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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 440
Course Title: Constitutional Law
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Study of the Constitution’s evolution through Supreme Court decisions. Prerequisite: POSC 111.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): POSC 111.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Most current edition of a Constitutional law text covering all topics in the Topical Outline. The chosen text MUST cover both governmental powers and civil liberties.  

American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays and Selected Cases
By Mason and Stephenson (Pearson/Prentice Hall)
Constitutional Law for a Changing America: A Short Course
By Epstein and Walker (Congressional Quarterly Press)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the development of key constitutional principles through Supreme Court interpretation.
    Measurable Learning
  • Explain the powers used by various governmental bodies as defined by the Court over time.
  • Explain the Court’s development of civil liberties such as speech, press, voting, and others.
    Topical Outline: Note: this is a senior-level course in constitutional law. As such, students must be expected to read from Supreme Court opinions in their original text. Students must also be assigned a significant writing assignment, either as briefs for all cases read (approximately 100 cases) or as an outside research assignment.

  • Governmental powers
    - Separation of powers
    - Powers of courts
    - Powers of Congress
    - Powers of President
    - Federalism
    - The Commerce Clause
    - Taxing and spending power
    - Contract clause
  • Civil Liberties
    - First Amendment
    - Religion
    - Speech and press
    - Assembly
    - Privacy
  • Criminal due process
    - Investigations and evidence
    - Attorneys, trials, and punishment

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: August 5, 2014
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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