Legal History & Jurisprudence Courses

These courses cover legal history, as well as the theories and philosophical issues underlying our legal system. Please note that some courses are not offered every year.

Jurisprudence Courses

3 credits

This seminar will explore the history, origins, and principal theories of democratic government, with a particular focus on the meaning and role of the rule of law. Topics within this rubric may include social contract theory; U.S. Constitutional, parliamentary, and alternative forms of democracy; the economic, social, and cultural prerequisites for democracy; the role of social norms, ideology, and civic virtue in the functioning and persistence of democratic polities; conceptions of the rule of law and individual rights within the framework of majoritarian government; the influence of disparate power and wealth; democracy promotion and the putative emerging right to democratic governance in international law; contemporary challenges to democracy; and the future of democracy. Class participation, periodic reaction papers, and a term paper will be required. NOTE: A limited number of students will be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with this seminar. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 848 A1 , Jan 22nd to Apr 23rd 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert D. Sloane

3 credits

This seminar explores judicial decision making in the trial and appellate courts on which the judge has served. Drawing on his decisions and other related readings, the class will consider each week the challenges posed by different types of judicial decisions. This approach will allow the class to evaluate and discuss many facets of judicial decision making, including but not limited to the following: * Differences between trial and appellate court decisions * The interactions between trial and appellate court decisions * Why certain issues are particularly difficult for judges * What is explainable and unexplainable about judicial decision making * How judicial philosophy and judicial process affect decision making * What works and does not work in judicial decisions, and * The rationale for concurrences and dissents Through the studies of these and similar issues, the students will hopefully become more informed critics of judicial decision making and more effective advocates in court. NOTES: This seminar does not satisfy the Upper-class Writing Requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

3 credits

This seminar will examine some classic issues of jurisprudence as they arise in contemporary controversies over law and morality. Topics will include the following: * The legal enforcement of morals. In Lawrence v. Texas, which recognized a right of gays and lesbians to intimate association, Justice Scalia protested in dissent that the case "effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation." Is Scalia right that there is really no distinction between homosexual intimate association and, to quote Scalia's list, "fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity"? What are the proper limits on moral disapproval as a justification for traditional "morals legislation"? * Government's role in promoting public values: conflicts between liberty and equality. To what extent may government inculcate civic virtues and promote public values? We will focus on conflicts between personal liberty (including religious liberty) and the use of antidiscrimination law to secure the status of equal citizenship for gays and lesbians. For example, should laws recognizing same-sex marriage grant religious exemptions to town clerks and business people who morally disapprove of such marriage? * Grounds for justifying rights: protecting freedom to choose versus promoting moral goods. What are the best grounds for justifying rights in circumstances of moral disagreement? For example, should we justify a right to same-sex marriage on the ground that government should respect people's freedom to choose whom to marry? Or instead on the ground that protecting such a right promotes moral goods (the same moral goods that opposite-sex marriage furthers): commitment, intimacy, fidelity, and the like. * Rights, responsibilities, and regulation. To what extent does the protection of rights preclude governmental encouragement of responsible exercise of rights or regulation to protect others from harm? We will examine such issues in the context of reproductive freedom and the individual right to bear arms. * Originalisms versus moral readings of the Constitution. To what extent does constitutional interpretation involve determining the original meaning of the Constitution as a matter of historical fact (originalisms) versus making moral and philosophic judgments about the best understanding of our constitutional commitments (moral readings)? We will explore the emergence of "new originalisms" that aim to justify certain controversial rights that conventional originalists like Justice Scalia have rejected. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 835 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 19th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 James E. Fleming

3 credits

The Law and Economics Seminar is a research workshop. Class sessions will alternate between (1) lectures on selected topics in microeconomic theory and empirical methods, including methodology commonly used in law and economics scholarship, and (2) presentations of working papers by outside speakers (typically faculty members from other institutions). The specific legal topics considered will vary depending on the interests of the speakers, but all paper presentations will focus on application of economics concepts and tools to legal and regulatory issues. Students are responsible for preparing short memoranda that respond to the presented papers. Final grades depend on attendance and participation. NOTES: This class does not satisfy the upper-class writing requirement. OFFERING PATTERN: This class is not offered every year. Students are advised to take this into account when planning their long-term schedule. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 940 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Kathryn Zeiler LAW 410

3 credits

This class will look in depth at the intersection of law and religion in the United States, focusing primarily on the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. Attention will also be given to statutes that protect religious freedom and prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of religion.

