Emily Buss’ Seminar on Constitutional Rights, Pairing Law Students with Incarcerated Teens, Featured by ABA

Rights Work: UChicago constitutional law course brings together incarcerated youths, law students

It’s the last night of a constitutional law course at the University of Chicago Law School. Tonight’s debate pits two groups of students against the other as if each is preparing a campaign for governor.

“What’s the most important constitutional right, and what would you change about it?” asks professor Emily Buss.

“The right to bear arms,” says a young man wearing a gray hoodie sweatshirt and a black skullcap. “You know, who can and can’t carry a gun, like felons.”

The opposing team agrees. “The right to protect yourself should be a right for everyone in the U.S.,” responds a young man in a long-sleeved gray T-shirt and jeans with closely cropped hair.

For a moment, the debate seems to stall until the only young woman among them speaks. “I don’t support the right to bear arms. I don’t think anyone should be able to have a gun.”

The participants in this classic debate on gun control aren’t the nine law students enrolled in the seminar. They are youths currently in the custody of Illinois’ juvenile justice system, participating in a UChicago Law-sponsored course titled “The Constitutional Rights of Young People, from Young People’s Point of View.”

Read more at ABA Journal