Accueil > American civilization : key decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court


Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course will focus on constitutional texts and several of their important doctrines through an examination of historic and modern contexts of key decisions of the Supreme Court. In so doing, the distribution of power over the three branches of the federal government and the states will be discussed. Individual rights and liberties, guaranteed through due process, equal protection and other clauses of the Bill of Rights, along with Amendments passed after the Civil War, will all be primary points of interest. This is a writing-intensive course. In class and home work will require write-ups of short answer worksheets and in-class quizzes or reaction papers. Students will also prepare two well-ordered Briefs or judicial reasoning papers, explaining arguments for positions on a proposed Constitutional Problem/Case, which will serve as preparation for taking part in two Moot Court exams (simulations of the Oral Argument before the Supreme Court). Each student will incarnate a different role for each Moot Court – as Counsel for the Plaintiff or the Defendant, or as one of the Justices of the Court.


LYNDAKER, Ronald (Coordinator for language studies at Sciences Po)

Course validation

- Three Worksheet assignments & Three In class write-ups: 20% - Mid-term (15%) and Final (30%) Brief or Judicial Reasoning paper - Team Co-teaching Case Presentation: 10% - Mid-term (5%) and Final (20%) Moot Court Oral Argument

Required reading

  • U.S. Constitution Annotated : (students will read the Constitution & excerpts of annotations as assigned), - The Library of Congress –Researchers – Virtual Programs & Services
  • Amendments to the Constitution first through tenth amendments (students will read excerpts), Authenticated US gov information -
  • Explore the founding documents : (students should peruse portions of the section on the Constitution), National Archives -
  • Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View (students will read exerpts), Justice Stephen Breyer, Doubleday 2010
  • Making Your Case : The Art of Persuading Judges (students will read exerpts), Judges Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Gamer - West Publishing Company 2008 - See video :