Colorado School of Mines

Prof. Rich Levine (Adjunct), Room (Hill Hall 202): Monday evenings 6:00 PM to 8:45PM

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»  Office Hours:  By appointment Monday 5:30 PM or as otherwise scheduled

»   Textbook: REQUIRED:  The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, by Linda R. Monk, 2015 Edition REQUIRED Click Here

»   Grade Composition:  Attendance and Participation (25%); Term Paper (25%); Quizzes (25%); Final Exam (25%).

»  CSM Academic Calendar

»  The Colorado School of Mines is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, including students with disabilities. If you are registered with Disability Support Services (DSS) and I have received your letter of accommodations, please contact me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course. For questions or other inquiries regarding disabilities, I encourage you to visit for more information. 

TERM PROJECT and ESSAY:  Due November 4, 2019, 6:00 PM 

1.  Combine Art and Essay:  Prepare any form of artistic expression as music, video, or graphic representation (painting, ink, pencil) of any American symbol(s) featured artistically in a manner that expresses some aspect of your personal view of what the Constitution represents.  It can be done as a single artistic piece, or digitized. 

Your piece must be accompanied by a one-page narrative of what the piece is, and what it represents. 

2.  You must write a 6 page essay in which you select any case covered in class (including the textbook, website …) and: (1) write a brief summary of the facts; (2) state the legal question involved; (3) analyze the question by applying your Constitutionalist perspective to it; (4) state your conclusion as to the outcome.  In terms of your Constitutionalist perspective, you should state:

your premises/principles (for example, which liberty interest(s) is at stake, which governmental power is is being exercised, how the government’s power and the liberty at-stake should be balanced);

how you are construing the text (strictly and literally or applying modern standards; are you doing this by applying historic materials like the Federalist Papers, using international standards or social science data …).

Format of essay:  Arial 12 pt, 1.5 space, 1″ margins, page count includes sources.  Chicago style guide is perfect.

Weekly Assignments/Topics/Schedule:  Constitutional Law and Politics:  LAIS 485

Week One (August 19, 2019):  Introductions and Expectations. History; Jurisprudence; Worldview.

Assignment (Access via these links):  Declaration of Independence; US ConstitutionKhizr Khan; Jefferson on Liberty; What is meant by “Politics”

Weeks Two and Three (August 26, 2019 and September 9, 2019):  The Words We Live By: PP 10-63; 121-124.  E-book “Part I: Preamble; Article I; Article VI)

In Class:  (these are not assigned, but will be covered in class)

Media Resource:  1619 Project (NY Times Special Event)(begin 18:00 and 1:32:00).  Commemorating 400 years … 8/20/1419

Media Resource  Liberty and the American Revolution (Part VI)

Media Resource (begin 7:34 – 37:40) Slavery and the Making of America

Racial aspects of National Anthem: National Anthem vid

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Beto O’Rourke:  The current context of the discussion.


Week Four (September 16, 2019):

Quiz 1 weeks 1-3

The Words We Live By: PP 64-107; 217-234.  E-book “Article II and Article III; Amendment XIV.  

In Class Resources:

1. Dred Scott (Minnesota History)

2. Dred Scott (S Ct centric)

3.  Civil War and Slavery (Col Seidule, USMA West Point)

4.  Ken Burns – Slavery is the Sleeping Serpent from 1776 to the Civil War

Week Four (September 17, 2019): CONSTITUTION DAY LECTURE:

Week Five (September 23, 2019):    The Bill of RightsIncorporation of the 14th Amendment; Concepts of Liberty and Equal Protection .  Liberty Rights (14th Amendment) The Words We Live By:  pp 218-235

In Class Resources:  Reconstruction Amendments and 14th Amendment (II)

Useful Vid – Homework:  Equal Protection

Week Six (September 30, 2019):  Freedom of Speech;  First Amendment (Creationism and Evolution through Scopes) Darrow (Scopes; Epperson; Leopold and Loeb); Freedom of Religion  

Week Seven (October 7, 2019):  Quiz 2 weeks 4-6 ; New Supreme Court.  Rights of the Accused:  Fourth Amendment; Fifth Amendment; Right to Counsel (6th Amendment) 


Week Eight (October 21, 2019):  From Plessy to Loving (and beyond): Racial Seperation is Unequal in Place and Rights; Unequal Socioeconomic Realities Remain Constitutional.

San Antonio v. Rodriquez; Unequal socio-economic status in education.

Week Nine (October 28, 2019):  Bio-facts of Current Justices; NPR on Religious Affiliations of Justices; Fantasy SCOTUS and SCOTUSBlog. The Current Supreme Court.  The Justice Spotlight: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Charlie Rose Interview; Part II); Stephen Breyer.  Flix! – RBG movie

Week Ten (November 4, 2019): Term Papers and Projects Due. Copyright and the Constitution:  Your Ideas Are ProtectedDeath Penalty: Case Resources (Furman; Gregg v GA). 

Week Eleven (November 11, 2019):    Term Project Presentations    

Week Twelve (November 18, 2019):  Term Project Presentations    (con’t).  The Electoral College; Voting and Amending the Constitution.  Film (One Woman, One Vote) in class.

Quiz 3 weeks 7-10 (submit by 11/21)

Week Thirteen (November 25, 2019): Marriage Equality/Obergefell Case Study Resources: (i) NYTimes Video Summary; (ii) Oyez Summary (incl. Audio); (iii) Opinion and dissents; (iv) QuotesJudicial branch topics: Life Tenure.

Week Fourteen (December 2, 2019): Final Exam Review