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1L - First Year Lesson Topics

Constitutional Aspects of Environmental Law: Federal Preemption

This lesson discusses the role of federal preemption in the implementation of environmental law. Specifically, when do federal environmental and natural resources statutes preempt, or displace, state laws on similar subjects? When are states free to enact their own environmental protections? What is the relationship between federal environmental law and state torts?

Constitutional Issues in Defamation

This lesson assumes the basic issues in defamation have already been covered. Before working with this lesson, the lessons on Basic Issues in Defamation and Privileges and Libel and Slander should have already been reviewed. The material here will use that basic information to study the Constitutional issues that now control defamation. Among those issues are public and private figures, actual malice, burdens of proof, and damages.

Constitutional Powers and Structures Review for Family Law

This lesson is intended as an overview of Constitutional Law principles that are important in Family Law. It can be used at the beginning of the Family Law course as a refresher of Constitutional Law. It can also be used during the course to clarify general constitutional doctrine. This lesson is related to two other lessons regarding constitutional aspects of Family Law.

Constitutional Aspects of Family Law

This lesson is an examination of the constitutional law aspects of Family Law. It builds upon lessons which provide a review of Constitutional Law in the Family Law context, but is much more detailed. It is intended as a supplement and review of constitutional doctrine as it occurs in specific Family Law areas such as marriage, divorce, parenting, procreation, sexuality, the rights of minors, and end-of life issues.

Constitutional Limitations: 8th Amendment

This exercise provides a general overview of the Eighth Amendment as it applies to substantive criminal law. It outlines the Amendment's potential scope as well as its actual reach, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court. Procedural criminal law (and the Court's capital punishment jurisprudence in particular) is ignored, except insofar as it bears on substantive criminal law or helps to define the Amendment's scope.

Constitutional Limitations: Legality

In this exercise, students get an overview of the principle of legality. Legality is divided into four subtopics: legislativity, retroactivity, vagueness, and lenity, which are addressed in turn. Particular attention is paid to the following issues: constitutional foundations; applicability to the states; applicability to the making or the interpretation of criminal laws, and to the legislature or the judiciary; applicability to criminal and civil law, and to substantive and procedural criminal law in particular.

Constitutional Placement of the Administrative Process

Note: This lesson uses Flash and is unable to be viewed on a device that does not have the Flash player installed. Scoring for this lesson is also unavailable at this time.

This lesson provides a graphic exploration of the complex and ambiguous placement of the administrative process in our constitutional scheme and the relationship of that process to the legislative, executive and judicial branches.