Fall 2008, TuTh 4:30-5:50,  Murray 213
Paul G. E. Clemens, Van Dyck 217B (932-6750; or

This is a discussion course focusing on Supreme Court cases since the Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877). It is a history class, not a law course, but students will learn a good deal about constitutional law as well as about the history of Supreme Court decisions.

Through the Civil War, the Supreme Court used the commerce, contract, and necessary and proper clauses of the Constitution to strengthen the government and provide a basis for economic development. Constitutionally, the effort failed, and Civil War followed. In this course, we will explore the post-Civil War transformation of constitutional government created by (1) the challenge to federalism and localism by the growth of an integrated national economy: and (2) by the passage of the 14th Amendment. The 14th amendment has been at the center of a struggle between an ever more powerful national government and those using the judicial process to protect the rights of individuals. We will discuss briefly the revolutionary implications of the 13th and 14th Amendments (especially for African Americans), then look at the subsequent use of the 14th Amendment to limit government regulation of private economic rights ("substantive due process").  This transformation of the 14th Amendment from a narrowly crafted amendment concerned with protecting newly freed slaves to a broadly constructed provision of the Constitution to protect property interests is one of the most crucial stories in constitutional history.  We will then explore the battle over civil liberties during WWI, which again will involve the 14th Amendment (the "extension" of the "Bill of Rights" to protect individuals from the actions of State governments as well as the Federal government).  During the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the New Deal (1933-1941), the Federal government took extraordinary steps to revive and reform the economy.  These challenged older 14th Amendment notions of individual economic freedom ("substantive due process") and extended federal commerce and taxing power (concerns from before the Civil War).  We will next look at the extension of the Bill of Rights protections during the post-WWII era (freedom of and from religion, the death penalty, free speech, civil rights, women's rights), and the conservative retrenchment of the court since the 1970s.   Students will have the opportunity to argue one or more cases in moot court situations -- free speech, freedom of religion, abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty -- and to research a major constitutional case.

The course will be graded on three exams (there is no final exam), quizzes on the readings, a research paper on a specific case that the student and professor will select, moot court and class discussion. Discussion is not extra credit; it is required and students receive a specific grade for the quality of their participation. Attendance is required. After the third absence, the final grade is lowered one letter grade; six absences result in failure (religious holidays excepted; documented medical, family, or court emergencies are also excepted). Students who have perfect attendance (excused absences excepted) will receive a bonus on the third exam (enough to increase the grade one "step", for example, from a B- to a B).  In general, we follow the procedures outlined in the history policies on mutual responsibilities and classroom etiquette. (Or consult:

There is a photocopying fee of $5 that will be collected at the first examination.

Readings (University Bookstore and New Jersey Books):

Stanley Kutler, ed., The Supreme Court and the Constitution: Readings in American Constitutional History.  (3rd edition, Norton, 1984).  This is your text.  The book includes edited versions of cases through the early 1980s; for cases after that date we will use the internet and handouts.  The great advantage of a casebook is that it provides background headnotes and edited versions of the opinions -- the internet is not a substitute for this, although you are always welcome to read the entire case on LexisNexis Acadmic (see below). has some used copies at a significant discount, but make sure you get the third edition.  ISBN: 0-393-95437-4.

Harold M. Hyman, The Reconstruction Justice of Salmon P. Chase: In Re Turner & Texas v. White (University of Kansas Press, 1997). Two early cases that dealt with the revolutionary aspects of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. price $16.95.  ISBN: 0-7006-0835-4 

Geoffrey R. Stone War and Liberty: An American Dilemma 1790 to the Present (Norton, 2007).  This is an abridged edition of the prize winning study by Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (Norton, 2004).  You may buy either, but I have only ordered the former. price  $8.07.  ISBN 0-393-33004-4.

Mark Tushnet, A Court Divided:  The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law (Norton, 2005).  The best treatment of the modern court, which illustrates its contentious decision making on key issues -- abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, freedom of expression, the taking of private property for "public" use. price $15.95. ISBN: 0-393-32757-4.

