S. The Constitution, Inequality, and Political Economy

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Constitutional Law, Racial, Economic, and Social Justice
Additional Attributes
New Course

Section 001 Information


Professor Kate Andrias smiling Kate Andrias Patricia D. and R. Paul Yetter Professor of Law

Section Description

This advanced constitutional law seminar will focus on the Constitution and its relationship to questions of political economy. We will ask how the Constitution and constitutional doctrine have contributed to economic and political inequality and their racial and gender dimensions; to what extent the Constitution empowers, or requires, the government to remedy such problems (or should be understood to do so); how constitutional structure, including federalism, separation of powers, judicial supremacy, Article V, the Senate, and the Electoral College, shapes the political and economic order; and whether using constitutional law to address problems of economic and political inequality is even a worthwhile project. Readings will be a mix of caselaw and academic writing. For some sessions, we will be joined by authors of the scholarship we read and will follow a workshop model. Topics may include slavery and reparations; constitutional battles about labor and workers' rights; the constitutional protection of social welfare rights, including education and housing; property rights; the state action doctrine and debates about negative versus positive rights; and the relationship between judicial supremacy and problems of inequality and democracy. Throughout, we will engage broader questions of constitutional theory. Although our primary focus will be domestic, we will consider how other countries deal with these issues.

School Year & Semester
Spring 2022
WJWH 416
Class meets on
  • Tuesday
4:20 pm - 6:10 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D Writing Credit?
Minor (automatic)
LLM Writing Project
Upon consultation

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain capacity to think critically about the relationship between constitutional law and inequality.
  • Gain understanding of the influences of political institutions and social movements in law and of the historical development of law and legal institutions.
  • Improve ability to write critically and to engage with and critique legal texts.
  • Improve ability to engage in doctrinal analysis, including close reading of cases and precedents, and application to facts

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
Constitutional Law
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations