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Course Syllabus Spring 2011

Course Information

Workshop in Constitutional Law


PSCI 6305-501
Wed. 7-9:45 pm Green 3.604

Professor Contact Information

Professor Linda Camp Keith


Office: Green 3.818
Email: linda.keith@utdallas.edu
Phone: 972-883-6481
Office Hours: T/R 3-4 pm and Wed. 6-7 pm
Class calendar and assignments posted on elearning

Course Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and/or Other Restrictions

This is a graduate course. Students should be enrolled in a graduate program or have appropriate
permissions. Students should have completed nine hours of related graduate course work.

Course Description

Students will undertake a major research topic on a law-related matter which will develop skills in
legal research and writing, quantitative research, or field research. The workshop this year will
focus on constitutional design, especially in regard to courts and rights protection, and will examine
the impact of constitutions.

The first half of the course will be taught as a graduate seminar, meaning that directed discussion
will be the primary teaching methodology. In the second half of the course students will engage in
coordinated group research projects that will examine the global set of constitutions and their
impact.

Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Upon completing this course, students will be able to fulfill the following objectives:

Will understand and be able to apply and critique the dominant theoretical debates concerning the
design of constitutions, especially in regard to rights and the judiciary.

Will understand and be able apply and critique theories specific to African constitutionalism and the
role of Islam.

Will be able to assess the role of constitutions and courts generally, and specifically in regard to
authoritarian regimes, African states, Asian, and Islamic countries.

Will be able to assess critically the empirical literature on constitutions and human rights.
Will be able to discuss and assess critically the major works in the empirical constitutions.

Will be able to design and implement measures of constitutional structures and protections, as well
as the related state behavior.

Will be able to engage in qualitative and quantitative analysis using these measurements.

Required Textbooks

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim. 2003. Human Rights under African Constitutions: Realizing the
Promise for Ourselves. Philadelphia: Penn Press.
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim. 2006. African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam. Philadelphia:
Penn Press.
Ginsburg, Thomas. 2003. Judicial Review in New Democracies: Constitutional Courts in Asian
Cases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thomas Ginsburg and Tamir Moustafa (eds.). 2008. Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in
Authoritarian Regimes. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Additional reading will come from scholarly journals. They are listed in the weekly reading schedule
and may be accessed through the UTD journal databases. I will also attempt to have the reference
librarians put on e-reserve as many as possible. The course password will be sent out by email
before class starts--it may not appear in the syllabus under law and various threats. If you access
the syllabus early, you may email me for the class code. I will also post it on our elearning site.

GRADING POLICY

GRADING SCALE:

A+ = 98-100% A = 94-97%
A- = 90-93% B+ = 88-89%
B = 84-87% B- = 80-83%
C+ = 78-79% C = 74-77%
C- = 70-73% D+ = 68-69%
D = 64-67% D- = 60-63%
F = Below 60
GRADING COMPONENTS:

Critical Essays (20%)


Participation, Discussion and Questions (10%)
Midterm (40%)
Construction of Measurements (Codebook), Data Project and Analysis (30%)
PARTICIPATION: In a graduate course, participation in the class seminar is the core learning
methodology. Students are expected to read all of the assigned readings and to come to class prepared
to contribute significantly to the discussion of these materials. Additionally, I may on occasion ask
students to write an in-class response to one of the discussion questions. Students will be graded on the
consistency and quality of their contribution to class discussion.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: For each class period students are responsible for writing TWO discussion
questions for the readings. The questions should be thought-provoking and written to stimulate
scholarly conversation. The questions should be emailed to me as a Word document (do not imbed
into the email) by 1 pm sharp on the day of the assigned readings. I will compile a list that includes a
selection of student questions plus additional questions that will be used for class discussion. I will
email out copies of the list of questions one hour prior to class. Students will be graded on the quality
and timely submission of questions for the class. Late questions will not receive credit.

SHORT ESSAYS: Each week a student will be assigned to write an essay on one of the weeks’ assigned
readings. The essays should be approximately one and a half to two pages, single space in length. These
papers will force you to be concise yet thorough.