Peter Charles Hoffer, WilliamJames Hull Hoffer, and N.E. H. Hull, The Supreme Court: An Essential History (University Press of Kansas, 2007).  Still only in hardcover, but $23.07 on  Organized by Supreme Court Chief Justices -- each court gets a separate chapter (Waite Court, Warren Court, Rehnquist Court etc.). An excellent survey and exceptionally useful as a reference tool and for background.   ISBN 978-0-7006-1538-4


Sept. 2 (Tu)  Introduction: Contested Meanings--14th Amendment/Free Speech

Sept. 4  (Th) 14th Amendment: Slaughter-House Cases (K225) and Munn v. Illinois (K242).  Hyman, Salmon P. Chase, 1-53.
         Case source: Full Text of Slaughter-House Cases 83 US 36 (1873)
         Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 5 - Chase Court, 1864-1873 

Sept. 9 (Tu) Liberty of Contract: Lochner v. New York (K282) and Powell v. Pennsylvania (handout). Hyman, Salmon P. Chase, 54-106.
        Case source: Full Text of Powell v. Pennsylvania, 127 US 678 (1887)
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 6 - Waite Court, 1874-1888

Sept 11 (Th) Commerce Clause Regulation: Wabash (K247 and handout), ICC (K258), and Shreveport (K264 and handout), Hyman, Salmon P. Chase, 107-169. 
        Case source: Full Text of Wabash v. Illinois
        Case source: Dissent in Wabash...v. Illinois
        Case source: Full Text of Shreveport Rate Case
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 7 - Fuller Court, 1888-1910

Sept. 16 (Tu) Tyranny of the Judiciary? - E.C. Knight (K267), Pollock (K304), Northern Securities (K271).  Quiz on Hyman, Salmon P. Chase.
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 8 - White Court, 1910-1921

Sept. 18 (Th)  MOOT COURT: Muller v. Oregon (K289 and handout)

Sept. 23 (Tu)  World War I, Free Speech, and Holmes' Common Law (handout).  Stone, War and Liberty, Chapter III  
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 8 - White Court, 1910-1921 [same as Sept 16th].

Sept. 25 (Th)  EXAMINATION # 1   

Sept. 30 (Tu)  Clear and Present Danger:  Schenck (K324), Gitlow (K330),  Whitney (333) and Near (486)
         Case source: Full Text of Whitney v. People of the State of California. 

Oct. 2 (Th): Abrams -- MOOT COURT (K327). 
         Case source: Full Text of Abrams v. United States

Oct. 7 (Tu): Great Depression: Blaisdell (K365), Nebbia (K369), Schechter (K373) and Butler (K382) 
        Research OUTLINE Due.

Oct. 9 (Th):  New Deal: West Coast Hotel (K387), NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin (K394)

          Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 10 - Hughes Court, 1930-1941     

Oct. 14 (Tu):  Cold War Civil Liberties:  Dennis (K429); Yates (K436) Stone, War and Liberty, Chapters IV and V.
                        Quiz on War and Liberty

Oct. 16 (Th):  Warren Court Revolution: Civil Rights Plessy (K216) and Brown (K548).  Video: Simple Justice   
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 12 - Vinson Court, 1946-1952

Oct. 21 (Tu):  Warren Court Revolution: Due Process Mapp (K615), Gideon (K622)
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 13 - Warren Court, 1953-1969

Oct. 23 (Th):   EXAMINATION #2

Oct. 28 (Tu)   MOOT COURT: Gregg v. Georgia (K640) - death penalty
         Case source:  Full Text of Gregg v. Georgia

Oct. 30 (Th) Warren Court Revolution:  Freedom Of and From Religion  James Madison (handout), West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (K511), 
                        Everson (K520), Engel (K528)

Nov. 4 (Tu):   MOOT COURT:  Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (secondary school voucher program)
         Case source:  Full Text of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.   

Nov. 6 (Th):   Warren Court Revolution: Privacy  -- Griswold (K645)

Nov. 13 (Th):  Burger Court Counter-Revolution?:  MOOT COURT: Roe v. Wade (K648)
         Case source:  Full text of Roe v. Wade

Research Paper DRAFT due. Happy Thanksgiving - November 27th

Nov. 18 (Tu):  Burger Court Counter Revolution?: Swann (K560), Bakke (K688)) 
        Case source: Full text of Bakke v. Regents of the University of California 
        Recommended: Hoffer, Supreme Court, Chapter 14 - Burger Court, 1969-1986

Nov. 20 (Th):  Burger Court Counter Revolution? Environment: TVA v. Hill (handout)

         Case Source: Full text of TVA v. Hill

Nov. 25 (Tu on Th Schedule):  Burger Court Counter Revolution?  Rights of Women: Reed (K679), Frontiero (K683).    Tushnet, A Court Divided, 104-129. 204-222..

