Past Grade Distributions
Thomas Jefferson argued that each generation has the right to govern itself and thus constitutions should last for no longer than nineteen years. A recent academic study found that in fact the average life of constitutions across the globe is around nineteen years. While the U.S. Constitution is of much greater vintage, State constitutions have indeed been rewritten more frequently. When one takes constitutional amendments into consideration, there is a much greater degree of constitutional change then what we normally assume. The last two decades have produced many new constitutions and a variety of constitution-making processes around the globe, often with direct involvement by U.S. lawyers serving as advisors to different parties. Furthermore, drafting constitutions, whether for clubs, corporations or communities is more ubiquitous than what we often assume. Students in this course will both explore the theory and practice of constitution-making as well as engage in a semester long simulation in which the class will be divided into different groups who will represent different specified interests. Based on a simulated state-of-affairs they will negotiate and produce their own draft constitution over the course of the semester. The class will meet for two 80-minute classes per week with the first class discussing the theory and history of different constitution-making experiences both in the United States and from a comparative perspective. The second class of each week will be devoted to the simulation, in which the groups will both work together and negotiate with one another based on short written position papers and presentations each group will make related to the different constitutional issues that will be discussed and negotiated in class. The final grade will be based both on the position papers as well as a long paper on any aspect of constitution-making a student chooses to focus on.