OSHR 1041 - Supreme Court

  • Noncredit
  • Fort Collins

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

Laurence Tribe, in his forthcoming book on the Roberts Court, Uncertain Justice, argues that the Roberts Court is "shaking the foundation of our nation’s laws." This has been a recurrent theme in several recent books on the Roberts Court. At a time of rapid economic, cultural, and technological change, Congressional dysfunction and Executive inaction have enabled the Court to be the primary arbiter of social, political, and legal change. The Court is thus increasingly "framing the way we live" as well as "edrawing the ground rules" of American politics and government.

Using recent and upcoming cases before the Supreme Court, we will examine the above assumptions in six different areas: free speech and free exercise of religion; equal protection; warrantless searches and reasonable expectations of privacy; the extent of the right to bear arms; the balance of states’ rights and the supremacy clause; and separation of powers conflicts involving the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Because the Court often operates within, not above, national and regional politics, we will also explore the role played by individual justice worldviews and personal Court dynamics in these politically and emotionally charged cases. In many ways, the Court simply reflects our own deep tensions and uncertainties about the future of American society.


Due to a scheduling conflict with the instructor, the first class scheduled for Monday, October 27th is cancelled. Eric Waples will discuss options for a make-up session when the class meets on Monday, November 3rd .

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.