Gerald Rosenberg : Courses and Seminars
Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions
The purpose of this seminar is two-fold. First, the seminar aims to introduce students to the political science literature on courts understood as political institutions. In examining foundational parts of this literature, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What factors influence judicial decision-making? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the seminar with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. Second, by critically assessing approaches to the study of the courts, the seminar seeks to highlight intelligent and sound approaches to the study of political institutions. Particular concern will focus on what assumptions students of courts have made, how evidence has been integrated into their studies, and what a good research design looks like. There will be a mandatory preliminary meeting for interested students in the Autumn; law student enrollment is limited to 7. There is a choice. Students can either write two 5-7 page analytic papers and complete a take-home final or they can write one 5-7 page analytic paper and undertake a substantial research paper. Papers may meet the substantial research paper (SRP) graduation requirement.
Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process
This course considers the history, theory, and contemporary law of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The central subjects are the constitutional law governing discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and other characteristics, and the recognition of individual rights not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. Throughout the course, students consider foundational questions about the role of courts in a democracy and how the Constitution should be interpreted. The grade is based on a final in-class examination and class participation.