Constitutional Law of Money – Overview
Professor Christine Desan (profile)
Harvard Law School – Spring 2019
Syllabus | Course Materials (coming soon)
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.