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Course Materials
Constitutional Law of Money – Materials

Professor Christine Desan (profile)
Harvard Law School – Fall 2017

Course Overview (Description and Syllabus)

I. Governing at the Material Level

Class 1: The Dollar as a Democratic Medium
Readings Notes and Discussion

Class 2: Money: the Basic Design
Readings Notes and Discussion

Class 3: Money: the Modern Design (a very brief introduction)
Readings Notes and Discussion

II. Experiments with Money: Economic Development, Sovereignty, and the Contest over Federalism (1690-1865)

Class 4: Money and Self-Determination — The Colonial  Experience
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 5: Money and Nation-building – the Revolution and the Constitution
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 6: The New Federalist Approach to Money: Public Debt and National Banking
 Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 7: Revising Public Obligation: The Contracts Clause and Article I, Sec. 10 
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 8: State Development Strategies in an Illiquid World: Banks and Corporations
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 9: Federalism Contested: Jackson and the Battle over the Bank(s)
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 10: Free Banking: The High Tide of State Power
Readings, Notes and Discussion

III. Configuring Federal Monetary Power (1865-Present)

Class 11: National Banking I: Federal Entry into Retail Banking
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 12: National Banking II: Constitutional Claims to Credit Outside the Commercial System
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 13: Conceptualizing the Modern Market: Gold, Futures, and Economic Expertise
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 14: “Fed-eralizing” the Monetary System
Guest lecturer: Prof. Nadav Orian Peer, Tulane Law School
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 15: Liberating the Fed: the Movement towards Discretionary Monetary Policy
 Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 16: Credit Allocation as a Political Project
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 17: Market Funding and Financialization
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 18: The Financial Crisis
Readings, Notes and Discussion

Class 19: The Constitutional Charge of Administrative Accountability and Independence: The Fed and Monetary Policy
Readings, Notes and Discussion

IV: Money in Constitutional Dimension: Contemporary Issues

Class 20: The Constitutional Right to Credit?more

Course Overview
Constitutional Law of Money – Overview

Professor Christine Desan (profile)
Harvard Law School – Spring 2019

Syllabus  |  Course Materials (coming soon)

Course Description:
According to one of the framers, the “soul of the Constitution” was the clause allocating authority over money.   Over the following centuries, money has remained at the center of debates over governance, including the division between state and federal sovereigns, American approaches to economic development and social welfare, the scope of judicial review, federal preemption, and the allocation of fundamental decisions about material distribution.  The authority of the Federal Reserve, for example, apparently includes the ability to make monetary policy decisions that move hundreds of billions of dollars.  This 3-credit course picks up an essential line of constitutional debate and determination, including those concerning the national debt, the contracts clause, state police powers, the Legal Tender Cases, the Gold Clause cases, and the role and responsibilities of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.