Con Law HELP!

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12481632

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Con Law HELP!

Postby 12481632 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:19 pm

Taking Con Law right now as a 2L at a T14. I'm pretty good at law school exams (from 1L experience/grades) and formatting answers/organizing concepts was never really an issue for me...but Con Law is a different animal.

First, I really don't care about the doctrinal evolution of Con Law (despise me all you want), which is definitely not helping, but the hardest part for me seems to be reading a statute/fact pattern on a practice exam and trying to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do from there...

I cling to black letter law and did well in classes where that was prominent, but Con Law is just this big mess of holdings that I can't really seem to treat like any other class I've taken. Anyone have some type of broad framework I should be thinking about or how to think about answering an exam question generally?

Ordered a Crunchtime Con Law supp, which I'm hoping will give me some frameworks to cling to, but any help is appreciated!

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:34 am

Depends largely on your professor, but if your exam is an issue spotter in the form of a proposed statute, the question is probably something along the lines of "Does Congress have the power to enact the above statute?"

It's going to be commerce clause, taxing power, spending power, etc. (lol if war power or whatever). It will most likely trigger issues of all the major powers discussed in your class.

If it's a proposed state statute, then you have a dormant commerce clause issue.

Then just go through the analytical framework. Come up with a flow chart consisting of arguments from each case you've studied. Go through the Lopez elements. What does Morrison have to say about whether violence against women affects interstate commerce? Incorporate that argument into your analysis.

dabigchina

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby dabigchina » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:45 am

12481632 wrote:
First, I really don't care about the doctrinal evolution of Con Law (despise me all you want),


I'm assuming your prof doesn't test historical evolution?

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Clemenceau

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby Clemenceau » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:50 am

^agree with Peanutsnjam above

Also, look at old sample answers. I'm sure your school has some, and other law schools have public sample answers online. As PNJ suggested above, you'll start to see common trends in how good answers attack hypothetical statutes. I actually thought my Con Law exam was rather manageable/predictable for this reason.

Edit for clarity

12481632

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby 12481632 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:55 am

dabigchina wrote:
12481632 wrote:
First, I really don't care about the doctrinal evolution of Con Law (despise me all you want),


I'm assuming your prof doesn't test historical evolution?


No, seems like exam will be issue spotters with fact patterns that involve state/federal legislation or executive authorities. Also, most likely a policy question at the end or something like that.

Shema

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby Shema » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:59 pm

I've never checked out Crunch time as a resource but from my experience the Con Law Example and Explanation is the best preparation for an essay exam and the PMBR red book has the best multiple choice practice.

The thing about a con law essay exam is organization. Con Law is a beast to organize because of the volume of cases and the fact that the topics are so interrelated. For instance, in most circumstances a con law fact can easily require you to apply the Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper, Tax and Spending, Equal Protection and Substantive Due process to a single question related to a Bill on race riots, universal health care, are same sex bathrooms at public schools.

To nail a Con Law exam you have a short time to write analysis under all of these major topics while also quickly tying in relevant case law and judicial interpretation.

However, there is a predictability to con law exams that can help speed up outlining and study prep. You see con law exam fact patterns must always approach a factual scenario from the government/state versus the challenger. Either the actor attempting to pass or enforce the law is a local state of the federal government and the party challenging the law is either an individual, a group on behalf of an individual or often a local state at odds with the federal government. Knowing this, one way to set up your outline in a way to directly attacks an exam question is to organize it based on the common positions, arguments and case law that would be advanced by either side. Once you complete enough practice exams using this outline format you will see a pattern develop and that there is almost a formulaic approach to any particular fact pattern. Of course the formula will vary from professor to professor but you will likely see your professor's pattern develop around the perspective of state versus challenger.

Here is a link to an example of an outline I've given to students at T20's and up that I think is helpful and puts what I've written into context. I like to create outline's like this for every class but they are labor intensive.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4tpc4 ... sp=sharing

inter_alia

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Re: Con Law HELP!

Postby inter_alia » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:02 am

The thing about a con law essay exam is organization. Con Law is a beast to organize because of the volume of cases and the fact that the topics are so interrelated. For instance, in most circumstances a con law fact can easily require you to apply the Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper, Tax and Spending, Equal Protection and Substantive Due process to a single question related to a Bill on race riots, universal health care, are same sex bathrooms at public schools.

To nail a Con Law exam you have a short time to write analysis under all of these major topics while also quickly tying in relevant case law and judicial interpretation.



I keep running into problems when I do hypos for CON for this exact reason. I cannot find a good method for organization because I am trying to think of the best way to argue instead of organize. I checked out your outline linked here and it seems like the better way for me to outline in the future because my hang ups are the prompts for the arguments not the law or cases themselves. I am going to do a couple hypos today using it to supplement my outline and see if I can get my thoughts out easier. If you have any more resources to help in compiling other outlines of this structure, I would appreciate your assistance. Thanks!!



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