Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law
          by Doug Linder (2023)

This site explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround our Nation's founding document. 

Begin your journey by reading the document this site is all about, The Constitution of the United States.

For documents and information relating to the history of the Constitution, jump directly to History. Or see Images

To learn about the Supreme Court (including its history and current cases) and the justices who have served on it, jump to Supreme CourtThere's even a  Supreme Court Humor Page.

To see how justices have divided on recent landmark cases, go to
Landmark Cases.

To test your knowledge of trivia relating to the Constitution, jump to Constitutional Trivia or Bill of Rights Golf.

If you're looking to get hitched up, jump to:
Who Wants to Marry a Founding Father?

What's new? Link to SCOTUSblog (Timely essays on what the Supreme Court is up to)

Cases, Notes & Materials:

Introduction to the Study of Constitutional Law

How the Supreme Court Functions

Constitutional Convention of 1787

The Power of Judicial Review

Theories of Interpretation

Bill of Rights*, Implied Personal Rights & Due Process of Law
*First Amendment materials are listed separately below

The Bill of Rights: Introduction

The Incorporation Debate

Right to Bear Arms

Student Searches

Takings of Property

Jury Size and Unanimity Under the Sixth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment:
Cruel and Unusual Punishments

The Death Penalty

Liberty of Contract?

The Right of Privacy

The Right to an Abortion

Gay Rights

The Right to Die

The Right to Marry

The Family & the Constitution

Is Your Home Your Castle?

Procedural Due Process

Due Process Rights of Students

Does Government Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Lives?

Equal Protection of the Laws

Levels of Scrutiny Under the Equal Protection Clause

Separate but Equal Education: The Road to Brown v Board

Case Study: Brown v Board of Educ. Trial

Proving Unconstitutional Discrimination

The Thirteenth Amendment & the Abolition of Slavery

Winning the Vote for Women: The 19th Amendment 

The Intermediate Scrutiny Test for Sex Classifications/ Equal Rights Amendment

Gender Discrimination in the Schools and Armed Forces

Affirmative Action

Equal Protection Rights of Non-Citizens

Should the Rational Basis Test Have Bite?

Equal Protection and "Fundamental Rights" Analysis

Equal Protection and the Right to Vote

Equal Protection, Poverty, and Inequality of Wealth

Right of New Residents to State Benefits

Racial Discrimination & the State Action Requirement

Powers of the Federal Government & Restrictions on State Power

The Question of States' Rights: The Constitution and Federalism

Introduction to the Powers of Congress:
the Necessary and Proper Clause

The Federal Power to Regulate Commerce

The Federal Power to Tax

The Spending Clause

The Property Power/ Miscellaneous Powers

Powers of Congress Under the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

Presidential Powers: Introduction

Separation of Powers

Limitations on the Power of States to Regulate Commerce

State Power to Regulate Alcohol (the 21st Amendment)

Interstate Taxation and the Commerce Clause

War and Treaty Powers

Constitutional Limitations on the Judicial Power

Political Questions Doctrine

State Discrimination Against Non-Residents

Term Limits & State Regulation of Federal Elections

The Role of States in the Federal System: the 10th Amendment

The 11th Amendment & Sovereign Immunity

The Supremacy Clause and Federal Preemption

Article V: Amending the Constitution

The Electoral College Debate

The Senate Power to "Advise and Consent" & Judicial Confirmations

Inauguration of the President

First Amendment Materials

Introduction to the Free Speech Clause

What is "Speech"?

Prior Restraints on Publication

Clear & Present Danger Test for Subversive Advocacy

Substantial Overbreadth & Vagueness Doctrines

The Press & Fair Trial Issues

Access to (and Protection of) Sources

The First Amendment and Incitement of Unlawful Conduct


Freedom (Not) to Associate

First Amendment Limitations on Civil Liability

Does the First Amendment Protect Lies?

Levels of First Amendment Protection for Different Media

Four-Letter Words and Other Forms of Indecent Speech

Permits and Fees for Marches, Parades, Rallies

Speech Restrictions in the Traditional Public Forum

Time, Place, and Manner Regulations

Speech Restrictions in the Designated Public Forum

Speech Restrictions in the Non-Public Forum

Student Speech Rights

Regulating Hate Speech

Flag Burning and Other Attacks on American Symbols

Speech Compelled by the Government

Speech-Related Conditions Attached to Gov't Spending

Free Speech Rights of Public Employees

Regulation of Commercial Speech

Campaign Finance Regulation

Regulating Obscenity

Adult-Oriented Businesses and the "Secondary Effects" Test

Free Speech and the State Action Requirement

Religion and the Constitution: A History

Introduction to the Establishment Clause

Prayer in the Public Schools

Financial Aid to Religious Schools

Evaluating Religiously-Based or Religiously-Motivated Laws: Looking for Secular Purposes

Religious Symbols in Public Places

Student-Initiated Religious Speech

The Free Exercise Clause: Rise of the Compelling State Interest Test

The Free Exercise Clause: Narrowing of the Test

The Free Exercise Cases: When Does a Law "Target" Religion? 

James Madison


Send comments concerning this site to linderd@umkc.edu

Exploring Constitutional Law was created for use by  law students and others interested in understanding our nation's most important document.  This is an educational, non-commercial site. This site was formerly called Exploring Constitutional Conflicts. Any teacher who wishes to do so is free to adopt the materials on this site for his or her own course, consistent with the terms of use established by Creative Commons.  DOL  

If you enjoyed this website, you may wish to visit my other major site, containing the Web's largest collection of materials relating to famous trials:
Famous Trials

Publications of Doug Linder: Caribou Creek Press

The materials included on the Exploring Constitutional Law Web site are original works of authorship, government records, works for which copyright protection has expired, works reprinted with permission, or works that I believe are within the fair use protection of the copyright laws. If any author or photographer objects to the use of any work appearing in these pages, please contact me by e-mail and I will remove the work and review the propriety of including it. This site is maintained at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.
Doug Linder, Professor of Law. linderd@umkc.edu (c) 2001-11.
The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law (by Doug Linder and Nancy Levit, Oxford Press, 2010).

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