on the other branches to enforce its decisions and if they don't want to, there isn't a whole lot the Court can do about it. What I find interesting about the arrangement is how infrequently the court is completely ignored. Marbury is great, in part, because it helped structure this state of affairs. Had Marshall demanded that Madison deliver Marbury's commission, he would have been ignored and the Court's power may have never recovered.

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goosey
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goosey » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:26 pm

quakeroats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
goosey wrote:yes, we're on marbury, gibbons, etc...

I am at least now starting to comprehend what I read. I guess I still dont understand how its law though..like are there actual rules I should be taking away from these cases? I know iwth marbury it basically establishes judicial review, but like we read thomas jefferson's veto rant and I am like "what the hell do I do with all this?" still seems like a history class.

A lot of professors love to focus on the history. At the end of the day, it's still about the law. There are different possible answers to the question of who gets to decide what the Constitution means. Thomas Jefferson and others argued very loudly for other types of systems, and Marbury v. Madison stands for the proposition that the Supreme Court gets to. So there's two important things to take away there:

1) The way the Constitution is currently interpreted isn't the only way it could have been. (Kinda obvious to some but not all.)
2) Judicial review exists because Marbury v. Madison says it does; lots of other things in the class will follow this same principle, that things exist because the Court says it does.

These are very basic things. Most of the history is just there to "illuminate" them. It'll get heavier as the course goes on, but just like 1L fall, these classes can start too slow and then ramp way the hell up down the road.


Another point that should be driven home is that the Court has no actual power--it can't dispatch the police or the military to enforce its will nor can it cut funding or really much of anything else. It depends on the other branches to enforce its decisions and if they don't want to, there isn't a whole lot the Court can do about it. What I find interesting about the arrangement is how infrequently the court is completely ignored. Marbury is great, in part, because it helped structure this state of affairs. Had Marshall demanded that Madison deliver Marbury's commission, he would have been ignored and the Court's power may have never recovered.


thanks to both: very helpful posts.

In terms of the court not having any actual power to enforce, I kind of thought about that with Marbury too---it seems like a saving face kind of decision and at the same time two steps fwd one step back in order to accomplish what he wanted to do and not draw too much attn.

btw, my con law professor is front-loading the work in this class so we have about a gazillion pages to read every week. maybe i will love him for it when the brief rolls around, but for now..not so much :evil:

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uzpakalis
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby uzpakalis » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:30 pm

Could anyone clarify the difference between the privileges and immunities clause IV and the privileges or immunities clause 14th Amendment?

In what situation would you use each?

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Veyron
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Veyron » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:43 pm

uzpakalis wrote:Could anyone clarify the difference between the privileges and immunities clause IV and the privileges or immunities clause 14th Amendment?

In what situation would you use each?


They have been interpreted to be essentially the same now.

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Cade McNown
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cade McNown » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:28 am

Bump for 1L feeling the same way...

OP I'd be curious to know how con law turned out for you. Did it click at some point? And were the early cases a la Marbury less significant than the subsequent material as some posters suggested?

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alicrimson
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby alicrimson » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:39 pm

Thank you to everyone offering advice. I too am attempting to slay the Con Law dragon armed with only my general apathy towards politics (I still vote though, thank you very much :lol: ) and my wonderful Chemerinsky supplement/textbook. I don't see the forest yet but the supplement does help and thinking about the cases in terms of theories for application/interpretation rather than the more concrete elemental rules of a torts or criminal law class.

BeachandRun23
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby BeachandRun23 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:47 pm

It'll get more interesting, you're reading stuff from so long ago. Times were different and the writing style is more difficult to understand. Present day stuff will probably be easier to understand.

goodolgil
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goodolgil » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:51 pm

quakeroats wrote:
goosey wrote:I have always hated history and I really dislike con law--I can't understand the cases, I cant get through the reading, I have no idea what the hell is going on.

I don't understand how this is a law school class...it feels like a history class.

please tell me this will change as the semester progresses :?


It will depend heavily on your professor. Con Law can and probably should be the most difficult course you take before Federal Courts. It isn't primarily history, but that's because it isn't primarily any one thing. It's history, common law, social policy, politics, statutory interpretation, constitutional analysis, analysis of individual justice's jurisprudence, analysis of the Court's role in government and society, etc. It's by far the most intellectually satisfying of the first-year courses--where else do you have to keep more than four opinions, all arguing as if they read a different set of briefs, straight--but that's probably an issue if intellectual satisfaction isn't a priority. I'd recommend Chemerinsky's supplement. It will distill many of the difficult issues, but a lot depends on your prof. If he's worth his salt, he'll make things difficult enough that purely reading the supplement won't help much. Con Law involves some of the deepest questions our society faces, and really grappling with them requires a lot of effort.


How did/has no one called QO for posting crap like the bolded a week or so into his second semester of 1L? On that note, whatever is the "hardest" clause depends on your background and skillset. I was a history major and I'm a close follower of politics, so I found con law to be one of the easiest 1L classes (only torts was clearly easier). Contracts and property were significantly more difficult for me, but I'm sure they were easier for others.




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