Contemporary Challenges to Constitutional Order and the Role of the State – PLCY 703

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

The student is introduced to the contemporary challenges facing America, the prevailing Western legal tradition, and a Biblical model of statesmanship, particularly as these challenges have influenced policy formation. Such challenges include modern reinterpretations of American constitutionalism and the shifting relationship of the State to the individual and other spheres in society.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The concepts and ideals of constitutional order are not new and have been passed down from generation to generation since constitutions have been written. However, these concepts and ideals have a paradoxical relationship within the modern state. The nuances of statesmanship require a broad overview before finer points can be analyzed accurately. This course will provide an introduction to the prevailing Western legal traditions and how the Commerce Clause to the Constitution have influenced policy formation. In the end, these key principles, along with a biblical model, will guide the student in the finer points of public policy formulation.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview. 

Discussions (5)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be 450–600 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge and cite at least 5 sources in current APA format. The student must reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 400 words and cite at least 3 sources in current APA format.

Analytic Paper Assignments (2)

The student is required to submit two (2) analytic papers. Both papers will consider multiple appropriate, peer-reviewed sources (see assignment instructions and rubrics for more specifics). Papers must contain a title page and bibliography. The first paper will run 10-12 double-spaced pages in length (not including title page or bibliography). The second paper will run 12-15 double-spaced pages in length in current APA format. 

The student will write a policy memorandum which summarizes vital information on an identified policy issue to prepare him/her for a hearing. Explore the history of the policy issue, and, using the information learned thus far in this class, explain how the issue has changed over time as a result of “challenges” to the Constitution. This paper must be 1-3, but no more than 4 pages in length.

Reflection Paper Assignment

The student will write a reflection paper that summarizes how his/her understanding and ideas have been impacted as a result of this class.  This is an opportunity to recognize the ideas of others, notice how their assumptions and preconceived ideas may have shaped their thoughts as well as the student's own, and recognize how the student's ideas support or oppose what he/she has learned. This paper must be in APA format, 4-5 pages in length, contain 6-8 peer-reviewed/scholarly sources cited from class readings and presentations, and effectively communicate at least 7 connections to "Contemporary Challenges to Constitutional Order."