Yes, everyone has a lot of trouble. Just keep in mind justices are prone to jargon. When reading a case keep these three core ideas in mind.
(1) Con. law is about the REASONING & not the holding, cuz reason makes the test or doctrine for lower courts & the country. & the reasoning of the dissents.
(2) Con. Law arguments fall into 6 categories: I use mnemonic device "DEPTHS."
D = doctrine see above, create a legal principle from a bunch of cases
e.g. abortion is legal cuz of Roe v. Wade's rule.
E = Ethical arg. Individual rights, power not delegated to gov't. (bill of rights)
e.g. Did we ever give our gov't the power to execute some people?
P = Prudence arg. Economic costs, political cost (e.g. votes) & inter-
branch competence, in short, policy consideration/preferences.
e.g. Will allowing people to bear arms be efficient for Nat'l security?
T = Textual arg., Art I-VI, common understanding of text, rigid formalism.
Always ask, is what the fed. gov't doing written in the const'n or neccessary &
proper to carry out its enumerated powers?
e.g. Can congress tax only one Communist comic-book store in L.A.?
H - Historical arg. e.g. originalism (framer's intent) or legislative history.
e.g. Do all judges have to wear white-wigs?
S = Structural arg., Federlaism (the power of the State agst fed. gov't) &
separation of power (inter/intra-branch efficincy.)
e.g. can congress tell the president what to do?
Each argument used to justify Judicial review & each type is value netural.
(3) Con. Law theory: The Supreme Court always answers why in the hell it should grant review on a case & get involved, if there is original jurisidction its no problem, but if not they need to justify it. So while (1) is concened with "what" is law, & (2) is concerned "why" it is law, (3) is about why "should" unelected judges make this law.
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Finally, a topic breakdown of Con. law is simple, just remember that our gov't is limited by a written Const'n, so for our Fed. gov't to do anything they need to use Art I-III, in short, the heart of con. law is the flow of those Articles. (Art I = Congress, Art II = Prez. & Art III = Judiciary). The states have GENERAL power unlike fed. gov't as long as they don't violate §9 (a decent metaphor is that the States are like the ocean the fed. gov't is like land--the ocean has dominion where there is no land--Tsunami's destroy land). Also, read anything the federalist Marshall writes at least thrice cuz he usu. sets the tone. (e.g. Gibbons sets tone for commerce, McCulloch sets tone for judicial review & implied fed. power, Marbury sets limits on S.Ct. power over the Prez., Johnson sets tone for property, OsBorne for fed. jurisidction etc. etc.)--hope tis helps,--M.
p.s. one more thing that confused the hell outta me, federalist = lover of Fed. gov't (.e.g Marshall) Federalism = lover of the states' oceanic autonomy.