I dont understand con law..

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in_reverie
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby in_reverie » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:15 pm

Be thankful you don't have the goddamn Singer casebook. Everything is learned in a chronological order, so instead of learning the Constitution by doctrine (like every other casebook), we look at how the Warren court tackled subject X...then we switch over to subject Y...then mix it up with subject Z. Makes it impossible to outline.

dazzleberry
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby dazzleberry » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:59 pm

goodolgil wrote:
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.


I took Con Law last semester. It was pretty hard, but once you get where the prof is going with doctrinal evolution, case law, and interpretation, the forest starts to become visible. W/respect to general level of difficulty and complexity, does anyone have thoughts on Con Law vs Civ Pro? I'd like to know because my first civ pro classes begin in about a week.

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YourCaptain
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby YourCaptain » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:11 am

dazzleberry wrote:
goodolgil wrote:
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.


I took Con Law last semester. It was pretty hard, but once you get where the prof is going with doctrinal evolution, case law, and interpretation, the forest starts to become visible. W/respect to general level of difficulty and complexity, does anyone have thoughts on Con Law vs Civ Pro? I'd like to know because my first civ pro classes begin in about a week.


this stuff matters how you think.

just anecdotally:

history/polisci/sociology people seem to love conlaw.
math/language/hard science people tend to favor civ pro.

they tend to use different parts of your brain. i loved civpro personally, but it matters how you look at it.

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sundance95
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby sundance95 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:09 am

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

/thread


This is consistent with my understanding of UVA students.

--ImageRemoved--

Also:
Grizz wrote:Great post van.

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goosey
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goosey » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:36 am

Cade McNown wrote: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?



I got a B+
not an A by any means, but considering how much I HATED con law, it was equivalent to an A+ in my mind.

so...yes and no. I think cases like marbury will always be significant, but as the class progresses you will just understand it more. It definitely just "clicks" at some point. I would recommend that you 1, read chemerinsky and 2, read the constitution at least once a week, every week, starting right now. I dont know how your professor works, but with my professor, the first 8 or so questions what strictly textual. Like we didnt even go over this stuff in class, but it was in the constitution, and we had to know it. Example-a tax bill is started in X house and passes, what is Y houses strongest argument against the unconstutionality of this bill. So there are a lot of people that would go into long winding arguments about how taxing such and such is unconstitutional but the actual right answer is one line and it came straight from the constitution---all tax bills have to originate in Y house [i am replacing with letters bc i no longer remember which one hahha]. Its a clas on the constitution...consider the constitution your BLL and then fill in the gaps with the caselaw.

you will be fine. trust me. a lot of con law reading is superfluous, you will realize. but do it anyway, because you wont know what is superfluous until you get to the end of the class. its a huge time sink. still hate con law. but probably hated it less by the end of the semester. so there is some good news for you

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goosey
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby goosey » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:43 am

oh, also. I just re-read my original post and I DEFINITELY see why this is a law school class now. it is REALLY important. its amazing....because I didnt understand why it was important, and now when I hear things, one of the first things that come into my mind is "wow, is that even constitutional?" so...to make you feel better...once again: it will get much, much better. additionally, i think early on you read a lot more history crap that doesnt seem relevant and once those foundations are laid, the later material will seem like more familiar "law school-y" stuff. for my professor, at least.

dazzleberry
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby dazzleberry » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:43 am

In Con Law, the cases are BLL. On that note, you'll probably only need to know a few details about each case, and those details constitute elements of a law that may be used to explain one of your answers on an exam. You'll also need to understand a few concepts by themselves, like the rules of justiciability and incorporation. But these rules need to be coupled with case law. E.g. the political question doctrine would need to be discussed in terms of Baker v. Carr. And of course, memorize the relevant portions of the Constitution.

For example, you could take Roe v. Wade together with Planned Parenthood v. Casey: I believe the Court in Planned Parenthood struck down the 3-trimester system devised in Roe, but the majority retained the "essential ruling" of Roe v. Wade. The cases are pretty long and stuffed with info that you don't really need, but you've got to be able to pick up on stuff like this, because it'll constitute ammo to use on your final exam. I also believe there was an undue burden test somewhere in there. Stuff is already becoming hazy in my head.

Also, by the time finals rolled around I lacked time to read each case over again (except for the Executive power cases, which I thought were pretty confusing), so I found quick summaries on sites like Oyez and Wikipedia and distilled those into flashcards. On the final we were allowed to bring our outlines. Mine was just a 8-10 page description of the different cases. I got an A- (there was only 1 A in the course). I noticed there were a lot of people with voluminous outlines upwards of 60 pages, beautifully bound. Definitely try to avoid having one of those.

Writing this makes me pretty happy not to be in Con Law haha.

jd20132013
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:52 am

Reading this stuff is making me more and more confused. Each side seems amazingly plausible to an extent I didn't see in the doctrinal classes last semester.

