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Constitutional Law

Monday, January 12, 2015 to Friday, March 20, 2015
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This 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 Guantanamo 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. Finally, we will examine basic First Amendment principles concerning freedom of speech and religion.

Thanks to the flexibility of the online format, this course can be taken anywhere, anytime— a plus for students who lead busy lives or for whom regular travel to the Stanford campus is not possible. While necessarily structured differently from an on-campus classroom course, this course maintains a similar level of instructor engagement through videos, interactive exercises, and discussion with fellow students, as well as optional online video conferencing sessions.

Tuition Applies.


Cody S. Harris, Attorney, Keker & Van Nest

Cody S. Harris is an attorney practicing in San Francisco. He previously clerked for the Hon. Judge David S. Tatel on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and has also served as a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County. He received a JD from Stanford. - See more at:

Constitutional Law

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