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LSJ 361 A: United States Courts and Civil Liberty

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 2:20pm - 5:00pm
SAV 264
Joint Sections: 
POL S 361 A
Chelsea L Moore

Syllabus Description:


POLS/LSJ 361: U.S. Courts & Civil Liberties

University of Washington

2:20 – 5pm M-Th

Summer B Term 2019

Chelsea Moore


Office: Smith 221

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 12:30 – 2:30pm or by appointment



Do the police have the right to make you hand over your cell phone passcode? What if your phone is opened with your thumbprint? Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment? Can the state ban sodomy? What's the line between free speech and hate speech? Should juveniles be treated as adults in the criminal justice system? In this course we will explore questions of rights and liberties in American constitutional doctrine. Throughout the course we will examine the changing understandings of the courts, civil liberties, and American politics. 




Participation: 20%


Response Paper/Presentation: 25%

  • Please see guidelines


Midterm 1: 25% (Wednesday, August 7th)


Final: 30% (Thursday, August 22nd)




 *Please note all cases can be found using the "case law" feature of Google Scholar 

Thursday, July 25th


Monday, July 29th Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Incorporation

  • Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787
  • James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788
  • Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 15, 1789
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Richard S Randal, “Civil Liberties in the United States”
  • David O’Brien, “The Supreme Court, Judicial Review, and Constitutional Politics”


Tuesday, July 30th Freedom of Speech: Speech and Wartime (Kaitlyn)

  • Schenck v. U.S. (1919)
  • Abrams v. US (1919) *important to read dissent
  • Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)


Wednesday, July 31st Freedom of Speech and Hate Speech (Amos, Michell)

  • Matsuda, “Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim’s Story”
  • Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
  • Snyder v. Phelps (2011) *important to read dissent


Thursday, August 1st The Right to Abortion (Heaven, Jenna)

  • Roe v. Wade (1973)
  • Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)
  • Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016)


Monday, August 5th Love and Marriage and…the State (Julia, Khayla)

  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
  • Murray, “Marriage as Punishment”


Tuesday, August 6th Incarceration, Rights, and Access to Courts (Dianne, Nigel)


Wednesday, August 7th

  • Midterm


Thursday, August 8th

  • No Class


Monday, August 12th Stop & Frisk and the 4th Amendment (Nick, Emily)

  • Carbado, “E(racing) the Fourth Amendment”
  • Terry v. Ohio (1968)
  • Whren v. United States


Tuesday, August 13th Miranda Rights and the Fifth Amendment (Tina, Daniela)

  • Leo, “Miranda’s Revenge: Police Interrogation as a Confidence Game”
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966)


Wednesday, August 14th Race, Jury Selection and the 6th Amendment (Ashley, Angela)


Thursday, August 15th Juveniles, Brain Development, and Punishment (Tom, Cameron)


Monday, August 19th The Death Penalty and the 8th Amendment (Ash, Luwam)

  • Furman v. Georgia (1972)
  • Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
  • McCleskey v. Kemp (1987)


Tuesday, August 20th Sex Offenses and Criminal Law (Tamsin, Natasha)


Wednesday, August 21st

  • Study Day


Thursday, August 22nd

  • Final Exam




Graded work assessment:


Written work in the A (3.5-4.0) range is characterized by a strikingly perceptive, persuasive, and creative analytical claim; comprehensive synthesis and analysis of the course material; straightforward yet sophisticated organization of thoughts and error-free prose. Written work in the B (2.5-3.4) range is characterized by sound, original, and reasonably thoughtful argument/thesis statement; competent analysis of various course material, logical organization; and clear and error-free prose. Written work in the C (1.5-2.4) range is characterized by a relatively underdeveloped, simplistic, or derivative argument/thesis statement; partial, inconsistent, or faulty analysis of course material; convoluted organization; and awkward, imprecise, or otherwise distracting prose. Written work in the D (0.7-2.3) range is characterized by incoherent or extremely confusing argument; superficial or fleeting engagement with the course material; chaotic or irrational organization; and error-riddled prose. Written work that lacks any argument or analysis and is unorganized earns a failing grade.


