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Constitutional Rights Review for Family Law

The purpose of this lesson is to review basic doctrines and theories of individual rights covered in Constitutional Law courses. The lesson covers the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the First Amendment, as they apply in the Family Law context.

This lesson is intended as an overview of Constitutional Rights that are important in Family Law. It can be used at the beginning of the Family Law course as a refresher, or during the course to clarify general doctrine, or at the end of the course as review.

This lesson has two related lessons. Constitutional Powers and Structures Review for Family Law is an overview of the "structures" rather than the "rights" portions of Constitutional Law. The Constitutional Aspects of Family Law is a more extensive lesson which examines the constitutional dimensions of specific areas such as marriage, divorce, parenting, procreation, contraception, sexuality, and other issues.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the relationship of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the doctrine of substantive due process.
  2. Explain substantive due process and the levels of scrutiny courts use for rights that are either fundamental or not fundamental.
  3. Explain the difference between substantive due process and procedural due process.
  4. Define the equal protection doctrine.
  5. Explain why the level of scrutiny often depends upon the classification at issue when applying the equal protection doctrine.
  6. Provide two examples where the First Amendment applies to Family Law issues.
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