Civil Rights & Constitutional Law

Civil rights and constitutional law are two of the most dynamic and challenging legal practice areas in the United States. Generally, constitutional law encompasses the governmental structure, conferred powers, and protected rights delineated in the US Constitution. But questions about who holds power and whose rights are protected have dominated American society for centuries.

At BU Law, courses covering traditional legal topics such as constitutional history and theory, federalism, and judicial review are offered alongside those that examine legal frameworks through the lens of social identity and social movements. Students can take classes that compare US constitutional law to the constitutional law of other countries; delve deeper into the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of due process and equal protection; or study transgender law, feminist jurisprudence, critical race theory, or free expression in the digital age. 

They can also apply what they’re learning in experiential opportunities such as the Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic, which has worked on anti-discrimination bills in the past; and internships with state and federal judges who engage with constitutional questions that arise in the cases before them. And they do all this in Boston, a city at the heart of American history in a state whose Constitution–which included a Declaration of Rights–became a model for the U.S. Constitution several years later. Boston has been a battleground for many of the country’s civil rights movements, including abolition, gay marriage, and school desegregation.

LLM students can choose from the civil rights and constitutional law courses in the JD Program and also are introduced to some of these topics through their survey of US Constitutional law.