 Happy Thanksgiving - November 27th

Dec. 2 (Tu/Th schedule):  Court Divided (Rehnquest Court) Affirmative Action,  MOOT COURT - Grutter v. Bollinger (handout) -- Michigan Law School Affirmative Action Case.   Tushnet, A Court Divided, 13-48223-248.
         Case Source: Full text of Grutter v. Bollinger

Research Paper Due

Dec. 4 (Th)  Court Divided: Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas.  Mark Tushnet,  A Court Divided,  156-179. 
       Case source: Full Text of Lawrence v. Texas.
       Case source: Selection from Bowers v. Hardwick   
        Quiz: Tushnet 

Dec. 9 (Tu):  Court Divided:  2nd Amendment: District of Columbia v. Heller (handout).  Tushnet, A Court Divided, 130-155.  Stone, War and Liberty, Chapter VII.

Moot Court Assignments:
every student will participate in a moot court debates selected from the list below. In preparing the debate, you are to use the Supreme Court opinion(s) in the US Supreme Court Reports and, if available, the briefs prepared by lawyers on both sides and recorded in Landmark Briefs (Aisle #28, Government Documents Section, Alexander Library). These materials do not circulate; use them carefully and replace them immediately on the shelf.

A moot court is a reenactment in your own words of the oral arguments presented to the Supreme Court. In each case, you will be divided into two groups-one for each side in the case. Each student will have one of three roles; he/she will (1) provide a concise opening statement that identifies the participants, sets the context, defines the issue, and summarizes the argument; (2) present the argument in the case in a logical, persuasive manner; or (3) respond to the other side's argument with rebuttal statements or questions.  Students will each have about five minutes to speak (but "the court" may interrupt and ask questions). Both sides must briefly present the relevant facts in the case and explain logically, drawing on precedent, how the case ought to be resolved. The entire class will have an opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of the presentation. Students may work from note cards, but they may not read their presentations from a prepared statement.

A. Muller v. Oregon, 208 US 412 (1908)--protectionist legislation for women workers challenged as violation of liberty of contract. 

B. Abrams v. United States, 250 US 616 (1919)--freedom to speak in opposition to American involvement in World War One.   

C.. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 US 153 (1976)--death penalty. 

D. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris 536 US 639 (2002)--Ohio school voucher program challenged on establishment clause (1st Amendment) grounds.  Opinion and briefs available through LexisNexus.  Opinion also available from 

E. Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 306 (2003) -- constitutionality of the Michigan Law School admissions program that considers race, among other factors, in accepting students for law school.  Students should also review  Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 418 US 265 (1978) in preparing to argue this case.  

F. Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973)--abortion rights. 

Paper Assignment

You have a research paper for this course, and it must be done in three stages - a prospectus (due October 7th), a draft (due November 4th), and a final copy (due November 20th).   You will be asked to write on one major constitutional case and consider both its historical setting and the arguments made on both sides of the issue.  The case may be, but need not be, the same one you have selected for your moot court debate.  You will have a secondary source to consult, "briefs" prepared by the lawyers on both sides, and the coverage of the case in the New York Times.

The three stages:

    A. Research Outline - you must present an outline of the major issue(s) in the case, a summary of the argument on both sides of the case drawn from the briefs or from the majority and dissenting opinions, AND a copy of the New York Times coverage (or your summary of the NY Times story) of the decision (see below for accessing back issues).  You may use a secondary source (see below) but you must consult the original documents themselves and cite them accurately in the draft and final copy of your paper.

    B. Draft -- write a paper explaining the way the case illustrates a major constitutional problem of the particular era from which it comes.  Use the secondary source and the New York Times coverage to explain the problems of the era, and the analysis of the case to illustrate these problems.

    C. Final Draft - the final draft must be a revision based on the professors comments and must include your personal assessment of the case.  What lessons do we learn about judicial activism or judicial restraint in this case?  What might the court have done differently?  Did the court's decision strengthen or weaken its role in American government?   Does the case provide evidence that the Supreme Court helps shape American public policy or that it merely follows "public" opinion?

