Thursday, April 1, 2010

Constitutional Law Exam Possibilities

A popular pattern in constitutional law exam questions is a recently passed legislative act.  This semester The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law No: 111-148, available as HR 359, is sure to be a favorite.  Our analysis of some of the issues raised by the Act is here, here, and here

800px-Woman-typing-on-laptop Less predictable Congressional bills can be perused with the “browse” feature of GPO Access.  A few possibilities:  H.R. 257, ``Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2009;” H.R. 429, to permit the televising of Supreme Court proceedings;  S. 1529 to prohibit the President, Vice President, or any other executive branch official from knowingly and willfully misleading the Congress of the United States for the purpose of gaining support for the use of force by the Armed Forces of the United States; and S. 723 to prohibit the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of novelty lighters.

For state laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures, NCSL, has several different tracking databases including Agriculture and Rural Development, Immigration, Education, Energy, Labor & Employment, and Telecommunications & IT.   The website also has a search feature which can lead to an excellent synopsis and hyperlinked chart of specific state provisions on an area of interest such as Emergency ContraceptionCriminal Records (including access), or even - - - state legislation challenging federal health care reform.  Another state law development source is The Ballot Initiative Gazette (ballotpedia), which also allows searching by state, such as Florida, as well as by issue, such as the ballot initiatives addressing health care.

We've previously discussed the constitutional law exam Professor Obama gave his students in 1996.  If Obama were a professor instead of president this semester, would he be using health care reform as the basis of the exam?  Will you?


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