432 552-2344 Office: mb 3232 lead 4379



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Dr. Craig Emmert Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties

emmert_c@utpb.edu PLSC 4336.001.2162

(432) 552-2344 Office: MB 3232 LEAD 4379.001

Hours: MW 1:00 – 3:00, and by appointment MWF 10:-10:50
This course focuses on the policymaking role of the U.S. Supreme Court and substantive policies in the area of civil liberties and civil rights. Topics include the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court procedure, and approaches to constitutional interpretation and judicial decision making. Substantive policy areas of civil liberties and civil rights include freedom of religion, the relationship between church and state, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to privacy. Additional areas include issues of race, sex, and other forms of discrimination, and basic political rights.
There will be four exams for the course. Each of the exams will account for 20 percent (80 percent total) of the student's grade. Exams may include both objective and essay questions. The remaining 20 percent of the student’s grade will be based on class attendance and participation.
This course contributes to the political science program's learning objectives by helping students understand the role of the U.S. Supreme Court, an important national political institution, by describing the political processes by which cases and brought to the Court and the factors that affect the justices' decisions. It is beneficial for those students planning to attend graduate school because of the focus on the political aspects of the judicial processes and judicial decision-making. It is beneficial for those planning on attending law school because it provides a description of the legal system and legal process, and provides an opportunity to read and discuss Supreme Court cases.
Disability: Students with disabilities that are admitted to the UT - Permian Basin may request reasonable accommodations and classroom modifications as addressed under Section 504/ADA regulations. Students needing assistance due to a disability must contact Director, PASS Office, Mesa Building, Room 1160, phone 432-552-2631, prior to receiving accommodations.
Following on the next page is a list of topics and readings for the course. Readings are from Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Rights, Liberties, and Justice (9th ed.) by Lee Epstein and Thomas Walker. The instructor reserves the right to assign additional readings.
Date Topic Reading

Jan. 20 Course introduction

22 Constitution Pt. I

25 Court structure and procedure Ch. 1

27 Labor Day (class dismissed)

29 Judicial decision-making Ch. 1 Feb. 1 Judicial decision-making Ch. 1

3 Judicial powers and constraints Ch. 2

5 Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Ch. 3

8 Exam 1

10 Civil liberties Pt. II

12 Free exercise of religion Ch. 4

15 Establishment of religion Ch. 4

17 Establishment of religion Ch. 4

19 Freedom of speech Ch. 5

22 Freedom of speech Ch. 5

24 Freedom of the press Ch. 6

26 Freedom of the press Ch. 6

29 Exam 2

March 2 Libel and obscenity Ch. 7

4 Libel and obscenity Ch. 7

7 Spring Break (class dismissed 7, 9, 11)

14 First Amendment and the internet Ch. 8 16 First Amendment and the internet Ch. 8

18 Right to keep and bear arms Ch. 9

21 Right to privacy Ch. 10

23 Right to privacy Ch. 10

25 Right to privacy Ch. 10

28 Exam 3

30 Civil rights Pt. IV

April 1 Racial discrimination Ch. 13

4 Racial discrimination Ch. 13

6 Racial discrimination Ch. 13

8 Racial discrimination Ch. 13

11 Sex discrimination Ch. 13

13 Sex discrimination Ch. 13

15 Other forms of discrimination Ch. 13

18 Other forms of discrimination Ch. 13

20 Other forms of discrimination Ch. 13

22 Voting and representation Ch. 14

25 Voting and representation Ch. 14 27 Voting and representation Ch. 14

29 Voting and representation Ch. 14

May 2 Voting and representation Ch. 14

4 Voting and representation Ch. 14



TBA Final exam


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