For cases studies these essays should include a concise summary of the author’s core thesis and the
arguments he/she makes to support this thesis. The essay should also discuss how this particular
reading fits within the broader set of readings for the week and the essay should include an evaluation
of the arguments the author presents. I expect that each student will write two essays for 10 points
each.

For quantitative studies these essays should include a discussion of the key question the author seeks to
address and should include concise summary of the author’s theoretical expectations and arguments.
And you should discuss how the author tests his/her hypotheses and summarize their findings.
Ultimately should assess the strengths and weakness of study and discuss the implications of the study,
for the broader set of readings that week. Student(s) who write the critical review essay for the week’s
readings will be expected to facilitate class discussion of that week’s readings. Students will sign up for
two articles/chapters the first session we meet. Papers are due at the beginning of class. No late papers
will be accepted.

NOTE: If you are a Ph.D. student (or plan to be one at a future date) I recommend that you do a critical
essay for each reading, even if only in outline form. Then you have your foundation notes for comps.

MIDTERM EXAM: The midterm exam will be an open-notes and open-book take-home exam. No late
exams will be accepted, for any reason. See the schedule below for tentative date, which should be
considered as the last possible date to turn in the paper. Further instructions will come during the
semester.

MISSED CLASS: I will allow one free missed class for a documented university excused absence. If you
miss a second class, you will be allowed to make up the class in writing an additional critical essay. You
may make up ONE class only. Remember this is a seminar class and your assessments are geared
toward in-class participation; therefore, missing a week of class is detrimental to your progress in class.

NO incompletes will be given for this course.

TOPICS AND TENTATIVE READING ASSIGNMENTS:

Each week’s reading will typically include theory and a set of related case studies. Also, we will cover
one to two empirical studies a week, so that students can begin to think about the project well before
midterm. On average for each week you will be reading the equivalent of three to four chapters and
one to two articles. The schedule below is tentative framework. We will adjust as we progress through
the seminar.

January 12 Introduction to Course

Read: Landman, Todd. 2004. “Measuring Human Rights: Principle, Practice and Policy.” Human
Rights Quarterly 26: 906-931.

January 19 Constitutionalism and Constitutional Design

Read
o Elkins, Zachary, Tom Ginsburg, and Justin Blount. 2009. "Does the Process of
Constitution-Making Matter?" Annual Review of Law and Social Science 5: 201-23
o Ran Hirschl. 2004. “The Political Origins of Constitutionalization.” In Towards
Juristocracy. Harvard Press.
o David S. Law. 2010. “Constitutions.” Oxford Handbook on Empirical Legal Studies, 376-
398.
o Foweraker, Joe, and Todd Landman. 2002. “Constitutional Design and Democratic
Performance.” Democratization 9(2): 43-66.

January 26 Human Rights and Constitutions (Focus on Africa)

Read (HR and Constitutions in Africa)


o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter One, Introduction
o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter Two, Ethiopia
o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter Three, Ghana
Read (Empirical)
o Go, Julian. 2003. “A Globalizing Constitutionalism? Views from the Postcolony, 1945-
2000.” International Sociology 18 (1): 71-95.

February 2 Human Rights and Constitutions Continued (Focus on Africa)

Read (HR and Constitutions in Africa)


o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter Six, Mozambique
o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter Eight, Rwanda
o An-Na’im, Human Rights Under African Constitutions, Chapter Seven, South Africa

Read (Empirical)
o Blasi, Gerard J. and David L. Cingranelli, 1996. “Do Constitutions and Institutions Help
Protect Human Rights?” In Cingranelli, ed. Human Rights and Developing Countries,
Greenwich: JAI.
o Davenport, Christian. 1996. “‘Constitutional Promises’ and Repressive Reality: A Cross-
National Time-Series Investigation of Why Political and Civil Liberties are Suppressed,”
Journal of Politics 58:627-54.

