Con law tips

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BruceWayne
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Con law tips

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:19 pm

I'm trying to focus on the casebook for con law; I plan to supplement the the casebook with a little Cheminrisnky. I'm running into a bit of a problem though. These cases are a lot harder to read than any of the ones I encountered in Criminal, Civ Pro, Torts, or contracts. For those of you who focus on the casebook how do you get what you need out of the archaic language of some of these cases like Marbury? I get the basic premise/holding but I know that you need a lot more than that to help you on the final exam. Any tips?

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kalvano
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Re: Con law tips

Postby kalvano » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:23 pm

Casenotes Legal Briefs keyed to your text.

Ninoprudence
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Re: Con law tips

Postby Ninoprudence » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:23 pm

Read a good outline's summary of a case before reading the case. It will help you pull out what is important.

Also, Con Law is not about understanding what 1 case says; it is about understanding what a group of cases means. After you have read a cluster of cases, reflect on what each case adds to the larger picture.

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thesealocust
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Re: Con law tips

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:40 pm

First, many con law courses just paddle around some philosophical stuff for the first 1-3 weeks that won't be meaningfully tested. You'll read the constitution, chat about marbury, the Supreme court, and judicial review, and not really kick the can down the curb any. Later on you'll get to the meat and potatoes of con law, which will be something like Congressional authority (commerce clause, taxing & spending power, etc.), separation of powers (what can POTUS do/not do, what can Congress do/not do), and rights / equality (everything you wanted to know about the 14th amendment - and then some).

But especially when it comes to congressional authority and separation of powers, there are bazillions of cases you might look at that will really stand for one single proposition or only be interesting in hindsight when you get to modern doctrine.

It's the ultimate back-heavy course, and also the most squishy course. I've heard con law professors bemoan "students taking cases at face value" when it comes to exam time. You can argue for progressions in con law, and you can argue about inconsistencies in cases / doctrine and various applicable methodologies forever. You can load up on arguments much easier in advance for con law than you could for, say, torts - because in torts you're likely to get interesting borderline facts, but in con law the constitution and its interpretive doctrines are already damn near 'interesting' and 'borderline' :lol:

Also, a helpful quote from studying a while back:

In con law in particular, you have to sit down and think about how you'll answer a new hypo.

In most classes, the rule for, say, what constitutes a breach of contract or a breach of duty was fairly clear cut.

Do you know what a fundamental right is? (see other thread)? If you see a novel fact pattern, how are you going to analyze it? You'll see that you have to pull pieces of doctrine from a lot of cases, and also that it doesn't line up at all neatly. But you can prepare in advance: "If the court follows the reasoning in ___________ then it will be more likely to see _______ as a fundamental right, but the court should instead follow the reasoning in ___________ because in this fact pattern ____________ and if they instead ___________ then the following catastrophic things will occur: __________, ______________, ____________________."

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BruceWayne
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Re: Con law tips

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:46 pm

Thanks for the advice. I hate "backheavy" courses; that means that by the time things really click I'll have to do a lot of cramming. I don't want to be swamped with too much work near the end of the semester.

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king3780
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Re: Con law tips

Postby king3780 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:47 pm

kalvano wrote:Casenotes Legal Briefs keyed to your text.


Credited.




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