United States Constitutional Law (LAWS5196)


This unit provides an in-depth introduction to the principles, core concepts, and key cases of United States Constitutional Law. It traces the structure and role of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the development of U.S. constitutional reasoning from the post-revolutionary period to the present. It considers debates about constitutional interpretation, and the significance of different approaches to key provisions of the Constitution. Topics may include all or any of: federalism and the commerce clause; eminent domain and "just compensation"; substantive due process; equal protection of the laws: race and gender discrimination; freedom of speech; freedom of religion; unenumerated rights; constitutional protection of citizenship and voting. Students will also be introduced to, and encouraged to engage in, normative debates about constitutional values.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2x2hr seminars/wk for 10 weeks.


Class participation (15%) and either a) 2,500wd optional essay/problem question (35%) and final 2hr exam (50%) or b) 3hr exam (85%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS5011 or LAWS2011 or LAWS1004 or LAWS3000 or LAWS3003


LAWS3418 or LAWS5118 or LAWS3491 or LAWS5191 or LAWS3496

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.