Law School Discussion

Why do I hate Con Law so Much?

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2006, 03:30:29 PM »
I agree with what BigPimpin said..."when you hate a class, you have to make a conscious effort to work that much harder, because it wont come naturally. i wish there was a simple answer, but you just gotta grab yourself by the balls, and force yourself to work."

This is true,. When I start to do the reading, I always remember something more important that needs to get done. I'm gonna have to force myself to do this.

I am enjoying Con Law II more than I did Con Law I. Maybe because we are tackling issues like racial discrimination and freedom of speech more this semester
Yeah, maybe I'll like it more when we talk current issues and the whole class turns into the Jerry Springer show, because we have some opinionated people in my class.
Hopefully it will get better

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2006, 03:37:23 PM »
I think the proper frame of mind (at least the one I had) is that the course isn't really about "what the law is" as much as it is about "who gets to make the law."  That's why cases that are 200 years old, such as Marbury v. Madison, are still good law and important and relevant even today.

I think of it this way: there are 5 potential parties with conflicting powers or rights.  Federal Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, the States, and Individuals with rights protected under the various amendments.   The cases, no matter what the underlying law in question is, almost always is really dealing with resolving the conflict between at least 2 of those parties about who, if anyone, can make the underlying law.   The court then generally develops tests and analysis to resolve the conflict.  These are what you can then apply to hypos or test questions.

It does seem a bit more alive when the underlying laws are issues you can relate to today. 

Thanks man, This sounds like a good way to look at things. I'll try to pay attention in class long enough to put it to good use.

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2006, 10:03:41 PM »
Con Law I was a drag and I didn't like it much either, Con Law II is much better. But either way, what helped me is that those concepts will come up again in several places for your other classes. So, if for no other reason, concentrate on learning it because it will help you out later.


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Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2006, 10:56:36 PM »
my con law prof is suing the president

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2006, 08:01:47 AM »
I'll tell you a secret:

I got an A in Con Law and I didn't even read one case or pay attention in class (my friends were pissed.)  I used the flash cards, I used the legalines and I made sure to look at some old exams my teacher had on file, it was clear from those exactly what she was looking for (and that's rare, but it worked for her.)

Just use the legalines, E+E and flash cards.  The concepts are the same. The cases frankly are boring and take too long to read.

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2006, 07:22:05 AM »
Approach, I couldn't disagree with you more.  I understand that this worked for you; however, I doubt that your strategy will lead to success at many law schools.

In Constitutional law, moreso than in any other 1L course, it is essential to understand the reasoning behind the decisions.  You don't need to understand the reasoning in Pennoyer v. Neff to get personal jurisdiction in Civ Pro.  You don't need to understand the reasoning in Peevyhouse to get Contracts.  But Constitutional Law is not a course for summaries and quick fixes.  This is because, while the law typically gives us detailed methods for decisionmaking, the Constitution simply enumerates basic principles of justice, and leaves the details to the judiciary.  Thus, the potential for cases to come forward with no clear solution is much greater, and thus a comprehensive knowledge of the reasonings used by the Supreme Court in past cases is more valuable.

In any class, when you read a case in any class, ask yourself this question:  why did the casebook editor(s) include this case in the book?  Why is this important or relevant to the study of law?  In this way, you can scan cases to find the reasoning behind the important stuff (thereby minimizing the time spent) without simply reading a superficial legalines summary.  Definitely utilize commercial outlines, flashcards, etc...but read the cases too.

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2006, 12:05:48 PM »
I agree with tjking.  I got an A in Con Law, and I could not have done it by using that other Approach.  I relied quite a bit on case law and hornbooks, with a little assitance from Emanuel's.  But I've never touched a flashcard. 

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2006, 12:18:48 PM »
That being said, OP needs to realize that those 200 year old cases are vital to constitutional doctrine.  It doesn't begin with Roe v. Wade.  The true super-duper precedents are Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden. 

I've noticed at least three common reasons why law students tend to dislike Con Law.  They're not mutually exclusive, and all probably apply to students who were excited about taking the class before. 

1. Expectation that it's all fundamental rights and social issues.  The press, and Congress, feed into the myth that the primary function of the Supreme Court is to make decisions on abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, and...that's about it.  They oversimply cases(e.g. "Court upholds the pledge."  It didn't.), the Constitution, and the role of the Supreme Couret in general.  I think it's a shame, because I think most people are smart enough to understand the role of the Court in much more detail than we're given credit for.
When you take the class in Law School, you're now compelled to truly understand the doctrine.  If you do, by the way, you've become a much better conversationalist.

2. Dealing with murky, difficult, and contradictory court opinions.  A lot of people told me that they were disappointed in the rationale of opinions.  For some, reading the opinions fuel the idea that the Court always follows an ideology while pretending to interpret.   
The shifting nature of judges results in doctrine that sometimes doesn't even add up - how to you put together Lopez, Morrison, and Raich and come up with a workable doctrine for enacting a constitutional law? 
A subset of this group are the students who spent a good part of their life holding in reverence certain landmark decisions, only to read them and feel that the logic falls short of their exceptions.  I won't mention them - I think you'll know them.

3. You don't actually read the Constitution.  The class begins with a discussion of Marbury, and you never even feel compelled to go through the actual document. 

I enjoyed the class, by the way.  Good luck.


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Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2006, 12:53:28 PM »
Oh my goodness!  I feel your pain.  I am in ConLaw right now and I feel like someone is pulling out my fingernails and poking out my eyes with them.  I HATE THIS CLASS!

Re: Why do I hate Con Law so Much?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2006, 01:28:08 PM »
My prof. is a well renowned Con Law scholar(he was at the Alito hearings).  So far, he is notorious for pulling things out of the opinions that no one ever saw when they read.  It's like there's some hidden text not in our casebooks.  It seems like, at least with the cases we've read so far, the basic big issues to look for are how a justice interprets the Constitution.  For example, do they think that states' rights are limited to those things expressly stated in the Constitution or do they think that the states gets all rights which are not expressly or otherwise reserved to the federal government.  This seems like a good starting point with some of the early decisions like McCulloch.