Section Description Provided by Instructor
This tutorial seminar will investigate issues in contemporary civil rights law and policy across a variety of settings. Particular attention will be given to controversies and questions that have been the subject of recent Supreme Court and appellate litigation or national policy debate. Seminar members will consider contemporary civil rights questions that have arisen in a number contexts, which may include: 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; privacy and civil rights, and immigrants' rights. After examination of the current statutory and doctrinal framework for addressing discrimination and inequality in each of the selected areas, the seminar members will explore the practical and theoretical issues civil rights litigators and legislative lawyers face in each of the 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 consider and assess a broad range of 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 and non-litigation advocacy 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 and state civil rights statutes, as well as county and municipal ordinances; amicus briefs addressing issues raised in civil rights litigation currently or recently before the courts; scholarly, journalistic and policy writing that approaches civil rights issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives; empirical studies and investigative reports; film, video and other media materials.