"Judging the Supreme Court"
OLLI Fall 2013 < >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< > J. Emenhiser
Members of the class will judge the United States Supreme Court by examining a number of the Court's decisions from the 18th Century to the present. We shall develop evaluative criteria by discussing the Court's proper role in the tripartite sharing of governmental powers among Congress, the President, and the Judiciary and by applying the criteria to cases that we deem most interesting and relevant for concerned citizens. The cases may be selected by the class from topics of interest and relevance to concerned citizens: the powers of Congress, the President, and the Courts; religious liberty; freedom of expression; the right to bear arms; property rights; rights of the accused; cruel and unusual punishment; the division of authority among the nation, the states, and Indian tribes; voting rights; privacy; and racial, gender, and sexual equality.
The class will meet two hours each week from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., for three weeks, October 7, 14, and 21, at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 932 Waterfront Drive, Eureka, CA.
Week 1. During the first week the class will develop tentative evaluative criteria by discussing the Constitutional framework of the Court, as well as reviewing the procedures by which it operates, and then select topics of interest and specific cases for evaluation.
Week 2. The second week the class will study four to six cases, depending upon their complexity, and consider modifying the tentative evaluative criteria. Class members will explain to each other why they evaluate the Court's decisions as legitimate or illegitimate, good or bad.
Week 3. The third week the class will study three or four more cases and conclude by summarizing its overall evaluation of the Court.
Helpful Books and Articles
- Ackerman, Seth. 2001. "Burn the Constitution," Jacobin, Issue 2.
- Breyer, Stephen. 2005. Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution. New York: Random House.
- _____ . 2010. Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View. New York: Knopf.
- Chemerinsky, Erwn. 2006. Constitutional Law: Principles and Politics. New York: Aspen.
- NeJaime, Douglas. 2013. "Constitutional Change, Courts, and Social Movements," Michigan
Law Review, 111 (April): 877-902. http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/111/6/NeJaime.pdf.
- Lattman, Peter. 2013. "Tribes Challenge New York's Authority Over Their Lending," The New York Times, September 12.
- Liptak, Adam. 2013. "Supreme Court Has Deep Docket in Its New Term," The New York Times, October 7.
- Persily, Nathaniel, Jack Citrin, and Patrick J. Egan. 2008. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Raphael, Ray. 2013. "Originalism," Constitutional Myths. New York: The New Press, pp. 153-175.
- Roosevelt, Kermit III. 2006. The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense
of Supreme Court Decisions. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Rosenwald, Michael S. 2013. "Secession Fights Rage on across U.S.: Siskkiyou County Latest to Join the Movement," The Washington Post/Times Standard, September 4.
- Scalia, Antonin. 1997. A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Tribe, Laurence, and Michael C. Dorf. 1991. On Reading the Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Toobin, Jeffrey. 2012. "Money Unlimited," The New Yorker, May 21.
- Wong, Catherine. 2013. "Jefferson Advocates Look to Humboldt: Modoc Joins Siskiyou in Secession Effort." Times-Standard September 25.
Useful Web Sites