Balkin– Con Law Fall 2016 Syllabus

Constitutional Law

Professor Jack M. Balkin

Yale Law School


Unless otherwise noted, all page references are to Brest, Levinson, Balkin, Amar and Siegel, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (6th ed. 2014). Readings in the 2016 Supplement to the casebook are noted as “2016 Supplement.”

1. Introduction: Interpreting the Constitution (8/29/2016)

  • The Constitution of the United States, pp. 1-15
  • James Madison’s Speech on the Bank, pp. 31-34
  • Note on the Second Bank, p. 39-40
  • McCulloch v. Maryland and Notes, pp. 41-55, 67-75
  • Note on Constitutional Interpretation, pp. 57-67
  • Note on the Louisiana Purchase, pp. 152-55

2. Constitutional Interpreters I (8/30/2016)

A. Judicial Review

  • Note on Judicial Review before Marbury, pp. 110-112
  • The Election of 1800 and Notes, pp. 112-117
  • Stuart v. Laird and Notes, pp. 117-121
  • Marbury v. Madison and Notes, pp. 121-138
  • Theories of Judicial Review, pp. 138-152 (note Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, pp. 142-143)
  • Notes on Federal Jurisdiction, pp. 1086-1090

B. What if the President disagrees with the Court about the meaning of the Constitution?

  • Andrew Jackson’s Veto Message and Notes, pp. 77-82
  • Note on Presidential Authority, pp. 82-85
  • Attorney General Holder letter on the Defense of Marriage Act and Notes 1-2, pp. 1683-1688

3. Constitutional Interpreters II (9/06/2016)

A. Nullification and the early debate over freedom of expression

  • Notes on the Sedition Act of 1798, pp. 93-102
  • The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and the Doctrine of Nullification, pp. 102-110

B. “Commerce among the several states” and the “General Welfare”

  • Gibbons v. Ogden and Notes, pp. 189-201
  • Note on Language, Purpose, and Meaning, pp. 201-208
  • Notes on The General Welfare, Disaster Relief, and Internal Improvements, 208-216
  • Note on Interstate Federalism and the National Economy, pp. 906-912

4. The Jacksonian Era and Slavery (9/12/2016)

  • Note on the Natural Law Tradition and Calder v. Bull, pp. 165-173 (Note particularly Barron v. City of Baltimore, p. 171)
  • Notes on Slavery, pp. 249-252
  • Notes and Prigg v. Pennsylvania, pp. 255-265
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford and Notes, pp. 265-293
  • Frederick Douglass, The Constitution of the United States: Is it Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery? and Notes, pp. 293-297
  • Notes on Secession, pp. 301-314
  • Note on the Confederate Constitution, pp. 314-316

5. The Civil War and the War Power (9/13/2016)

  • The Prize Cases, pp. 317-321
  • Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Notes, pp. 1007-1027
  • Note on the Power to Wage War, pp. 1027-1036
  • Note on The War Against ISIL (available on course website)
  • Lincoln and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus, pp. 321-325
  • Note on the Emancipation Proclamation, pp. 325-329
  • Note on Reverence for Law, pp. 329-332

6. Reconstruction and Reaction I– Adoption of the Reconstruction Amendments  (9/19/2016)

  • The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, pp. 11-12
  • History of the Adoption of the Reconstruction Amendments, pp. 347-354
  • Senator Howard’s Speech on the Fourteenth Amendment and Notes, pp. 354-363
  • Note on The Unusual Procedural History of the Fourteenth Amendment, pp. 364-372
  • The Slaughterhouse Cases and Notes, pp. 372-389
  • United States v. Cruikshank and Notes, pp. 390-391
  • Notes on Birthright Citizenship, pp. 400-403

7. Reconstruction and Reaction II–The Privileges and Immunities of National Citizenship (9/20/2016)

  • Women’s Citizenship in the Antebellum Era, pp. 185-189
  • Bradwell v. Illinois and Notes, pp. 391-393
  • Note on The New Departure and Minor v. Happersett, pp. 394-400
  • Strauder v. West Virginia and Notes, pp. 405-412
  • The Civil Rights Cases and Notes, pp. 412-426
  • Notes on the meaning of “slavery,” pp. 501-503

8. Reconstruction and Reaction III– The Reconstruction Amendments and Race (9/23/2016 at 2:00pm)

  • Plessy v. Ferguson and Notes, pp. 426-439
  • Charles Black, the Lawfulness of the Segregation Decisions, pp. 439-441
  • Note on The Spirit of Plessy and Giles v. Harris, pp. 441-444

9. The Lochner Era (9/26/2016)

A. Police Powers Jurisprudence

  • Notes on the Rise of Due Process Protection Against State Economic Regulation, pp. 476-479
  • Note on the Application of the Bill of Rights to the States, pp. 479-483
  • Lochner v. State of New York and Notes, pp. 483-489
  • Notes on the Jurisprudence of the Lochner Era, pp. 489-497

