Law 798:  Illinois Constitutional Law and Policy

This experiential course will provide students with an in-depth first hand review of the state in operation from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Current topics include the state’s budget and pension problems, political stalemates between the governmental branches, gerrymandering, the impeachment process, and home rule issues between the state and local governments. 

Frequent guest speakers will bring students to the forefront of Illinois law and politics. Past guest speakers included Supreme and Appellate Court Justices, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Treasurer, a State Senator, a State Representative, Champaign’s Mayor, practitioners, and lobbyists from political interest groups who discussed the relevant day’s legal topic and its practical application directly with the students. A field trip to Springfield also ensured that the students could observe and learn about the Illinois Legislature and the Illinois Supreme Court from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

To prepare for their future legal careers, students will role-play by arguing various Illinois constitutional issues, provide constitutional advice to clients, and function as Illinois governmental employees. Students will be graded based on participation and a research paper, on a topic of their choosing. Prior students wrote on the following topics: criminal law, financial regulation, education policy, and state funded retirement plans. 

This course is eligible to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

Sequence and Prerequisites Constitutional Law I

Evaluation:  Students will be graded on attendance, preparation, and active participation in class and the submission of a paper, well-researched and written, on a topic involving the Illinois government mutually agreed-upon and orally presented to the class. The instructor will review a draft outline of the paper and provide assistance, where necessary, to enhance the writing experience. 

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