Political Science 438

POSC 438
Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers

Catalog Entry

POSC 438. Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers. (AG)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: POSC 120

This course examines constitutional powers exercised by federal government, with an emphasis on intergovernmental relations, separation of powers, role of the Supreme Court in constitutional process and general theories of constitutional government.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Major areas of judicial decisions to be covered in this course may include:

I. The Function of the Judiciary in Constitutional Cases

A. Judicial Review
B. Federal vs. State Judicial Authority
C. Modern Judicial Review: Theory & Practice

II. The Commerce Power

A. Economic Regulation on Interstate Commerce Grounds
B. Controlling the National "Police" Regulation Processes
C. The Commerce Power Since 1937
D. Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

III. Other National Powers

A. Taxation
B. Spending
C. War, Foreign Affairs and Federalism

IV. Intergovernmental Immunities & Federalism

A. Taxation & Regulations
B. Application to Interstate Relationships

V. Separation of Powers

A. National Policymaking

1. Legislative authority
2. Executive authority

B. Inter-branch Relationships


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

A combined lecture/dialectical approach will be used, possibly with students responsible for initial presentation of particular judicial decisions to be analyzed


Goals and Objectives of the Course

I. To fulfill a requirement in the field of American Government for Political Science majors.
II. To provide interested upper-division students from all majors with an introduction to legal reasoning and the principles of constitutional interpretation.
III. To gain an understanding of the scope, development and limits of federal judicial power.
IV. To begin to see the difference between legal/constitutional issues and political issues.
V. To achieve a better understanding of the federal separation of powers and the federal/state division of powers.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include in-class tests, a final examination, essay or research papers, case briefs and oral presentations of course material.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 1998 Reviewed M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair