COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis course explores our nation’s founding charter and the seminal Supreme Court cases interpreting it. Using Supreme Court opinions as our guide, we will focus on the Constitution’s basic structure and design, investigating the principles of judicial review, federalism, and separation of powers. After a brief refresher on the American legal and judicial system, we will begin with Chief Justice John Marshall’s foundational opinion in Marbury v. Madison, debating the Supreme Court’s role in reviewing legislative enactments. We will next discuss the executive branch’s role in foreign affairs, including what constitutional protections—if any—detainees held in Guantánamo Bay possess after Boumediene v. Bush. From there, we will explore the commerce clause, focusing on recent challenges to the Affordable Care Act. Together, we will unravel the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, wading into some of the Court’s more controversial pronouncements on race and gender discrimination, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage.