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Constitutional Law Seminar Guide: Home

The guide provides an introduction to the structure and substance of a seminar paper.

Introduction

Introduction

This LibGuide is designed for use by law students in a Constitutional Law Seminar course. 

The broad topic of Constitutional Law examines the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution. Constitutional law sets out the framework for the fundamental relations within American society, including relationships among the states, the states and the federal government, the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) of the federal government, and the rights of the individuals in relation to both the federal and state government. This guide aims to provide a step-by-step process to enable students to successfully complete a seminar paper focused on Constitutional Law.

[Summary, in part,  Constitutional Law, Legal Information Institute, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/constitutional_law

(last visited 02-27/2018).]

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Useful Definitions

Appellate ReviewExamination of a lower court's decision by a higher court, which can affirm, reverse, modify, or vacate the decision.

Executive BranchThe branch of government charged with administering and carrying out the law.

FederalismThe legal relationship and distribution of power between the national and regional governments within a federal system of government.

Judicial BranchThe branch of government consisting of the courts, whose function is to ensure justice by interpreting, applying, and generally administering the laws.

Judicial ReviewA court's power to review the actions of other branches or levels of government; especially the courts' power to invalidate legislative and executive actions as being unconstitutional.

Legislative BranchThe branch of government responsible for enacting laws.

Separation of PowersThe division of governmental authority into three branches of government — legislative, executive, and judicial — each with specified duties on which neither of the other branches can encroach; a constitutional doctrine of checks and balances designed to protect the people against tyranny. 

Stare DecisisThe doctrine of precedent, under which a court must follow earlier judicial decisions when the same points arise again in litigation.

All definitions come from Black’s Law Dictionary