Spring 2017

The U.S. Constitution – What It Says, What It Means, Why It Matters

Mondays, 9:30 – 11:30

Niles Schore, Instructor
Niles’ email:  nilesmsc@gmail.com

Course Materials:

Course Syllabus

Full text of the U. S. Constitution

Articles of Confederation

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Compare Versions of the Declaration of Independence

Original Thirteen States

Poster United States 1783-1803 Shephard 1923

Citations, Reports, On-line Legal

Week 1 – March 13, 2017

Please read:

Evaluating a Supreme Court Case — First Look

Northwest Ordinance; July 13, 1787

How An Idea Becomes the Law

Notes:  Week 1

Week 2 – March 20, 2017

Notes:  Week 2

Week 3 – March 27, 2017

1. Redistricting/Apportionment cases
a. Bethune-Hill v. VA Bd. of Elections
b. Evenwell v. Texas
c. Harris v. Ind. Redistricting Comm’n.
d. Vieth v. Jubelirer
e. Whitford v. Gill
Additional Whitford v. Gill link

2. Necessary and Proper Clause
a. Hamilton’s Opinion on the US Bank
b. Jefferson’s Opinion on the US Bank 

3. Spending Power – South Dakota v. Dole
4ACA Obamacare – NFIB v. Sibelius

Week 4 – April 3, 2017

Please read:
1. Legislators have a constitutional responsibility to approve protracted foreign military action.
2. Charles Krauthammer: In Trumpian era, American democracy is not so decadent, after all
3. Don’t despair. Our constitutional system is working as it’s supposed to.
4. The G.O.P. has no coherent idea or shared vision of what it wants to achieve, aside from killing Obamacare.

Week 5 – April 10, 2017

Question: In Week 2, we said that the two essential elements of American Democracy are first, majority rule and second, the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.  Is the Electoral College the mechanism by which the minority is protected from the tyranny of the majority? Or is it simply a barrier to democracy in the twenty-first century?
For more information about Executive Orders, see:

Week 6 – April 17, 2017

Not all conservatives are originalists, nor are all originalists conservative:


Members of the Supreme Court

Ratification of the Constitution by State and Date

Weaponizing the Past

Originalism according to the Heritage Foundation

Notes for Week 6

Week 8 – May 1, 2017

The Constitution in the 21st Century

Tribute to Hope in a Democratic Society – Take Me out

Instead of freedom, workers at companies like Uber have encountered low wages and coercion.

Mr. Abrams, a titan of free speech jurisprudence, says the Twitter trail could be a gift to lawyers defending journalists during leak investigations.


With the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, a twisted notion of “religious freedom” is likely to keep winning at the court.

Judge blocks Trump’s move to cut funding for ‘sanctuary cities’

Santa Clara v. Trump

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