In those I could see both sides but pretty much understood the rule and how to apply. This course seems all over the place and I frankly am a bit concerned about how i'll handle the final

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Cupidity
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cupidity » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:56 am

The key to acing conlaw is substantial pre-writing.

jd20132013
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:01 am

Can you expand some?

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Cupidity
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cupidity » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:05 am

jd20132013 wrote:Can you expand some?


The way you analyze whether a law infringes on the first amendment isn't going to change.

Prepare a nice thick paragraph, blah blah blah, content neutral, therefore rational basis, blah blah blah, respondent will argue content based therefore preemptively invalid, blah blah, restriction of time place and means, blah blah.

Do that for what you think are likely topics based on your professors lectures, and just transcribe them into your paper with minor changes so that they fit the facts. I know everyone says "apply the law to the facts" but in conlaw, 80% of your grade is just vomiting caselaw onto the page.

jd20132013
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:12 am

Thanks, that's definitely helpful, and makes sense.

any supplements you found useful for practicin the usefulness of your prewrites?

I'm looking at the Siegel's Multiple Choice + Essay book right now...

smittytron3k
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby smittytron3k » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:38 pm

con law is easy - there are very few hard-and-fast rules, and pretty much every holding can be read broadly or narrowly or somewhere in between (this is something that really becomes apparent when you do the 14th amendment). the key is understanding the relevant policy tensions in each part of the doctrine (so the need for a flexible and effective government v. preserving limits on the enumerated powers of the federal government when you do the commerce clause; representation reinforcement when you do the dormant commerce clause; etc.) and being able to articulate a reading of the doctrine that comports with what you see as the animating policy concerns.

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Cupidity
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cupidity » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:47 pm

jd20132013 wrote:Thanks, that's definitely helpful, and makes sense.

any supplements you found useful for practicin the usefulness of your prewrites?

I'm looking at the Siegel's Multiple Choice + Essay book right now...


Old model exam answers. I found hornbooks absolutely useless for ConLaw because the subject matter is so heavily tailored to your profs' teaching style. I'd only recommend a hornbook if your professor actually suggested it.

jd20132013
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:24 pm

Sadly my professor has no model answers (and only one, nearly ten years old model test)

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Guchster
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Guchster » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:40 pm

this class is going to drag my GPA to hell, AMIRITE?

Praying to based god for median. I will repost in June with an update.

Riles246
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Riles246 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:12 am

The E&E helped me get through con law. Probably the most important realization though was that whenever the court had 5 liberal judges, they would always construe the law to be liberal. Same for conservative. It was funny to see sometimes how hard they had to work at overruling old precedent without looking completely transparent. SCOTUS cases can usually be shortened to one sentence - "We are (conservative/liberal) so we are going to (reduce/expand) federal power". Of course this is a major generalization but whenever a holding doesn't seem to actually make sense, if you look at the justices in the majority it usually clears things up.

morris248
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby morris248 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:44 pm

Here is a good site for past exams and model answers in con law

http://www.law.columbia.edu/faculty/faculty_pages/Dorf/Conlaw/Old_exams

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Cade McNown
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cade McNown » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:02 pm

Ok, so a month later it's all still fuzzy, but not so foreign that I would feel amiss starting an outline.

So: My exam is a 6 hour take home exam, very likely broken down into 3 questions designed to take 2 hours each. It is completely open-book & open-note. Is there any reason not to create a long, detailed, & nauseatingly tabbed outline for such a test?

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Cupidity
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby Cupidity » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:31 am

Cade McNown wrote:Ok, so a month later it's all still fuzzy, but not so foreign that I would feel amiss starting an outline.

So: My exam is a 6 hour take home exam, very likely broken down into 3 questions designed to take 2 hours each. It is completely open-book & open-note. Is there any reason not to create a long, detailed, & nauseatingly tabbed outline for such a test?


See my comments above regarding substantial pre-writing.

bartleby
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby bartleby » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:53 am

Cupidity wrote:
Cade McNown wrote:Ok, so a month later it's all still fuzzy, but not so foreign that I would feel amiss starting an outline.

So: My exam is a 6 hour take home exam, very likely broken down into 3 questions designed to take 2 hours each. It is completely open-book & open-note. Is there any reason not to create a long, detailed, & nauseatingly tabbed outline for such a test?


See my comments above regarding substantial pre-writing.


I think I'm getting the hang of con law. I have the monstrous Sullivan and Gunther book w/ 5 cases every 10 pages and 4-5 more blurb cases. We're assigned 30 pages of reading everyday and prof might spend the entire hour and a half talking about the history behind one of the squib cases. Getting the hang of it after I spent the last 5 days outlining commerce/dormant commerce/taxing/spending/treaty powers but have no idea what to expect on the exam.

