PS 362

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PS 362, also known as American Constitutional Law I, is the first in a two-term set of courses on American Supreme Court jurisprudence offered at Knox. It counts for 1 credit, and is currently taught by Lane Sunderland.

Course Description[edit]

Official Course Description[edit]

"The law of the Constitution as developed by decisions of the United States Supreme Court: the role of the judiciary, judicial review, and separation of powers; the relationship of the states to the national government, the powers of Congress and the President."[1]

Credits and Prerequisites[edit]

The course is worth one credit (PS 363, the sequel course, is also worth one credit). The course counts toward satisfying the Oral Presentation and Writing requirements. The recommended prerequisite is sophomore standing.


  • Constitutional Law 15th edition, by Kathleen M. Sullivan and Gerald Gunther, ISBN 978-1587787768.
  • Constitutional Law 2006 supplement by Kathleen M. Sullivan and Gerald Gunther, ISBN 978-1599411682.

Course Format[edit]

The format of the course consists of a review of Supreme Court justices' opinions on dozens of landmark Supreme Court cases over a range of issues, as found in condensed form in the texts. The cases span challenges to amendment rights, separation of powers, state rights, and so on. Students are required to summarize the opinions presented in each case (majority/plurality, concurring, and dissenting) for homework. About two or three cases are discussed each day. For each case, Professor Sunderland picks one student to read their summary, and discussion ensues. Each student is allowed one free day if they don't have the summary when called, but he often takes volunteers if there are any. The entire class cycles through in half a term, and the list is reset, although some ultimately are called on more than once in a cycle. There is an essay midterm as well as an essay final. A term paper of 15-20 pages is also assigned, in which students must take (pre-assigned) sides in a Supreme Court case currently under consideration and write a legal breif defending that position. In PS 363, oral arguments based on the brief are made to a federal district judge in Chicago.

Course Schedule[edit]

Typically, the course is offered each winter term (with PS 363 in Spring Term), but due to Professor Sunderland's leave for the first part of the 2007-2008 year PS 362 will be offered in the spring and PS 363 not at all in that year.


Term Days Period Location Instructor
Spring 2008 MWF 5 Lane Sunderland


Term Days Period Location Instructor
Winter 2007 MWF 5 GDH 105 Lane Sunderland

Court Brief Case: Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. ___ (Partial-Birth Abortion, 2007)


Term Days Period Location Instructor
Winter 2006 MWF 5 GDH 309B Lane Sunderland

Court Brief Case: GI Forum v. Perry, 547 U.S. ___ (Texas Redistricting, 2006)