Court Cases for Paper Topics: 

Slaughter House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1873).  Ronald M. Labbe and Jonathan Lurie,  Slaughterhouse Cases: Regulation, Reconstruction, and the Fourteenth Amendment: (University Press of Kansas, 2005).

Reese, 92 U.S. 214 (1876) and Cruikshank,  92 U.S. 532 (1876).  Robert M. Goldman,  Reconstruction and Black Suffrage: Losing the Vote in Reese and Cruikshank  (University of Kansas Press, 2001)

Ex parte Crow Dog, 106 U.S. 371 (1883).  Sidney Harring, Crow Dog's Case: American Indian Sovereignty, Tribal Law, and United States Law in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564 (1895).  David Ray Papke, Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America  (University of Kansas Press, 1999).

Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905).  Paul Kens,  Lochner v. New York: Economic Regulation on Trial.  (University of Kansas Press, 1998).

Muller v. Oregon, 208 US 412 (1908).  Nancy Woloch, Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin's, 1996).

Abrams v. US,
250 US 616 (1919).  Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech (1987).

Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).  Michael Allan Wolf,  Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler. (University of Kansas Press, 2008)

Smith v. Allwright, 321 US 649 (1944).  Charles L. Zeldin,  Battle for the Black Ballot: Smith v. Allwright and the Defeat of the Texas All-White Primary.  (University of Kansas Press, 2004).

Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495 (1952).   Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond J. Heberski, Jr.,  Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court  (Univ. of Kansas Press, 2008).

Cooper v. Aaron, 358 US 1 (1958).  Tony A. Freyer,  Little Rock on Trial: Cooper v. Aaron and School Desegregation.  (Univ. of Kansas  Press, 2007).

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961).  Carolyn N. Long, Mapp v. Ohio. Guarding against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures (University of Kansas Press, 2006).

Engel v. Vitale, 370 US 421 (1962).  Bruce Dierenfield,  Battle over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America (University of Kansas Press, 2007)

Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).  Anthony Lewis, Gideon's Trumpet (1964, Vintage, 1989).

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).  John W. Johnson, Griswold v. Connecticut: Birth Control and the Constitutional Right of Privacy. (University of Kansas Press, 2005).

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).  John W. Johnson, Struggle for Student Rights: Tinker v. Des Moines and the 1960s. (University of Kansas Press, 1997).

Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).  Shawn Francis Peters,  Yoder Case: Religious Freedom, Education, and Parental Rights. (University of Kansas Press, 2003).

Flood v. Kuhn
, 407 US 258 (1972).  Robert M. Goldman,  One Man Out: Curt Flood versus Baseball. (Univ. of Kansas Press, 2008).

Roe v. Wade,  410 U.S. 113 (1973).  N.E.H. Hull and Peter Charles Hoffer,  Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History (University of Kansas Press, 2001).

San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973).  Paul A. Sracic,  San Antonio v. Rodriguez and the Pursuit of Equal Education: The Debate over Discrimination and School Funding (University of Kansas Press, 2006).

Collin v. Smith, 447 F. Supp. 676 (N.D. Ill, 1977) and 578 F.2d 1197 (1978) (7th Cir.).  Philippa Strum,  When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech We Hate (University of Kansas Press, 1999).

Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978).  Kenneth M. Murchison,  Snail Darter Case: TVA versus the Endangered Species Act.  (University of Kansas Press, 2007).

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 US 265 (1978).  Howard Ball, Bakke Case: Race, Education, and Affirmative Action. (Univ. of Kansas Press, 2000).

Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986).  Augustus B. Cochran III,  Sexual Harassment and the Law: The Mechelle Vinson Case. (University of Kansas Press, 2004).

Johnson v. Santa Clara, 480 US 616 (1987).  Melvin I. Urofsky, Affirmative Action on Trial: Sex Discrimination in Johnson v. Santa Clara  (Univ. of Kansas Press, 1997).

DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 489 U.S. 189 (1989).  Lynne Curry,  DeShaney Case: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Dilemma of State Intervention.  (University of Kansas Press, 2007).

Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).  Robert Justin Goldstein, Flag Burning and Free Speech: The Case of Texas v. Johnson  (University of Kansas Press, 2000).

Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), Carolyn N. Long, Religious Freedom and Indian Rights: The Case of Oregon v. Smith  (University of Kansas Press, 2000).

Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793 (1997).  Melvin I. Urofsky,  Lethal Judgments: Assisted Suicide and American Law (University of Kansas Press, 2000).

Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 306 (2003).  Barbara A. Perry,  Michigan Affirmative Action Cases. (Univ. of Kansas Press, 2007).

Finding a Supreme Court Case on the Internet:

A. Using LexisNexis Academic through the Rutgers Library (you must connect from a Rutgers account or on a Rutgers terminal)

1. Go to the Library homepage
2. From the Right Column, Select "Find Articles"
3. Select "Indexes and Databases"  and Go to The "L" listings
4. Select LexisNexis Academic and connect.
5. Select "Legal" from the tab near the left, top of the page. 
6. Select ""Federal and State Cases" from the list on the left.  
7. You have several search options.  If you want to search for cases on a topic, then you can put in topical words in the "search terms" box, but unless you limit your search in some way, this may pull up too many results.  Your other choices:

    "Sources" --: the default will search both federal and state cases.  Best to limit this to Federal cases or to briefs from Federal cases, depending on what you want.

    "Case Name" or "Citation Number" -- the best way to find a specific case.  If you are searching for Briefs, use the "Case Name" (names of the parties) only.

    "Dates" -- allows you to further limit your search, and particularly important if you are only searching using topics.

   "Judges Last Name" -- valuable if you are trying to study a particular judge, but this will pull up many, many opinions that you do not want.

8. Select search.

Note: try putting in "snail" "darter", limit the search to Jan. 1, 1975 to Jan. 1, 1980, and try "Federal and State Cases, Combined" and then "U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Lawyers' Edition."  For the first, you should get seventeen cases; for the latter two.  If you were looking for TVA v. Hill, the first search would give you too many choices; the second not enough (as there were several relevant decisions made about the case, all under the name TVA v. Hill, or Hill v. TVA.)  You will not find the case briefs on LexisNexis, but you can check the published Landmark Briefs series (see below) in the Government Documents section of the Library for 1978 to see if they are there.

B.  Using

    Unlike LexisNexis this search engine is available over the internet without a Rutgers subscription.  Findlaw also allows you to search by case citation  

    But the site is not user friendly, at least not for students doing research.  Go to the findlaw home page at:  Click on "visit our professional site" in the upper right-hand corner.  Half-way down the page, there is a heading "BROWSE BY CASES, CODES, ARTICLES" and under that you can click on "U.S. Supreme Court."   Once there you can search by volume and page number (citation - the default search selection) of a case -- the standard way cases are listed.  For example, you can look for 341 US 494 (1951), the Dennis case involving the leaders of the United States Communist Party, if you know the volume number (341) and the number of the first page of the opinion (494).  You can also search by the name of the party (Dennis and U.S.) and by keywords (fulltext search).  You may be asked to register to use this cite -- it is your choice whether to do so.  Most of the links provided on this syllabus are to the Findlaw pages -- again you may be asked to register when using the links.  

Finding the New York Times on the Internet:

1. Go to the Library homepage
2. From the Right Column, Select "Find Articles"
3. Select "Indexes and Databases"  and Go to The "P" Listings
4. Select "ProQuest Historical Newspapers - New York Times"
5. Connect - you must be on a Rutgers terminal or dial-up with permitted access.
6. In the menu that appears, try the following: for search words put in: "Louisiana slaughter house" and for "date range, from"  use the period 1/1/1873 to 12/31/1873.  You should the Times story, "The Scope of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments" about the definition of the 13th and 14th Amendment (note that if you had searched only by the name of the case from the headline, you would not have found it).  You'll need to be able to read a PDF file to see the article.

7. Now try it with a case you are interested in researching.

Finding a Brief for a United States Supreme Court Case:

The Library owns 338 volumes of the series, Landmark briefs and arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States: constitutional law.  These volumes (red binding) are available in the Government Documents section on the first floor of Alexander Library and shelved with other Federal judicial documents (including the Supreme Court reports).   You can also find much fuller briefs for current cases using the LexisNexis Acadmic search engine, described above, and selecting from the "Sources" drop-down menu  "U.S. Supreme Court Briefs." (see above).  

Updated 10-14-2008.