The first of my final exams for the semester is this Wednesday. I haven’t even bothered to look and see if it is morning or afternoon. It doesn’t matter at this point and by then I think all the material is going to leak back out of my brain, run out my ears and puddle on my pillow. If I get any sleep. The specific class is Constitutional Law II – which mostly focuses on the Constitutional Amendments. Since I have never taken Con Law I, Torts, Property, I am at a bit of a disadvantage whenever a discussion starts with “as you remember from…..
I mentioned years ago (War College – 1997-1999 concurrent with command in Würzburg and the frolic and detour to Bosnia with TFME) that there is a lot of reading, only if you do it. I haven’t read as much of the assigned Con Law reading as I probably should have. Frankly, I don’t get it and wading through it left me more confused than if I asked fellow classmates and took good notes during class. Notes taken on paper with pen, thank you very much, not typed where the words hit your ears and are transferred to your fingers without processing. If you play any musical instrument, you know exactly what I mean. You need to see the notes and have your fingers do what they are supposed to do – there is no time for thought.
The actual text book for this course, in hard copy is somewhere around 1400 pages, plus a couple hundred page supplement with the most recent new Supreme Court Cases. I have made the occasional notes in the textbook – electronic version that you can carry without back ache are great – the ability to annotate is even better. The supplement is paperback. For some reason, the organization is better and I can distinguish between the authors commentary and what was ACTUALLY found or held in the case. Not so much in the main text. There is an awful lot of “if you could say it in 100 words, a few thousand would be soooo much better.” I am thinking some of that might be left over from when any judge was a practicing attorney. Lawyers bill, right? By time increments in the US is the current practice. If you write more, it takes longer and you can charge more….
Back to studying. The first class was third week or so in August. Since all the lectures are recorded, I can review the lectures (1.5 speed) while checking my notes and filling in whatever handouts the professor might have furnished. (I will hold off on the “OUTLINE” rant, that would just be overload). Having reviewed a fair amount as we went along – I am on the “month a day plan.” I’ve been through August and just finishing up Sept. Tomorrow I will get through Oct and then that just leaves me Nov.
After all, who wouldn’t want to devote extensive hours to determinations of level of scrutiny, equal protection, due process? Oh, and let us not forget – the incorporation doctrine which definitely has to include the III Amendment. None of us want troops billeted in our houses.
Oh wait! I was one…..