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Constitutional Law II

B668 is taught by D. Conkle, D. Johnsen, S. Williams

This course will focus on the First Amendment. We will spend the first two thirds of the semester examining freedom of speech, including issues that arise from attempts to prohibit or regulate incitement to violence, fighting words, defamation, racist speech, obscenity, pornography, offensive expression, and commercial speech. We also will discuss the regulation of symbolic conduct such as flag burning, the use of injunctions to restrict speech, and the constitutionality of permit requirements and other limitations on speakers access to public property, including parks and streets. The remainder of the course will focus on the Supreme Court s rapidly evolving doctrine under the First Amendment s religion clauses, which forbid laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Among other cases, we will consider the Court s decisions concerning prayer and religion in the public schools, legislative prayer, governmental sponsorship of religiously themed public displays or monuments, and the inclusion of religious schools and organizations in grant and voucher programs. We also will address the increasingly controversial issue of whether religious objectors should be exempted from otherwise applicable laws.

We will be using Noah R. Feldman and Kathleen M. Sullivan, Constitutional Law, Twenty-First Edition (Foundation Press, 2022). (There will be no need to purchase a separate supplement from the publisher.) The course will include both lecture and discussion. Constitutional Law I (first-year Constitutional Law) is a prerequisite, although there is no direct connection between this course and any particular section of Constitutional Law I, and it does not matter who you had as your professor for that course.

This course covers issues that are important for any lawyer. Indeed, the First Amendment is a required subject at many law schools.