Michael D. Ramsey

              Professor of Law, University of San Diego Law School

Constitutional Law I, Spring 2015 Course Webpage




Class Meetings:    Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 am - 11:50 am


Office Hours:     Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Textbook:  Kathleen Sullivan & Noah Feldman, Constitutional Law (18th edition, Foundation, 2013).

Additional assignments may be made from materials available online.


Note:  The seventeenth edition of the casebook is not an acceptable substitute.  Apologies for any misinformation.




This space will be used for announcements regarding class cancellations, make-ups, optional events of interest, and other updates regarding the course schedule.


Writing Assignment No. 3 is due on Thursday 4/23 at 9:00 am.


Thursday 4/23 is the last class meeting.  I will continue to hold regular office hours next week but class will not meet on Tuesday 4/28 per the law school calendar.


Review Session (with Brett Crowell) on Wednesday, April 29, at 9:00 am to 10:00 am, Warren Hall 2B.




This space will be used to post assignments for each class meeting; these assignments will also be announced in class.  After the first assignment, assignments will be keyed to the course Reading Lists.  The Reading Lists for Units 1, 2 and 3 are available below.


Assignment for Thursday, April 23, 2015


Writing Assignment No. 3 [available below] is due on Thursday 4/23 at 9:00 am.

Also, complete Reading List Part IX, focus on O’Brien, Texas v. Johnson and Barnes v. Glen Theatre.

This is the last assignment of the semester.


Assignment for Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Reading List Part VIII.A-D, focus on Kovacs, LaDue, and Grace.

Reading List Part VIII.E, focus on Adderly, Greer and Kokinda.


Assignment for Thursday, April 16, 2015


Reading List Part VII.


Assignment for Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Reading List Part VI.


Assignment for Thursday, April 9, 2015


Reading List Part V.


Assignment for Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Reading List Part IV, focus on Brandenburg, Planned Parenthood and New York Times v. United States.


Optional: for an interesting set of facts involving threats, look at the briefs in the pending Supreme Court case Elonis v. United States, available here:


Petitioner’s brief

Respondent’s brief


Assignment for Thursday, April 2, 2015


Unit 3 Reading List, Part III, focus on the hypothetical [available below].


Assignment for Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015


New Reading List (First Amendment) [available below], Parts I and II, focus on Smith and Lukumi.


Assignment for Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015


Writing Assignment No. 2 (Federalism) [available below] is due on Thursday 3/26 at 9:00 am.

Also, read Reading List Part VIII (a very short assignment).


Assignment for Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015


Reading List Part VII, focus on Philadelphia v. New Jersey, Hunt, Exxon, and Kassel.


Assignment for Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015


Reading List Part VI, focus on Gade and Crosby [in the supplemental reading available below].


Assignment for Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015


Reading List Part V, focus on Gregory v. Ashcroft [in the supplemental reading available below], New York v. United States, and Printz v. United States.


Assignment for Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015


Reading List Part IV, focus on NFIB v. Sebelius (parts 2 and 3) and South Dakota v. Dole


Assignment for Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2015


Reading List Part III.D. (hypotheticals; available below).  Note: these should be prepared for discussion in class but do not need to be turned in.

Also, review the cases from the prior assignment (Lopez, Morrison, Raich and NFIB v. Sebelius) to assess how they relate to the hypotheticals.


No class Tuesday, Mar. 3 or Thursday, Mar. 5 (Spring Break).


Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015


Reading List Part III A, B & C (focus on Lopez, Morrison, Raich and NFIB v. Sebelius)


Assignment for Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015


Unit 2 Reading List, Part II.


Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015


New Reading List (Unit 2, Federalism) (available below), Part I, focus on McCulloch v. Maryland.


Assignment for Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015


Writing Assignment #1 [available below] is due at 9:00 am (by email to me or in my faculty box).

There is no additional reading assignment.


Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015


Reading List Part V F & G (focus on the hypotheticals, available below)


Assignment for Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015


Reading List Part V, A-E, focus on Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, Massachusetts v. EPA, and Clapper v. Amnesty International.  Note: Clapper is not in the casebook and so must be found online.


Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015


Reading List Part IV.B, C & D (but focus on Marbury v. Madison from Part IV.A).


Assignment for Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015


Reading List Part III.E (legislative power hypotheticals, available below)

Reading List Part IV.A (Marbury v. Madison)


Assignment for Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015


Reading List Part III.C & D, focus on the cases in the supplemental reading (available below); we will begin with Morrison v. Olson from the prior assignment


Assignment for Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015


Reading List Part III.A & B, focus on Chadha, Bowsher and Morrison.

Note:  If you want to read ahead, read Supplemental Reading #2 (posted below).  It will be a main part of the assignment for Thursday, 1/29.


Assignment for Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015


Reading List Part II.F, focus on U.S. v. Nixon and Clinton v. Jones.


Assignment for Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015


Reading List, Part II.D & E.  Focus on Dames & Moore and the hypothetical.  You should prepare a response to the hypothetical but you do not need to turn it in.  Prepare the hypothetical before reading the Hamdi case.


Assignment for Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015


Unit 1 Reading List, Part II.A, B & C, focus on the Steel Seizure Case.


Assignment for first class meeting (Tuesday, 1/13/15):  download below. 





Assignment for first class meeting (Jan.13, 2015)

Reading List -- Unit 1


Supplemental Reading #1 (executive power) (for 1/15)

Hypothetical #1 — Executive Power (for 1/20)


Supplemental Reading #2 (legislative power) (for 1/29)

Hypothetical #2 — Legislative Power (for 2/3)


Hypothetical #3 — Standing (for 2/12)


Writing Assignment #1 (Separation of Powers) (due 2/17 at 9 am)


Reading List -- Unit 2

Hypothetical #4 — Commerce Clause (for 3/10)

Supplemental Reading #4 (Gregory and Bond) (for 3/17)

Supplemental Reading #5 (Gade and Crosby) (for 3/19)


Writing Assignment #2 (Federalism) (due 3/26 at 9 am)


Reading List -- Unit 3

Hypothetical #5 — Establishment Clause (for 4/2)


Writing Assignment #3 (First Amendment) (due 4/23 at 9 am)

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