Constitutional Law

Akiba J. Covitz, PhD, Vice President of University Relations, edX., Harvard Extension School

In this course, we study the Constitution of the United States, the law that develops out of that document, and how that law is made. Most broadly, we focus in this course on the underlying nature of the American constitutional system as it relates to constitutional law. The operation of the American constitutional system of government is contingent on three separated federal powers and the maintenance of relations between the other key actors in that system. One of the central elements of tension in the history of American constitutional law is the ever-changing relationship between the federal government and the states. How does American constitutional law seek balance among all these actors? We also try to understand why it is that the US Supreme Court has become by far the loudest voice in interpreting the text of the Constitution. Are the other branches of government and all the other actors in the American constitutional system (including the elected branches, as well as the individual citizens who elect those branches) less capable of interpreting that text? What other options are there besides the Supreme Court playing this dominant role in interpreting the document that is supposed to be the constitution of all the people? (4 credits)

Law
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  • Language: English Gb

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