12 Modules for Constitutional Law I (Structure and Powers)

Powerpoint Slides and Videos from "An Introduction to Constitutional Law"


This year, professors will have to adapt their classes for distance learning. One helpful tip is to break down the doctrine into small, manageable bites. The buzzword is module, which is synonymous with unit or topic. To help professors, I have divided the corpus of constitutional law into separate modules. Each module will link to a set of Powerpoint slides, as well as previews of videos from An Introduction to Constitutional Law. The slides are free. Students can purchase our book ($23.99) to access the full video library. I encourage professors to consider recommending our supplement for this semester. Our book matches up with all of the leading casebooks. If you would like a review copy, please e-mail me: josh-at-joshblackman-dot-com.

This post will focus on Constitutional Law I (Structure and Powers). Tomorrow I will post sixteen modules for Constitutional Law II (Rights and Equal Protection). And on Wednesday, I will share seven modules for an upper-level First Amendment Class (Speech and Religion).

Module 1: Foundational Cases on Constitutional Structure


Module 2: Enumerated Powers in the 19th Century

Module 3: Enumerated Powers in the Progressive Era 


Module 4: Enumerated Powers During the New Deal


Module 5: Enumerated Powers on the Warren Court


Module 6: Enumerated Powers on the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts


Module 7: The Spending Power


Module 8: The Tenth Amendment


Module 9: The Eleventh Amendment


Module 10: Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment


Module 11: The Executive Power


Module 12: The Separation of Powers

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: July 20, 1990

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  1. These look to be a useful minimum.

  2. You could just sell Rodan & Fields or LipSense like every wine mom on Facebook.

  3. I’m not so sure people are going to accept “Lawschool Via Laptop” — or be willing to pay for it. Last spring was an unanticipated emergency — this fall isn’t.

    1. Ed,
      While the fall semester is an anticipated problem on campus, the need for online instruction remains acute. Any other course of action by university administrators would be negligent.
      Whether students are willing to pay a non-discounted tuition aplus fees is another matter.

  4. The way that the cases are organized, as well as the module headings, indicate that this is a course on the political history of the Constitution, as opposed to constitutional law. Why else would cases be grouped under headings related to the political dynamics of the era, or the individual that served as Chief Justice. For example, why isn’t McCulloch grouped with other Necessary and Proper Clause cases to show how that provision has been interpretative, or Barron with later incorporation cases, to trace lineage of this aspect of constitutional interpretation? What class do students take who want to learn the doctrinal principles of constitutional provisions, as well as how those principles have been applied over time in analogous cases?

    If this is a typical Con Law I course outline, then I understand why law schools are producing partisans and ideological advocates. Why not just hand over the responsibility of legal education to the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society?

    1. Let’s check later this week for how many cases on voter suppression, gerrymandering, criminal procedure, and the death penalty — and how many cases on guns, gays, and God — have made the Federalist-Heritage-Republican-Olin-Bradley cut in The Clingerverse Constitution.

    2. It depends on the Professor. Using Kathleen Sullivan’s Constitutional Law text, my Professor pretty much did the first 7-8 chapters first semester and the balance second semester. Though in the latter part there was a lot more editing because certain concepts like Takings Clause were more part of Property curriculum and more intricate details of First Amendment jurisprudence were saved for advanced classes geared specifically towards that. Chapter 10 was omitted completely because I graduated Law School prior to Shelby County so my Professor probably thought that it was more important spending time on Equal Protection.

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