Constitutional Law I(AB) (Spring 2015)

Professor Schnably

Ground Rules

You should be familiar with the following rules and any others I mention in class.

Mandatory: After reading the Ground Rules, please click here to send an acknowledgment that you have read the Ground Rules. If the link doesn’t work, please email my assistant, Ms. Andrea Garcia ( to let her know you’ve read the Ground Rules. Each person in the class who has not already done so must send the email by 2:00 p.m. Monday, January 26.

What Entrance to Use:

Before class starts: Class starts when I begin talking. Use any of the three entrances before class starts. There are two entrances in the front and one in the back on the side.

After class starts: If you are late, or think you might be late, please enter only by the door in the back. If you start to come in one of the front doors after class begins I may ask you to go back and come in again by the back door.


We will take a break about halfway through each class. The exact time we take the break may vary somewhat depending on where we are in the materials.

It is very important that you return to class on time. I will let you know when we break when I expect everyone to be back in. If a problem develops with too many people coming in late I will stop having a break and we will go straight through for the two hours, so keep in mind that any tardiness on your part may contribute to everyone in the class losing the breaks.

Seating Chart:

I will pass around a seating chart.  You must be on the seating chart to receive credit for the course. If you are not on the seating chart, I will not turn in a grade for you at the end of the semester, even if you take the exam. It is your responsibility to see to it that your name is on the seating chart.

You must sit in your assigned seat for each class. If you would like to move to a different seat after the first day, just let me know and I’ll be happy to adjust the seating chart.


Attendance is mandatory, as is preparation. Class discussion is crucial to your understanding of the materials. Attendance is of course required for the portion of the class after the break as well as before.

Attendance Sheet. On some days I will pass around an attendance sheet at the very beginning of the class; on other days, after the break; and on other days I will pass around one sheet at the beginning of the class and one when we resume after the break. On any day in which you fail to sign an attendance sheet circulated for any part of the class, you will be counted as absent for the whole class. For example, if you sign the sheet when it is passed around before the break, but not when a second one is passed around after the break, you will be counted as absent from class for that day.

No more than five unexcused absences are permitted. If you have more than five unexcused absences, I may lower your grade for the course by half a grade. So long as your unexcused absences number five or fewer, being absent will have no effect on your grade. Of course, if you are absent you will miss the class discussion that day, and that may have an indirect impact. The unexcused absences are for your discretion. It’s better, of course, to miss as few classes as possible, but there may be occasions when you have some other activity (connected with the law school or not) when you need or prefer to miss class.

There is no set limit on excused absences (e.g., for illness), but if the number of excused absences becomes so great that in my judgment it calls into question whether you could learn the material covered in the course, I would talk to you and consult with the Dean of Students, and then reach a conclusion as to whether you may continue being enrolled in my class.

Procedure in case of absence: If you are absent for any class for any reason (including an absence you expect to be unexcused), please fill out one of the absence forms in the Dean of Students, which you can do on-line. It’s fine to e-mail me as well, but you must submit the Dean of Students form in any case. As for what constitutes an excused absence, these include:

My judgment in each case (based on the form you file with the Dean of Students Office) is final. No absence will be excused for any date the student is not present if the student does not file a form with the Dean of Students Office. You should file the form before the date you will be absent, if possible, or within a few days afterwards.

I will keep you apprised of how many unexcused absences you have. If you think an absence that wasn’t excused should have been, or just have questions about why it wasn’t, it’s fine to talk to me about it in class or in my office. I don’t mind that at all. But all questions about the forms must be resolved before the start of exam period.

Class conduct:

Taping/Live-streaming classes:

You may tape or live-stream the class only with my prior permission.


If you have or suspect you have a disability that might affect your ability to comply with any of these ground rules or otherwise affect your performance, please contact Iris Morera, Coordinator, Disability Services at the Office of Disability Services for information about available opportunities, resources, and services. Her phone number is 305-284-9907, and her email address is You may also visit the Office of Disability Services website.

Class e-mails:

I will send e-mails to the class e-mail list the Law School’s IT department created for this class. I will try to post anything in an e-mail on the web page, but there may be times when you will need to see the e-mails. For example, I might occasionally change an assignment for the next day.

This class e-mail list is generated with your law school e-mail address. If you have another e-mail account you prefer to use, you can have your law school account direct the e-mails to that address. If you can’t do that, you can ask my assistant Andrea Garcia to include that other e-mail address on the class e-mail list by clicking here.

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