San Jose State University
Professor Ken Nuger
Office: Clark Hall, 453
Pols 121.c: Civil Rights
9-10:15 T, TR
Office Hours: 8:15-8:45, 1:30-3, T, TH
4:45-5:45 T, and by appt.
A hallmark of democratic societies is the commitment to equal treatment under law.
and unjustified forms of unequal treatment are anathema to a society that values a limited and
Constitution helps define the authority and limits of our
government, as well as the rights citizens enjoy in our polity.
This course is designed to exam-
ine the constitutional bases that ensure equal treatment under law.
Its main pedagogy and fo-
cus is to analyze key cases in American constitutional law that helped define what discrimina-
tion is what limitations the constitution might place on discriminatory treatment.
Public, or gov-
ernment sponsored discrimination, as well as private discrimination is examined on the basis of
several characteristics including but not limited to race, class, sex, disability, sexual orientation,
In addition to traditional concepts of discrimination, this course also examines issues of
governmental discriminatory treatment as applied to both voting rights issues and applied in the
criminal justice system, especially focusing on the application of the 4
, and 8
Ducat, Craig, Constitutional Interpretation, Rights of the Individual, Volume II, 8
dition, be prepared to read additional cases relevant to our curricula that are not found in our
Inherently a vulgar subject but one with which we must all contend.
You will have two essay ex-
aminations, one midterm and a final, each worth 100 points.
You must also write a 5 to 7 page
position paper/analysis on a subject relevant to civil rights.
The paper is worth 30 points and is
due on Tuesday, December 1
If the paper is turned in late, it will receive a 6 point penalty.
Students will also write legal briefs on all cases, but will occasionally turn in their legal briefs,
which will be worth 10 points per brief.
Briefs must be typed, not handwritten.
If you turn in a
handwritten brief, it will be docked 3 points before I grade it.
You may drop your lowest graded
brief when calculating your grade.
Finally, students will be called upon to present briefs of as-
While not graded, the quality of your oral presentations may affect my perception
of whether you should receive the benefit of the doubt if the points you earned borders between
two different grades.
Similarly, class participation can help tip the scales in your favor if your fi-
nal grade is in doubt.
The percent of your total grade for all of these assignments is based on
the likelihood that I will collect for a grade, five or six briefs, with your lowest scored brief being