|Everything You Ought To Know About the U.S. Constitution
Greg Woods, J.D.
Join us to examine historical, philosophical, and legal sources responsible for the creation and interpretation of rights and remedies reflected in the Constitution of the United States.
Explore essential rights and remedies reflected in the seven articles and twenty-seven amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America, identify and understand legislative intent, judicial precedent, those factors influencing public policy and dynamics impacting relationships between individuals and the justice system in an ongoing effort to resolve conflict and preserve civil rights.
Week 1 - Introductions/Course overview; Why a constitution? Historical, Philosophical and Sociological foundations of the Constitution of the United States:
A one size fits all approach: Code of Hammurabi, Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, Golden Rule & Magna Carta; Conflict, Consensus and the Western Tradition; The Enlightenment Outlook & Natural Law; English Common Law in the “New World”; Limits of the Law & Government Action: Seven Articles and Twenty-Seven Amendments; Discussion.
Week 2 - Does it work? Sources of Legal Authority:
Constitutions, Statutes & Case Law; The Supreme Law of the Land (Article VI, Section 2); Checking and Balancing Power Through Its Separation (Articles I, II & III); Judicial Review & the Power of Precedent (Article III, Section 2); Laws as Expressions of Community Demand; To Peaceably Assemble & Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances (First Amendment);Discussion.
Week 3 - What rights? Legislative Solutions to Society’s Problems & Civil Rights:
Notions of Life, Liberty & Property; Clear, Understandable and Accessible Laws; Standing & the Bill of Rights; The Privileges and Immunities Clause (Article IV, Section 2); Substantive &
Procedural Due Process (Fifth & Fourteenth Amendments); Equal Protection (Fourteenth Amendment); The Right to Privacy; Unreasonable Search & Seizure; Reasonable Suspicion, Probable Cause & Warrants (Fourth Amendment); Constitutional Remedies: Exclusionary Rule & Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine; Discussion.
Week 4 - Self-defense? Guns & Security (Second Amendment) & Property & Surveillance (Fourth, Fifth, Tenth & Fourteenth Amendments):
Castle Doctrines & Stand-Your-Ground Laws; Civic Duties to Respond and Report Crime & Jury Service (Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments); Rights to Privacy; Taxation (Sixteenth Amendment); Discussion.
Week 5 - Punishment? Justice: From Arrest to Release (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth & Fourteenth Amendments):
Eliminating Private Vengeance & Self Help; Right to Counsel (Sixth Amendment); Sex Crimes, Public Disclosure & California Penal Code Section 290; Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, the “Three Strikes” sentence enhancement, Proposition 47 and prison realignment in California; Discussion.
Week 6 - Over there? Legislative Intent & Presidential Discretion; Formal Declarations of War & Foreign Policy (Article I, Section 8):
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States (Article II, Section 2); The Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385) outlaws the willful use of any part of the United States military to execute the law unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress; Discussion; Final thoughts.
Greg Woods, J.D. is a Lecturer with the Department of Justice Studies at San Jose State, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies at Sonoma State, and has taught with the Department of Criminal Justice Studies at SF State University. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from San Francisco Law School.