3 credits

Does law continue to operate in times of war? This seminar will examine the knotty legal questions underlying current wartime debates, with a primary focus on modern conflicts facing the United States in the post-9/11 era. A complex architecture of international and domestic law governs states and state actors during wartime. Evolving threats, new technologies, and domestic politics have tested these legal frameworks, and the domestic and international laws of war continue to adapt to challenges to their relevance and viability. Topics for discussion may include, among others: Guantanamo detention, targeted killing and drones, interrogation and torture, humanitarian intervention in conflicts like those in Libya and Syria, and the scope of the U.S. President's constitutional and statutory authority to wage war. NOTE: This seminar does not satisfy the Upper-class Writing Requirement. RECOMMENDED COURSES: International Law. GRADING NOTICE: This seminar does not offer the CR/NC/H option. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 797 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Rebecca Ingber LAW 417

Legal History Courses

3 credits

This seminar will investigate constitutional history, from the years leading to the American Revolution through the early twentieth century, from several different angles, including presidential leadership, legislative mandates, and judicial interpretation. We will also consider popular constitutionalism and how society at large debated and helped to shape constitutional interpretation and development. Topics to be covered will include the constitutional impact of the break with Britain, the Founding of the Republic, Civil War era constitutionalism, the redefinition of American citizenship during Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, constitutional law in the industrial Republic, and changes in the rights of the individual and developments as to federalism during the time period covered in this course. No prior history background is necessary. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. GRADING NOTICE: This class does not offer the CR/NC/H option. OFFERING PATTERN: This class is frequently offered in alternating years. Students are advised to take this into account when planning their long-term schedule. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 912 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Samito

3 credits

Selected topics in 19th- and 20th-century U.S. legal history. We will first explore the role of the legal profession in four public controversies: the authority of English common law after the American Revolution, slavery and racism, women's rights, and organized labor. We will then turn our attention to various methodologies for interpreting legal change: formalism, realism, law and economics, critical legal studies, and feminist jurisprudence. Readings (which will be plentiful) are drawn from primary sources (cases, speeches, and treatises) and secondary literature (articles and books). Students can either write a research paper or complete a take-home examination. Research papers may, but need not, fulfill the Writing Requirement.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 804 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue,Thu 2:30 pm 3:55 pm 3 David J. Seipp LAW 209

3 credits

This course will investigate the constitutional history of the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. We will explore legal and constitutional change from several different angles, including presidential leadership, legislative mandates, and judicial interpretation. We will also consider how society at large debated and helped to shape legal developments, paying particular attention to the themes of fluidity, contingency, and participation, and how law, society, and politics mixed during this period to set American legal development on paths that were not predetermined. Topics to be covered will include slavery, secession, Lincoln's constitutionalism, civil liberties and war powers, Lincoln and race, African Americans and the Union, the redefinition of American citizenship during Reconstruction, civil rights during Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow. Prior background in American history is not required. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

3 credits

This seminar will explore the history, origins, and principal theories of democratic government, with a particular focus on the meaning and role of the rule of law. Topics within this rubric may include social contract theory; U.S. Constitutional, parliamentary, and alternative forms of democracy; the economic, social, and cultural prerequisites for democracy; the role of social norms, ideology, and civic virtue in the functioning and persistence of democratic polities; conceptions of the rule of law and individual rights within the framework of majoritarian government; the influence of disparate power and wealth; democracy promotion and the putative emerging right to democratic governance in international law; contemporary challenges to democracy; and the future of democracy. Class participation, periodic reaction papers, and a term paper will be required. NOTE: A limited number of students will be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with this seminar. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 848 A1 , Jan 22nd to Apr 23rd 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert D. Sloane

3 credits

This workshop-format seminar examines the interplay of law, constitutions, and culture from an historical perspective. The heart of the seminar is student engagement with works-in-progress by leading scholars in the history, theory, and culture of law, broadly understood. The first three class sessions will be devoted to developing the intellectual tools necessary for reading and engaging with such papers. Starting in week 4 of the semester, the class format will alternate between workshop sessions and more traditional seminar sessions. During the five workshop sessions, an invited scholar will present a current scholarly work-in-progress for discussion. Students will read the speaker's paper in advance and prepare discussion questions for the seminar. During the other sessions, the class will meet as a normal seminar, during which we will discuss readings related to the workshop papers and legal history more generally. The written work for the seminar will consist of a series of brief, critical essays in response to a student-selected subset of the workshop papers. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing with this seminar. NOTE: This course is open to law students and to graduate students from other departments. A background in history is not a prerequisite. Graduate students from outside the law school may be able to receive 4 credits for this course. Please consult the professor regarding this option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 846 A1 , Jan 22nd to Apr 23rd 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Anna di Robilant

Related Courses

3 credits

A survey of the laws and ethical rules that govern and regulate lawyers in corporate and transactional practice. Topics may include client identification in forming and dissolving business entities, representing close corporations and partnerships, investing in clients (including taking stock in lieu of legal fees), negotiation, representing public companies, the role of in-house counsel, conflicts of interest, and the future of regulating legal services in the US and globally. Students will be given various forms of research and writing assignments, including practical exercises such as drafting a conflicts waiver on behalf of both a corporate client and a law firm. NOTE: This class may be used to satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement or the upper-class writing requirement (limited). This class may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This class does not offer the CR/NC/H option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

previously titled Lawyering in the 21st Century

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 972 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 24th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Nancy J. Moore

3 credits

The course explores the principal remedies available through civil litigation, including compensatory damages, injunctions, declaratory judgments, restitution, and punitive damages, along with remedial defenses. It covers both private-law and public-law remedies. The course examines general principles about the law of remedies that cut across substantive fields and that will be useful to a student or lawyer encountering a remedies problem in any context. It also takes up debates concerning whether law and economics or corrective justice provides a better account of the aims and underlying principles of the law of remedies. The course will be of considerable practical value to anyone interested in civil litigation.