Prof is in his own little world, talking about math problems and Nixon administration scandalous secretaries. Also heard it is the hardest exam ever. TAs do their best professor impression during "tutoring" - it's a tough situation but I'm actually sorta really getting into it.

Although with the commerce power, etc. it seems like the one argument is just...if you guys can regulate <insert anything here like lottery tickets>, the federal government can regulate everything!

I'm still not really sure what to do with Lujan either. Gotta review that shiz.

edit - this is by far the hardest class I've taken in my short 1L stint. I think it's 2x the material of any other of my two busiest classes at the very least. The only good thing about this class IMO is that you don't need to analyze jack because the dissenting opinions do a pretty good job of it. I might be wrong though, who knows. Scalia.

apl6783
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby apl6783 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:04 am

I'm struggling with ConLaw too. I found other hard classes much easier than this - CivPro, Contracts, no problem.

This stuff makes no sense. I think the reason is that SCOTUS judges vote based 100% on political ideology and then fabricate a bullshit rationale for their decision. For that reason, the rationale doesn't often make too much sense, but we still have to learn it and apply it. My teacher HATES it when you ask him about politics, and he always uses air quotes when he says "political" in class, which is not often.

Without doing any commerce clause analysis, I can predict the vote on the Affordable Care Act individual mandate coming up soon. I would bet anyone good money that it's going to be 5-4 affirming the circuit court's ruling that it's unconstitutional.

timbs4339
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:56 pm

I found Con Law to be one of the easiest classes from a BLL perspective, probably easier than any class other than Torts. There are relatively few doctrines and a few cases interpreting them. What's really annoying about it is 1) everyone in law school is a SCOTUS/conlaw nerd + the class touches on politically charged subjects so you get meandering discussions, 2) it's basically profs favorite 1L classes because they get to draw on all sorts of social science/history/policy B.S., 3) you are always assigned a lot of cases that have either no law (you won't really see an issue spotting question asking you to apply Marbury) or old law.

That's why it's helpful to use supplements before you read the cases in any particular area- so if you are doing the Commerce Clause read Chemerinsky + E+E a couple times before you start delving into the cases. That will help you with the BLL/issue spotters. For the policy, pay close attention to what your prof says, especially during the first few days of class. Some profs will use Bobbitt's six theories of constitutional interpretation. Whatever the case, be prepared to talk about a single case, doctrine, or a proposed bill as how it relates to the different "policy levers" your prof talks about all term.

apl6783
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby apl6783 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:02 pm

timbs4339 wrote:I found Con Law to be one of the easiest classes from a BLL perspective, probably easier than any class other than Torts. There are relatively few doctrines and a few cases interpreting them. What's really annoying about it is 1) everyone in law school is a SCOTUS/conlaw nerd + the class touches on politically charged subjects so you get meandering discussions, 2) it's basically profs favorite 1L classes because they get to draw on all sorts of social science/history/policy B.S., 3) you are always assigned a lot of cases that have either no law (you won't really see an issue spotting question asking you to apply Marbury) or old law.

That's why it's helpful to use supplements before you read the cases in any particular area- so if you are doing the Commerce Clause read Chemerinsky + E+E a couple times before you start delving into the cases. That will help you with the BLL/issue spotters. For the policy, pay close attention to what your prof says, especially during the first few days of class. Some profs will use Bobbitt's six theories of constitutional interpretation. Whatever the case, be prepared to talk about a single case, doctrine, or a proposed bill as how it relates to the different "policy levers" your prof talks about all term.


You don't happen to have any old exams/sample answers do you?

jaydizzle
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Re: I dont understand con law..

Postby jaydizzle » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:00 pm

apl6783 wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:I found Con Law to be one of the easiest classes from a BLL perspective, probably easier than any class other than Torts. There are relatively few doctrines and a few cases interpreting them. What's really annoying about it is 1) everyone in law school is a SCOTUS/conlaw nerd + the class touches on politically charged subjects so you get meandering discussions, 2) it's basically profs favorite 1L classes because they get to draw on all sorts of social science/history/policy B.S., 3) you are always assigned a lot of cases that have either no law (you won't really see an issue spotting question asking you to apply Marbury) or old law.

That's why it's helpful to use supplements before you read the cases in any particular area- so if you are doing the Commerce Clause read Chemerinsky + E+E a couple times before you start delving into the cases. That will help you with the BLL/issue spotters. For the policy, pay close attention to what your prof says, especially during the first few days of class. Some profs will use Bobbitt's six theories of constitutional interpretation. Whatever the case, be prepared to talk about a single case, doctrine, or a proposed bill as how it relates to the different "policy levers" your prof talks about all term.


You don't happen to have any old exams/sample answers do you?


Yes, this would be very helpful. Con law sucks :(




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