Get Guided PLST 320-Constitutional Law
Constitutional Law analyzes contemporary issues to explore several keys, constitutional principles, including separation of powers; federalism; the role of the judiciary in deciding controversial social issues; the First Amendment Free Speech, the Establishment Clause, and Free Exercise of Religion clauses; the Commerce Clause as it relates to nationalized health care; and parental rights concerning education. Students will read judicial opinions each week relating to one of these topics.
For information regarding the prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
After the founders had drafted the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a citizen what type of government they had given the United States. He responded, “A republic if you can keep it.” Because the American citizenry has forgotten the founding principles and fails to understand what the Constitution was designed to achieve, each branch of the national government continues to exceed the powers granted to it in the Constitution. Building on the basic constitutional principles learned in PLST 205 (Foundations of Law), this course will analyze constitutional cases to explore how the unconstitutional expansion of the national government threatens the freedoms that the Constitution was designed to protect.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify how the judiciary exceeds its constitutional jurisdiction.
- Explain how Congress’ expansive reliance on the Commerce Clause is a threat to states’ rights.
- Explain how misapplication of the Establishment Clause fosters hostility to the Christian worldview.
- Explain how a strict constructionist view of the Constitution best preserves the delicate balance of separation of powers.
- Explain the proper role of government concerning issues concerning parents’ rights to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided promptly for each forum. Each thread must be 250–300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge and include 2 scholarly sources formatted according to Bluebook Standards. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates threads. Each reply must be 100–150 words and include 1 scholarly source formatted according to Bluebook Standards.
Case Analysis Assignment
The student will be provided a summary of a case (including quoted excerpts from the case) and will be asked to analyze whether the judiciary reached the right result. The student will analyze the case from the perspective of the separation of powers and the proper role of the judiciary. Responses must be at least 250 words and be formatted according to Bluebook standards.
Short Essay Assignments (2)
The student will be given 2 short essay questions to respond to. Responses must be at least 400 words each and must include 2 scholarly sources cited according to Bluebook standards.
There will be 3 open-book/open-note quizzes with multiple-choice and true/false questions. The student will be given 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete a 30-question quiz.
Quiz: Judicial and Congressional Powers will cover the course material from Module 1: Week 1 – Module 3: Week 3.
Quiz: Executive Powers and Federalism will cover the course material from Module 4: Week 4 – Module 5: Week 5.
Quiz: The First Amendment and Individual Liberties will cover the course material from Module 6: Week 6 – Module 7: Week 7.
Quiz: Due Process and Criminal Justice
The student will be given 2 hours to complete the final quiz. The quiz will be open-book/open-notes. It will contain 3 essay questions.
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