[SOUND] The United States Constitution is an amazing document. It was written in 1787 for an agrarian slave society. It continues to govern us today in the early 21st century, two and a quarter centuries later in our modern, logical Internet world. It's written in sufficient generality that it can continue to govern today. But yet, it's sufficiently specific that it creates a government and protects liberties. We are a nation without an official religion, but many remark that our constitution is like a civil religion. My name is Erwin Chemerinsky, I'm Dean and Professor of Law at the University California Irvine School of Law and it's my pleasure to provide these lectures on constitutional law. My goal is to provide a general overview of all of constitutional law. My lectures are intended for a general audience. They don't presume any prior knowledge of law or even of American government. I'm going to divide my lecture overall into ten parts. In the first part, I want to talk about why the constitution? What functions does the constitution perform for society? And why is it desirable to achieve these through a constitution? In this part, I also want to write a bit of background about the history of the United States Constitution. In the second part, I want to talk about the Federal Judicial Power. This is the authority of the supreme court and of the lower federal courts to interpret, and enforce the constitution. One of the curious things about the United States constitution is that it does not specifically give to the courts the authority to review the constitutionality. Federal statutes or executive actions. That comes with supreme court decision in 1803. Marbury versus Madison, but I will suggest in this part of my lecture that there is nothing more integral to the United States Constitution than the authority of the federal courts to enforce it. The words in the constitution do little more than ink on parchment, except for their being enforced. The enforcement comes through the federal courts. During this part of the lecture, I also want to talk about the limits on the Federal Judicial Power. We have given the courts the enormous power to clear statutes, to clear executive actions unconstitutional, but what limits the judges? I want to talk about the ways in which interpretive theory, statutes and the constitution itself limit the judiciary. And the third part of my remarks, I want to talk about the Federal Legislative Power. This is the authority of Congress under the constitution. Prior to the constitution as I'll discuss through the Articles of Confederation, there was a Congress, but it had very little in the way of power. For example, it had no authority to regulate commerce among the States. The result was the trade wars began to develop among the states. States that had ports charged high taxes, high tariffs for land lots states to use those ports. Land lot states then retaliated against the goods from port states. More than anything else, the constitutional convention in 1787 was to create a Congress with the ability to stop this to regulate commerce among the states. It created a Congress that has the authority to regulate individual behavior. And yet, it's important also to always keep in mind that Congress has limited power. It can act only where it can point to express or implied authority in the constitution. In this part of my lecture, I want to discuss congressional powers. The fourth part of my lecture is going to focus on the Federal Executive Power. The powers of the president in the executive branch of government. These have been important through American history, these have been contested through American history. There were disputes over the scope of executive power beginning with the presidency of George Washington. And in recent years, especially since 9/11, there have been enormous controversy, the power of the president to protect national security from the context or war on terrorism. This has especially arisen with regard to the tension between protecting national security and civil liberties. This, I'll discuss in detail in the fourth part of my lecture. In the fifth part of my lecture, I want to talk about federalism as a limit on state and local government power. Federalism is simply a term that's used in constitutional law to describe the relationship between the national government and state and local governments. This relationship has been enormously important throughout American history. It's manifested in many areas of constitutional law. For example, when does federal law preempt, preclude state and local action? This shouldn't be seen as just an abstract principle. A few years ago, Arizona adopted a law, SB 1070 that attempted very much to deal with immigration and the rights of immigrants. The question was did the Federal law with regard to immigration preclude preempt the state law? In fact, state and local laws are limited even if there's no federal statute in the area and that's what I'm going to be talking about in the fifth part of my lecture. The sixth part of my lecture is titled, The Structure of the Constitution's Protection of Individual Liberties. Here, I want to shift my focus from the structural government to the way in which the constitution protects individual rights and liberties. Part six of the lecture, I want to talk about some general rules that obtained all of the parts of the constitution, that deal with individual liberties. That deal with equal protection under the constitution. In the seventh part of the lecture, I then want to focus on individual liberties. This will actually be the longest part of my lecture. I want to talk about all of the liberties that are protected by the constitution and there are many, in many different contexts. So for example, I'll talk about economic liberties. Freedom of contracts in the constitution. The protection of property from arbitrary taking by the government without just compensation. What about our privacy rights? These include the right to marry, the right to procreate, the right to custody of one's children. The right to contraception, the right to abortion. The right to refuse medical treatment, the right to engage in private consensual homosexual activity. And in discussing these, of course, it's important to think about how is it determined? What's a right protected by the constitution? One fact here about the second amendment and the right to bear arms. The right to vote. The right to travel. But also, perhaps will surprise you by telling you that there are things that you would expect to be rights that aren't. For example, the supreme court has said, there is no right to education under the United States Constitution. In the eighth part of the lecture, I want to talk about equal protection. When the constitution was written, there was no assurance of equal protection under the law. That should not be surprising. The constitution as I'll discuss, a very much institutionalizes slavery. Obviously, a document that protected, that institutionalized slavery could not include a clause that assured equal protection to all individuals. It wasn't until 1868 when the 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War in the initial years of chaos following it. The clause was added to the constitution that says, no state shall deny any person equal protection of the laws. I think it's fair to say that over the last half century or so, no provision of the constitution has been more important than equal protection. And yet, it remains very controversial to this day. As a simple example can colleges or universities use race as a factor in their admissions decisions to benefit minorities and enhance diversity? No issue of constitutional law is more divisive than this one and it's very much a question of equal protection, and I'll review the law of this and all of equal protection in the eighth part of my lecture. In the ninth part of my lecture, I want to talk about the First Amendment and especially focus on freedom of speech under the constitution. My guess is if I went out into the street and I asked people to name a right protected by the constitution, freedom of speech is one of the first come to mind. We cherish freedom of speech in our society. And yet, freedom of speech is not and never can be absolute. The supreme court long has said that the government can regulate speech, if there's a clear and present danger of harm. The Court has said, for instance, there's no right to falsely shout fire in a crowded theater, but what are the categories of speech where the government can regulate? When is government property available to speech? The tenth and final part of my lecture will focus on the First Amendment and look, especially on the religion clauses. There are two provisions of the First Amendment that deal with religion. One says that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. The other says, the Congress shall make no law of bridging the free exercise of religion. At times, these two clauses are complementary. For example, if the government would mandate that students in public school say particular prayers, that could be thought both as establishing religion and infringing the free exercise for those students who don't believe in those prayers. But at times, there's a real tension between the prohibition of establishment of religion and the requirement or protection of free exercise of religion. If the government provides chaplains for those in prisons or the military, is that government's support for religion and establishment? But if the government didn't provide chaplains, would that be an infringement of free exercise? I will talk in detail about the establishment clause and the free access clause in ways that they're complimentary, in ways that they're in conflict. As I said at the beginning, the constitution is a truly amazing document. What makes it amazing is how it's been interpreted, how it's been applied and that's what I wanted to talk about in these lectures.