LAW 404: The American Public Law System

Broadly speaking, public law is concerned with the organization of government and the relationship between the government and its citizens. In the United States, the foundation of public law is the Constitution, but that document merely provides a framework, which later legislatures, presidents, and courts have filled in over time. This course introduces students to the law that has emerged from those efforts and the distinctive modes of argument lawyers and judges employ in shaping that law for the future. Subjects covered include the constitutional law of federalism; executive power, including presidential war powers and the role of administrative agencies; and civil liberties, with particular emphasis on the freedom of speech.