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Approximately 3 hours to complete

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Full video production format

Course Overview

This nine-module course provides an overview of constitutional law and how it impacts some relevant and significant homeland security issues facing our nation. Specifically, this course introduces the practitioner or student to constitutional law by applying several constitutional law principles to areas in homeland security such as federalism and pandemics, equal protection, the Fourth Amendment and profiling, and the First Amendment and material support of terrorism.

Learning Objectives

Students can expect to learn:

  • How the Constitution only constrains governmental action and generally does not apply to the private sector (but statutes do)
  • Differences between disparate treatment and disparate impacts
  • How our government is a federalist republic
  • Differences between federal and state authority in addressing pandemics and other healthcare emergencies
  • Specific measures states have taken in responding to COVID-19 and associated legal challenges
  • Whether it would be prudent to have a federal pandemic statute
  • Constitutional challenges with enacting a federal pandemic statute and specifically a national mask mandate
  • What “profiling” entails and whether and to what extent it can be helpful or hurtful in addressing homeland security issues
  • Equal protection under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and how it constrains intentional governmental action
  • Different classifications and standards of review under current equal protection jurisprudence
  • Profiling and the Fourth Amendment and how it differs from the equal protection analysis
  • Differences in material support of terrorism statutes concerning domestic versus international terrorism
  • How First Amendment principles apply to the material support of terrorism statutes
  • Whether cases involving material support of terrorism are based on speech or conduct
  • Whether we should treat material support of terrorism differently depending on whether the terrorist group is foreign or domestic

Module 2: Federalism and Pandemics: Federal and State Authority

Module 3: Policy Considerations for a Federal Pandemic Statute

Module 4: Legal Considerations for a Federal Pandemic Statute

Module 8: Introduction to Material Support Statutes and the First Amendment

About the Instructor

Stephanie Blum is an attorney, mediator and author who has worked for the federal government for over 20 years in various roles with the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. She has also clerked for three federal judges and taught several courses on national security and constitutional law. She has a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, and a M.A. in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2008, she turned her thesis on the preventive detention of terrorists into a book and has since written numerous articles on constitutional law and homeland security. 

The views in this course are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Government, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Naval Postgraduate School. 

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