B. The Decline of Police Powers Jurisprudence

  • Nebbia v. New York and Notes, pp. 563-565
  • Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell and Notes, pp. 565-574
  • Notes and West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, pp. 574-577

10. The New Deal and the Emergence of the Modern Paradigm of Judicial Scrutiny (9/27/2016)

  • U.S. v. Carolene Products Co. and Notes, pp. 577-584
  • Williamson v. Lee Optical Co. and Notes, pp. 584-591
  • Note on Constitutional Modernity, pp. 553-554
  • Note on Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Against the States, pp. 554-562

11. The New Deal Struggle over National Power and the Emergence of the Modern Regulatory State (9/30/2016 at 2:00pm)

A. Dual Federalism

  • Notes and Champion v. Ames, pp. 503-510
  • Hammer v. Dagenhart and Notes, pp. 510-518
  • Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. and Notes, pp. 518-521
  • Note on the Spending Power, pp. 521-524

B. The New Deal

  • Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States and Notes, pp. 613-615
  • Carter v. Carter Coal Co. and Notes, pp. 615-622
  • United States v. Butler and Notes, pp. 622-626

C. The Revolution of 1937

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fireside Chat on the Court Packing Plan, pp. 626-630
  • NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. and Notes, pp. 630-631
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Speech on Constitution Day, pp. 632-634
  • United States v. Darby and Notes, pp. 634-637
  • Wickard v. Filburn and Notes, pp. 637-640
  • Note on Constitutional Revolution, pp. 640-642
  • Notes on the Taxing and Spending Powers, pp. 642-648

12. The Warren Court and the Civil Rights Movement (10/11/2016)

  • Notes on The Civil Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pp. 648-654
  • Note on Congressional Power to Pass the Civil Rights Bill, pp. 654-656
  • Heart of Atlanta Motel and Katzenbach v. McClung, pp. 656-660
  • Note on the Reconstruction Power in the Civil Rights Era, pp. 660-661
  • Note on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, pp. 662-666
  • Notes and South Carolina v. Katzenbach, pp. 667-670
  • Katzenbach v. Morgan and Notes, pp. 670-687
  • Jones v. Alfred Mayer Co. and Notes, pp. 687-689

13. The Contemporary Debate over National Power I (10/17/2016)

A. The Commerce Power

  • Introduction, pp. 697-698
  • United States v. Lopez and Notes, pp. 698-724 (note also U.S. v. Morrison, pp. 720-721, and Gonzales v. Raich, pp. 721-723)
  • Taylor v. United States, 2016 Supplement, pp. 3-4
  • NFIB v. Sebelius and Notes, pp. 724-748
  • United States v. Comstock, pp. 748-752

B. The Taxing Power

  • NFIB v. Sebelius and Notes, pp. 752-761

C. The Spending Power

  • Note on the Spending Clause and South Dakota v. Dole, pp. 761-763
  • NFIB v. Sebelius and Notes, pp. 763-776
  • King v. Burwell and Notes, 2016 Supplement, pp. 4-11

14. The Contemporary Debate over National Power II (10/18/2016)

A. The Treaty Power

  • Missouri v. Holland and Notes, pp. 524-527
  • Bond v. United States, pp. 774-780

B. Congressional Power to Enforce the Civil War Amendments

  • City of Boerne v. Flores and Notes, pp. 780-801 (note United States v. Morrison, pp. 794-797)
  • Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, pp. 801-825

15. The Contemporary Debate over National Power III (10/24/2016)

A. Implied Limits on Federal Regulation of the States

  • New York v. United States and Notes, pp. 850-869
  • Printz v. United States and Notes 1-6, pp. 869-882
  • Note on the New Nationalism, 2016 Supplement, pp. 11-17
  • Hans v. Louisiana and Notes, pp. 527-529
  • Alden v. Maine and Notes on the Eleventh Amendment, pp. 882-887

B. Presidential Power

  • NLRB v. Noel Canning , pp. 974-983
  • Note: The constitutional controversy over Justice Scalia’s replacement, 2016 Supplement, pp. 44-52
  • United States v. Texas, 2016 Supplement, pp. 88-97

16. The Modern Debate over Racial Equality (10/25/2016)

A. Brown and Its Legacy

  • Notes on the Background to the School Desegregation Case, pp. 1093-1098
  • Brown v. Board of Education, Bolling v. Sharpe, and Notes, pp. 1099-1106
  • The Southern Manifesto and Notes, pp. 1106-1108
  • Brown and the Original Understanding, pp. 1108-1113
  • Four Decades of School Desegregation, pp. 1113-1128
  • Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Notes, pp. 1296-1332

