Section Description Provided by Instructor
This 2 credit seminar will provide an overview of contemporary civil rights laws and policies across a variety of settings. Particular attention will be given to controversies and questions that have been the subject of recent Supreme Court litigation or national policy debate. Seminar members will consider contemporary civil rights questions that have arisen in the following contexts: voting rights; employment discrimination; access to equal educational opportunity; fair housing and fair lending; barriers to reentry for individuals with prior criminal convictions; race and criminal justice; and immigrantsâ rights. After examination of the current statutory and doctrinal framework for addressing discrimination and inequality in each of these areas, the seminar members will explore the practical and theoretical issues civil rights litigators and legislative lawyers face in each of the seven mentioned fields. Through close reading and critical analysis of the assigned materials, seminar members will develop a sense of the context-specific character of civil rights lawyering. Invited guests from both government and non-governmental practice will offer experiential perspectives on civil rights lawyering across a number of discrete institutional and professional locations. Finally, seminar students will explore alternative remedial approaches for addressing discrimination and inequality in each context, and consider the structural and conceptual limits of contemporary civil rights law, policy and practice.
By the end of the semester, each seminar participant can expect to (1) have a firm knowledge of the doctrinal foundations and governing statutory framework in each of these areas; (2) become familiar with the major theoretical perspectives from the relevant literature on the work and role of civil rights litigators, scholars, activists and policymakers; and (3) acquire the skills set required to produce an investigative report that summarizes the legal and policy framework and proposes concrete litigation strategies for solving a specific civil rights problem.
Seminar reading materials will include SCOTUS and lower court civil rights rulings interpreting and applying relevant federal civil rights statutes; amicus briefs that outline a unique set of interests at stake in these cases, materials that help illuminate application of a number of these laws; empirical studies and reports; and other policy materials.
W 6:20-8:10 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Major (only upon consultation)
Learning Outcome Goals
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in a specific body of law, including major policy concerns
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in statutory and regulatory analysis, including close reading of statutes and regulations, and application to facts
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in various lawyering skills, for example, oral advocacy, legal writing and drafting, legal research, negotiation, and client communication