Course - Law

Constitutional Law I

Recommended Courses:

Critical Race Theory, Constitutional Law II


More than ten years after the September 11th terrorist attacks, America’s national security apparatus continues to be influenced by lingering fears of another terrorist attack. Each report of a suspicious terrorism related-activity, whether domestic or international, creates a renewed suspicion of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians in the United States. With the adoption of each new national security related policy or law, fierce debate ensues as to its effect on individual rights and liberties and the disparate impact on a subset of the population. This course provides a survey of select post-9/11 U.S. national security laws and policies that have directly affected Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians in the U.S. and elsewhere. We will read and discuss the legal underpinnings of certain policies and practices, the strengths and weaknesses of such policies and practices, related legislative proposals, and responses by rights advocacy and community groups. Topics for discussion include material support for terrorism laws, targeted immigration enforcement efforts, racial profiling, counter radicalization programs, terrorist watch lists, national security letters, the PATRIOT Act, and fusion centers. Students will analyze case law, executive branch policies, statutory law, and proposed legislation to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the various viewpoints relevant to these hotly-debated topics. While time will be devoted to developing a foundational understanding of the relevant laws and theories, the majority of readings and class discussions will focus on the practical policy and political implications of the post-9/11 national security regime and how it has impacted racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S.


There is no casebook.  Course materials will include cases, news articles, reports, law reviews and other articles posted on D2L and/or TWEN.

Course Format

Combination of lecture and Q&A/discussion with expectation of class participation.

Written Assignments

Students are required to submit, every other week, a 1-page, informal reflection paper based on readings and current events.  This is the substantial paper section for the course.  Students taking it as a substantial paper course will receive 3 credits and are also required to submit an outline and three drafts (including a final version) of the substantial paper, together with an oral presentation of the paper in class.


Type of Exam


Basis for grading

Grades are based on class participation, reflection papers, and the substantial paper.  Missing more than 3 classes may be a basis for grade reduction.

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