My aim is to give every student a fair grade that reflects their understanding of, and engagement with, the course material and course participation. If you feel that you have been graded unfairly on a paper, I am happy to meet with you to discuss it. The grade appeals policy is as follows:


  1. Carefully read and re-read comments
  2. After 24 hours, re-read comments
  3. Write a memo that details why you believe there is a grading error. You must initiate this meeting within one week of receiving your grading assignment. At that time and after meeting I may re-grade your paper. Note that your grade may increase or


Late work policy:


Uncompleted or missing papers will receive a grade of 0.0. Late assignments will be docked 0.3 per day. That is: 3.5 paper, if turned in past the deadline, will become a 3.2, if turned in one full day late, will receive a 2.9, and so on. Exceptions will be made given prompt consultation with the instructor. For full consideration, make sure to correspond with me via email prior to a late submission rather than afterwards. Exceptions to the late policy include: family/friend emergencies, verified health and wellness issues, and logistical emergencies.


Academic dishonesty:


Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cases of suspected cheating and plagiarism will be referred to the Arts and Sciences Committee on Academic Conduct, and may result in a grade of 0.0 for the assignment in question. University policies and guidelines regarding cheating and plagiarism can be found at


Student resources:


Disability and accommodations

Students needing academic accommodations for a disability should contact Disability Resources for Students, 448 Schmitz Hall, V: (206) 543-8924, TTY: (206) 543-8925, If you have a letter from Disability Resources for Students documenting the need for academic accommodations, please present this letter to the instructor so that accommodations can be discussed and arranged.


Academic resources

The LSJ, POLS and Jackson School Writing Center ( and the Odegaard Writing & Research Center ( are excellent resources available to you for written work. I encourage you to make appointments with writing center tutors to work on your research paper.


Sexual violence resources on campus and in Seattle

  1. Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Activists (SARVA) (
  2. Health & Wellness Student Advocate (
  3. Student Counseling Center (206-543-1240)
  4. Title IX Compliance Services (Amanda Payne, coordinator, 206-221-7932)
  5. UW Police / UWPD Victim Advocate (206-543-9937)
  6. Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (206-744-1600)
  7. Sexual Violence Law Center (206-832-3632)
  8. Northwest Network (support for LGBT and queer survivors of abuse) (206-568-7777)


Undocumented students

I support undocumented students. Leadership Without Borders (206-543-4635), which is staffed by undocumented students and staff, and the UW Dream Project (206-616-5791) are excellent resources.


Additional course policies:


Office hours and email

I will hold office hours each week for students to discuss course material, logistics, or concerns with me on an individual basis. Seminar sessions and office hours (not email) are the appropriate venues for raising substantive questions. For other unaddressed questions, I will reply to emails on weekdays, but reserve up to 24 hours to respond. Note that I do not respond to emails when the answer is found in this syllabus. I will occasionally post course announcements or reminders via the course’s catalyst website. Students are responsible for checking the course website on a regular basis to stay updated on course content and logistics.



For the benefit of our discussions and out of respect for others, please do not use cell phones during class time. Laptops and tablets may be used for class-related activities. Distracting misuse of electronics (social networking, Messaging, etc.) will result in a ban on laptops. Don’t ruin it for everyone!


Respect in the classroom

This course involves material and experiences that are deeply personal, political, and emotionally charged. While spirited debate is encouraged and expected, discussion must remain respectful and supportive at all times. In order to learn together we must learn from each other, and thus every voice is important in our conversation. I invite students to approach course material with a sense of openness – that is, to let material, themes, concepts, and questions we raise in class to challenge your sense of reality and, at the same time submit what you read and discuss in class to thoughtful skepticism and critique.


Catalog Description: 
Cases and literature bearing on protection of constitutionally guaranteed private rights, with particular reference to the period since 1937. Offered: jointly with POL S 361.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:06pm