Sunday, October 5, 2008

About Steve Schwinn

Schwinn Welcome to the Constitutional Law Prof Blog!  I am an associate professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where I teach Constitutional Law.  I try to keep my hand in practice, as well, and get my students involved in con law issues in the courts whenever I can.  My con law scholarship has focused on judicial access issues, especially "Civil Gideon"--the right to counsel for indigents in certain civil cases (like termination of parental rights proceedings). 

I look forward to contributing to this new--and, in our estimation, badly needed--blog.  While many folks blog about con law issues, few blog specifically about teaching those issues.  We hope to fill that gap.


October 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Welcome to the Constitutional Law Prof Blog on the Law Professor Network!  We are delighted to join the Network, and we look forward to facilitating an active, lively, and useful blog for faculty, practitioners, and students of constitutional law.

Like other bloggers in the Network, we will post regularly to update readers on developments in doctrine, scholarship, and theory, all with a constant eye toward teaching.

But we can't make this blog work by ourselves.  We encourage your participation and contributions.  Please submit comments with your own ideas and resources, and please let us know how we can make the blog more useful to you.

Thank you for taking this first look at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog.  We hope that we will count you among our regular readers.


October 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Liberty Clause?

So, how do you refer to this language from the Fourteenth Amendment:

"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"?

There seems to be a bit of controversy in the blogosphere about the correct label.  The dispute started with a post on the National Review Online, in which Ramesh Ponnuru in an October 1 post criticized Joe Biden in the VP debate: "He seems to be under the impression that there's a "liberty clause" in the Fourteenth Amendment."

"Publius" on Obsidian Wings quickly posted a counterargument, not only quoting the text of the Fourteenth Amendment, but providing a sampling of six cases in which the court used the term "liberty clause."   Ed Kilgore on (predictably) supports Biden with a discussion of substantive due process, but does say "Biden's use of the term 'liberty clause' may be a bit imprecise."

Certainly there is a great deal of contention about exactly what - - - if anything - - - the word "liberty" in the Fourteenth Amendment does or should encompass.  Roe v. WadeLochner?  The Bill of Rights? 

But is the terminology similarly contentious?   "Liberty clause" IS imprecise because of the lack of "due process."  Certainly  "the liberty clause of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment" is preferable, although, strictly speaking, "liberty" may or may not be a "clause."

Have you ever deducted points on an exam for "liberty clause"?


October 5, 2008 in Due Process (Substantive), Fundamental Rights, Interpretation, News, Reconstruction Era Amendments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

About Ruthann Robson

Greetings!  Welcome to Constitutional Law Professor Blog - - - like my co-bloggers, I am hoping this will be a useful site to discuss all matters of Constitutional Law, with an emphasis on pedagogy, as well as scholarship and current events.


I'm a Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York School of Law.  I have taught various constitutional law courses since coming to CUNY in 1990, with a current focus on our "rights" course (entitled Liberty, Equality and Due Process) and our First Amendment course, as well as teaching Sexuality and Law with a heavy constitutional component, and often Law and Family Relations, a required course also with a heavy constitutional component.  Given these interests, I'll generally be focusing on rights rather than structures.  However, I have an intense interest in judicial review, both in the United States and other nations; one of my recent articles is Judicial Review and Sexual Freedom, 29 U. Haw. L. Rev. 1 (2007).

I also have an avid interest in non-SCOTUS constitutional law litigation.  As a legal services attorney, I had the opportunity to raise many constitutional law issues and think all attorneys should have a mastery of constitutional law possibilities.   I also have an interest in how constitutional law is being taught outside of the law school context.  I've a few regular features planned that I'll be sharing soon. 


October 5, 2008 in Profiles in Con Law Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)