17. The Antidiscrimination Principle (10/31/2016)

A. Anticlassification and Antisubordination

  • Korematsu v. United States and Notes, pp. 1132-1139
  • Note on Per Curiam Decisions Following Brown v. Board of Education, p. 1139
  • Loving v. Virginia and Notes, pp. 1139-1152

B. The Reach of the Suspect Classification Doctrine

  • Johnson v. California and Notes, pp. 1152-1153
  • Note on Child Custody and Placement Policies, pp. 1153-1155
  • Note on Government Collection and Use of Racial Data, pp. 1155-58
  • Note on Four Concepts of Race, pp. 1158-1160

18. What Constitutes Discrimination “based on” Race? (11/01/2016)

A. Discriminatory Intention

B. Race and the Criminal Process

19. Affirmative Action (11/07/2016)

  • Notes and Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, pp. 1231-1238
  • Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., and Notes, pp. 1241-1255
  • Note on Affirmative Action and the Original Understanding, pp. 1260-1266
  • Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, pp. 1266-1296
  • Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Fisher II), 2016 Supplement, pp. 109-125

20. Gender Classifications and Gender Equality (11/08/2016)

  • Introduction, pp. 1373-1381
  • Frontiero v. Richardson and Notes, pp. 1381-1390
  • Note on the Equal Rights Amendment, pp. 1390-1397
  • Note on the Nineteenth Amendment, pp. 1397-1399
  • Cases and Notes on Intermediate Scrutiny, pp. 1399-1405
  • Note on Intermediate Scrutiny and the Race-Gender Analogy, pp. 1411-1413
  • United States v. Virginia and Notes, pp. 1413-1434
  • Note on Intermediate Scrutiny and Single-Sex Education, pp. 1437-1441
  • Note on Affirmative Action and Intermediate Scrutiny, pp. 1441-1442
  • Note on Pregnancy as a Justification for Sex-Differentiated Treatment of Men and Women, pp. 1442-1445
  • Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney and Notes, pp. 1453-1462
  • Geduldig v. Aiello and Notes, pp. 1463-1466
  • Maggie Murphy, Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Birthright Citizenship Case- Lynch v. Morales-Santana, Immigration Blog, June 28, 2016,

21. Equal Protection and Fundamental Rights (11/14/2016)

A. Other Suspect Classifications

  • Cases and Notes on Alienage and the Equal Protection Clause, pp. 1352-1372
  • Other Suspect Bases of Classification, pp. 1487-1490
  • Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center and Notes, pp. 1490-1502

B. Equal Protection and Fundamental Rights

  • Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections and Notes, pp. 1799-1802
  • Note on Protecting the Poor Through the Fourteenth Amendment, pp. 1802-1805
  • Dandridge v. Williams and Notes, pp. 1806-1813
  • San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez and Notes, pp. 1813-1830
  • Note on the Enforceability of Positive Rights, pp. 1837-1842

22. Modern Substantive Due Process: “Privacy,” Sexual Autonomy or Tradition? (11/15/2016)

  • Historical Roots of Fundamental Rights Adjudication, pp. 1505-1510
  • Griswold v. Connecticut and Notes, pp. 1511-1530
  • Note on The Reach of Griswold, pp. 1530-1533
  • Note on Tradition as a Source of Fundamental Rights, pp. 1533-1541
  • Roe v. Wade and Notes, pp. 1541-1560
  • Note: Did Roe Cause the Abortion Conflict?, pp. 1560-1563
  • Abortion and the Equal Protection Clause, pp. 1564-1572

23. Abortion and Gender Discrimination (11/21/2016)

  • Note on Unconstitutional Conditions, pp. 1878-1883
  • Maher v. Roe and Notes, pp. 1884-1893
  • Note on Decisions After Roe, pp. 1573-1578
  • Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and Notes, pp. 1578-1613
  • Gonzales v. Carhart and Notes, pp. 1613-1624
  • Note on Absolute and Incremental Restrictions on Abortion, pp. 1624-1630
  • Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 2016 Supp., pp. 127-148

24. Sexual Orientation– Due Process or Equal Protection? (11/28/2016, 12/29/2016)

  • Introduction, pp. 1630-1632
  • Romer v. Evans and Notes, pp. 1647-1659
  • Lawrence v. Texas and Notes, pp. 1659-1679
  • Note on Liberty, Equality, and Lawrence, pp. 1679-1683
  • Note on Sexual Orientation, Equal Protection, and Heightened Scrutiny, pp. 1683-1690
  • United States v. Windsor and Notes, pp. 1690-1716
  • Note on Backlash and Social Movements, pp. 1717-1719
  • Obergefell v. Hodges, 2016 Supplement at pp. 148-202

25. The Second Amendment and Constitutional Change (12/04/2016)

  • District of Columbia v. Heller and Notes, pp. 1732-1780