February 9 Human Rights and Constitutions Continued

Read (HR and Constitutions in Africa)


o An-Na’im, African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam, Chapters 1-3
Read (Empirical)
o Keith, Linda Camp. DRAFT Chapter Five: Constitutional Provisions for Human Rights as
Protection against Political Repression.” (I will post on elearning)
o Keith, Linda Camp and Ayo Ogundele. 2007. “Legal Systems and Constitutionalism in
Sub-Saharan Africa: An Empirical Examination of Colonial Influences on Human Rights.”
Human Rights Quarterly 29(4):1065-1097.

February 16 Human Rights and Constitutions Continued

Read (HR and Constitutions in Africa)


o An-Na’im, African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam, Chapters 4-6
Read (Empirical)
o Keith, Linda Camp. 2002b. "International Principles for Formal Judicial Independence:
Trends in National Constitutions and Their Impact (1976 to 1996)."Judicature 85: 194-
200.
o Howard, Robert M. and Henry F. Carey. 2004. “Is an Independent Judiciary Necessary for
Democracy?” Judicature 87(6): 284-290.

February 23 Authoritarian Regimes, Courts, and Rule of Law

Read (Authoritarian Regimes)


o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Introduction
o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapter Five (Egypt)
o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapter Seven (Mexico)
o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapter Nine (Uganda and Zimbabwe)
Read (Empirical)
o Keith, Linda Camp and Steven C. Poe. 2004. "Are Constitutional State of Emergency
Clauses Effective? An Empirical Exploration." Human Rights Quarterly 26(4): 1071-1097.

March 2 Authoritarian Regimes, Courts, and Rule of Law

Read (Authoritarian Regimes)


o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapters Ten (Russia)
o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapters Eleven (Turkey and Iran)
o Ginsburg and Moustafa, Rule by Law, Chapters Thirteen (Shapiro)
Read (Empirical)
o Elkins, Zachary, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton. 2009. “How Long Should
Constitutions Endure?” In The Endurance of National Constitutions, 12-35.
o Elkins, Zachary, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton. 2009. “Identifying Risks to
Constitutional Life.” In The Endurance of National Constitutions, 93-121.

March 9 Judicial Review and Constitutional Courts

Read (Judicial Review)


o Ginsburg Judicial Review in New Democracies, Chapters 1-4
Read (Empirical)
o Linda Camp Keith, DRAFT Chapter Four: Political Repression and the Role of the Judiciary
(I will post on elearning)

March 16 SPRING BREAK

March 23 Judicial Review and Constitutional Courts

Read (Judicial Review)


o Ginsburg Judicial Review in New Democracies, Chapters 5-8
Read (Empirical)
o Epstein, Lee, Jack Knight, and Olga Shvetsova. 2001. “The Role of Constitutional Courts
in the Establishment and Maintenance of Democratic Systems of Government.” Law &
Society Review 35(1): 117-63

March 30 Midterm Due and Workshop Informal Class

Assignment: Midterm due at beginning of class


Discuss Measurement and Project Design
Strategies for Collaborative Scholarly Writing
Multi-tasking and Iteration

April 6 Group Presentation and Peer Review of Measurements

Group Presentation and Peer Review of Measurements

April 13 Workshop No Formal Class

Work in lab and individual group appointments as needed (Independent Data Coding)

April 20 Workshop No Formal Class

Work in lab and individual group appointments as needed (Independent Data Coding)

April 27 Workshop No Formal Class

Work in lab and individual group appointments as needed (Independent Data Coding)

May 4 Workshop No Formal Class

Work in lab and individual group appointments as needed (Independent Analysis and
Presentation Writing)

May 11 Presentations and Projects

Projects due at beginning of class.


In class presentation.

UNIVERSITY POLICIES: http://go.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies.

At the above link you may access university policies on: Student Conduct & Discipline, Academic
Integrity, Email Use, Withdrawal from Class, Student Grievance Procedures, Incomplete Grade Policy,
Disability Services, and Religious Holy Days.