Dr. Frank Guliuzza




Professor: Frank Guliuzza

Political Science 4020

Constitutional Law I

Purpose of the Course:

At Weber State we offer a two-semester series in Constitutional Law:

The first course, PS 402, is designed to introduce students to the struggles for power between the institutions of government, and how constitutional government operates in the United States. By the end of the semester, you should have an introduction to many of the basic doctrines of American Constitutional Law relating to government power. You should also understand, at an introductory level, the role of the federal judiciary, and most particularly the United States Supreme Court, in the American political system. We will seek to achieve these objectives primarily through the reading and analysis of constitutional cases decided by the Supreme Court.

Course Requirements:

Each student is required to take a mid-term examination and a final examination. The examinations will consist of essay or short identification questions, and each will include an objective component (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, true-false). In addition to the two examinitions, each student will take an objective test indicating his or her knowledge of the Constitution. Further, in order to engender discussion, students will be required to "brief" assigned cases. Throughout the Quarter each student can expect to be called upon at least once to deliver orally their brief of a particular case. Finally, each student will argue a case in class. Working with another student, you will prepare a paper presenting your case (8-10 pages), and will argue the case orally before the class. Hopefully, the project will prompt you to use materials from a nearby law library. Since I very often use a modified version of the "Socratic Method" in the classroom, I will assign a "class participation" grade at the end of the semester. The grade breakdown will roughly be:The grade breakdown will roughly be:

Constitutional Exam/Participation (10%)

Mid-term Exam (30%)

Final Exam (30%)

Case Presentation & Paper (30%)


The main text in the course is Louis Fisher's Constitutional Structures: Separated Powers and Federalism. I am also asking you to read Lief Carter's book, An Introduction to Constitutional Interpretation. Other readings will be placed on reserve throughout the Semester.

Course Policies:

Classroom attendance is required. If a student has more than three unexcused absences, I will ask him or her to withdraw from the course or incur the grade of F. Too, I want you to come to class on time. If the door is closed, and we have started class, then, unless you have made prior arrangements with me, I expect you to stay out! If necessary, I will take points off your final average in order to enforce this policy. Students are required to take the exams at the regularly scheduled times. Prior permission from me or certification by a physician are the only conditions under which a make-up will be given. Those not taking the exam will be given a zero. Class projects must be completed by the time they are due to receive maximum credit. Copying material from another source (book, journal, another student, etc.) without giving proper credit is dishonest. So is the use of cheat-sheets during exams. These and other forms of cheating can result in an automatic grade of F for the course no matter what the quality of your other class work. In order to avoid any confusion regarding student rights and responsibilities, I urge you to read sections III & IV of the Weber State University Student Code. I have copies available in my office. My office hours are Monday, 4:00-5:00, Tuesday & Thursday, 9:00-10:00 and by appointment. My office is SS 288. My office phone is 626-6698. Feel free to leave messages at that number or in my box at the Political Science Department (SS 280).

Very Tentative Schedule of Classes:

August 30:

Course Introduction.

Essential Theoretical Questions:

Why Interpret the Constitution?

What is the Constitution?

September 6:

No class--holiday.

September 13:

Theoretical Questions:

Who is to Interpret the Constitution?

How to Interpret the Constitution?

Readings Packet-- Reserve.

The American Judiciary.

Fisher Ch. 4.

September 20:

The U.S Supreme Court.

Fisher Ch. 5.

Judicial & Political "Threshold Requirements":

Case & Controversy Requirement.



Fisher Ch. 3.

De Funis v. Odegaard (1974).

Poe v. Ullman (1961).

September 27:

Standing to Sue.

Political Questions.

Efforts to Curb the Court.

Fisher Ch. 10.

Frothingham v. Mellon (1923).

Flast v. Cohen (1968).

Valley Force College v. Americans United (1982).

Baker v. Carr (1962).

Statutory reversal: Grove City v. Bell (1984).

Ex parte McCardle (1869).

October 4:

No class--Professor out of town.

October 11:

Judicial Review.

Fisher, Ch. 2.

Marbury v. Madison (1803).

Eakin v. Raub (1825).

Martin v. Hunter's Lesee (1816).

Constitutional Interpretation.


October 18:

The Sources & Scope of Congressional Authority.

Fisher, Ch. 6.

Congressional Membership and Prerogatives; Speech & Debate Clause.

Baker v. Carr (1962)

Powell v. McCormack (1969)

Gravel v. U.S. (1972).

October 25:

Examination #1.

November 1:

Contempt Authority and Investigative Power.

Watkins v. U.S (1957).

Barenblatt v. U.S. (1959).

Delegation & Limitations on Legislative Power.

Schecter Corp. v. U.S. (1935).

INS v. Chadha (1983).

Bowsher v. Synar (1986).

Debate #1: Walter Nixon v. United States 506 U.S. 224 (1993)

November 8: From "Constitutional" to "Modern" Presidency.

Fisher, Ch. 7.

Presidential Power: Implied & Prerogative Powers.

Morrison v. Olson (1988).

U.S. v. Nixon (1974).

Clinton v. Jones (1997).

Youngstown Co. v. Sawyer (1952).

Debate #2: Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654 (1981).

November 15:

Presidential Power: Foreign Policy & War Powers.

U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright (1936).

Congress Interprets Curtiss-Wright (1986).

New York Times v. U.S. (1971).

Debate #3: Korematsu v. U.S. 323 U.S. 214 (1944).

November 22:

"Original" Federalism.

Fisher, Ch. 8.

Marshall's "Nation-Centered" Federalism.

Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816).

McCullouch v. Maryland (1819).

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824).

November 29:

"Dual" Federalism.

Champion v. Ames (1903).

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918).

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Company (1922).

"Modern/Cooperative" Federalism.

NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin (1937).

U.S. v. Darby (1941).

Wickard v. Filburn (1942).

National League of Cities v. Usery (1976).

Garcia v. SAMTA (1985).

December 6:

Catch-up & review

Debate #4: U.S. v. Lopez, 115 S.Ct. 1624 (1995).

PS 4030 Constitutional Law II
PS 4060: Elements of Law
SB 1100: Introduction to American Government