Constitutional Law Courses
The courses listed below provide a taste of the Constitutional Law courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.
PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.
Spring 2019, Jennifer H. Nou
This course examines the structure of the administrative state, its relations to the other branches of government and private citizens, and the constitutional, statutory, and common law rules that govern the substance and procedure of administration action and inaction. A central theme is how the law manages the tension between rule of law values (e.g., procedural regularity, accountability, and substantive limits on arbitrary action) and the desire for flexible, effective administrative governance. In particular, the course focuses on constitutional topics, including the non-delegation doctrine, presidential control over administrative agencies, and the delegation of adjudicative authority to non-Article III officers. Substantial attention is also given to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and other statutory requirements for lawful agency action. Other covered topics include the proper role of agencies in interpreting statutory and regulatory law; judicial review of agency decisions; and public participation in agency rulemaking. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final in-class examination.
- Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
- Spring 2018, Jennifer H. Nou
Winter 2018, Richard McAdams
This seminar will focus on policing and police reform in large American cities, especially Chicago. We will examine the history of the Chicago Police Department and other large city police departments; recent crime levels in Chicago and other cities; municipal practices regarding hiring, training, unionizing, and deployment of police, including community policing; stop and frisk practices; police shootings and other uses of force; citizen complaints and internal discipline; Fourth Amendment doctrine relevant to policing use of force; and institutional mechanisms of accountability. Students will write a series of reaction memos and carry on a discussion regarding the readings and make a brief presentation about a suggestion for reform in one of the last classes. The grade will be based on the memos, the discussion, and the presentation. Students may qualify for an additional credit hour by writing a substantial paper.
Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability
Spring 2019, Craig Futterman
The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project (PAP) is one of the nation's leading law civil rights clinics focusing on issues of criminal justice. Through the lens of live-client work, students examine how and where litigation fits into broader efforts to improve police accountability and ultimately the criminal justice system. Students provide legal services to indigent victims of police abuse in federal and state courts. They litigate civil rights cases at each level of the court system from trial through appeals. Some students also represent children and adults in related juvenile or criminal defense matters. Students take primary responsibility for all aspects of the litigation, including client counseling, fact investigation, case strategy, witness interviews, legal research, pleadings and legal memoranda, discovery, depositions, motion practice, evidentiary hearings, trials, and appeals. A significant amount of legal writing is expected. Students work in teams on cases or projects, and meet with the instructor on at minimum a weekly basis. Students also take primary responsibility for the Clinic's policy and public education work. PAP teaches students to apply and critically examine legal theory in the context of representation of people in need. It teaches students to analyze how and why individual cases of abuse occur and to connect them to systemic problems, often leading to "public impact" litigation and other strategies for policy reform. Through our immersion in live client work, we engage fundamental issues of race, class, and gender, and their intersection with legal institutions. We instruct students in legal ethics and advocacy skills. And we seek to instill in them a public service ethos, as they begin their legal careers. Students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence, Criminal Procedure I, and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Constitutional Law III is also recommended.
- Autumn 2017, Craig Futterman
- Winter 2018, Craig Futterman
- Spring 2018, Craig Futterman
- Autumn 2018, Craig Futterman
- Winter 2019, Craig Futterman
Civil Rights Practicum
Spring 2019, Aziz Huq
In this practicum, students will engage in a range of research and analysis under the supervision of Prof. Huq, in relation to a number of active civil rights cases or other matters. Initial projects will include work on hate-crimes regulation. The aim is to cultivate experience in litigation and advocacy-related tasks in a real world setting, albeit without the structured format of a clinic.
- Autumn 2017, Aziz Huq
- Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
- Autumn 2018, Aziz Huq
- Winter 2019, Aziz Huq
Comparative Legal Institutions
Spring 2019, Thomas Ginsburg
This course is designed to examine a range of legal institutions from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. It is not a traditional course in comparative law, in that it focuses not so much on particular rules of substantive law but on the structure of different legal systems and the consequences of those structural differences for law and society. In particular, we will focus on the economic impact of legal traditions. Readings will be drawn from legal and social science literature, including works from anthropology, economics, political science and sociology. The course will explicitly cover non-Western legal traditions to an extent not found in conventional comparative law courses. Furthermore, American institutions are explicitly included in the comparison: this is not simply a course in foreign law. Assessment is by a three-hour take-home exam. There is an option to write a research paper sufficient to fulfill the substantial writing requirement; LLM, second-year and third-year students can exercise this option freely but only a limited number of first-year students may avail themselves of it.
- Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg
Conflict of Laws
Winter 2018, William Baude
States frequently have different laws, and so it is frequently important which state's law applies to a given case or transaction. This course will confront the choice and enforcement of law in these conflicts. We will cover the competing theories of choice of law, constitutional limits on state authority, and full faith and credit. Application to international law and internet transactions may also be covered.
The Constitution Goes to School
Spring 2019, Justin Driver
This course will examine how the Supreme Court's constitutional opinions have both shaped and misshaped the nation's public schools. In 1969, the Supreme Court famously declared that students do not "shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse gate." Not surprisingly, though, Supreme Court Justices both before and since have bitterly contested the precise scope of students' constitutional rights in the elementary and secondary school contexts. Some Justices, moreover, have concluded that it is typically unwise for the judiciary to enter the educational realm, lest the Supreme Court turn into a schoolboard for the entire nation. Even if such fears are overblown, however, there can be no doubt that the Court's constitutional interpretations have had significant consequences for schools charged with transforming students into citizens. Constitutional topics will include: freedom of speech, establishment of religion, free exercise of religion, searches and seizures, cruel and unusual punishment, due process, and equal protection. Educational topics will include: homeschooling, zero tolerance policies, corporal punishment, school funding, school uniforms, racial desegregation, strip searches, single-sex schools, off campus speech, drug testing, unauthorized immigration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and book banning. There are no prerequisites for enrollment. The student's grade is based on a take-home final examination and class participation. This class is open to non-law students.
- Spring 2018, Justin Driver
Winter 2019, Geoffrey R. Stone
Students enrolled in the seminar will work as "courts" consisting of five "Justices" each. During each of the first eight weeks of the quarter, each court will be assigned two hypothetical cases raising issues under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. All cases must be decided with opinion (concurring and dissenting opinions are permitted). The decisions may be premised on the "legislative history" of the Equal Protection Clause (materials on that history will be provided) and on any doctrines or precedents created by the "Justices" themselves. The "Justices" may not rely, however, on any actual decisions of the United States Supreme Court. The seminar is designed to give students some insight into the problems a Justice confronts in collaborating with colleagues, interpreting an ambiguous constitutional provision, and then living with the doctrines and precedents he or she creates. Enrollment will be limited to three courts. Since the members of each court must work together closely under rigid time constraints, students must sign up as five-person courts. This seminar will not have regularly-scheduled classes (except for introductory and concluding meetings), but you should not underestimate the time demands. It is a very demanding seminar. If more than three courts sign up, I will select the participating courts by lot. To be eligible for participation in the seminar, students should send me an e-mail (email@example.com) including the names and e-mail addresses of all five "Justices." This seminar will not have regularly-scheduled classes (except for an introductory meeting), but you should not underestimate the time demands. It is a very demanding seminar. If more than three courts sign up, I will select the participating courts by lot and I will email you to let you know whether your court has been selected. Registration for this class required an application by November 6. Registration is full for Winter 2019.
- Spring 2018, Geoffrey R. Stone
Constitutional Law for LL.M. Students
Autumn 2018, Gerald N. Rosenberg
This course is designed to introduce LL.M. students to U.S. constitutional law. Topics to be covered include the theory, development and practice of judicial review, the power of, and limitations on, judicial power, the allocation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, judicial involvement in economic policy, and the role of the Supreme Court in adjudicating disputes between the states and the federal government. In addition, the course will cover key doctrines in the areas of equal protection and substantive due process.
- Autumn 2017, Gerald N. Rosenberg
Constitutional Law I: Governmental Structure
Spring 2019, Alison LaCroix
This course provides an introduction to federal constitutional law and constitutional theory. Topics to be covered include the function of judicial review; the role of the states and the federal government in the federal structure; and the allocation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.Students who have taken Constitutional Law for LLMs may not register for this course.
- Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
- Spring 2018, David A. Strauss
- Autumn 2018, William Baude
- Winter 2019, Aziz Huq
Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech
Winter 2019, Geoffrey R. Stone
A study of the doctrine and theory of the constitutional law of freedom of speech. The subjects for discussion include advocacy of unlawful conduct, defamation, invasion of privacy, commercial speech, obscenity and pornography, offensive speech, symbolic expression, protest in public places, regulation of campaign finance, and selective government subsidies of speech.
- Autumn 2017, Laura Weinrib
- Winter 2018, Geoffrey R. Stone
- Autumn 2018, Genevieve Lakier
Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process
Spring 2019, Justin Driver
This course considers the history, theory, and contemporary law of the post-Civil War Amendments to the Constitution, particularly 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, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, and the recognition of certain fundamental rights. Throughout, students consider certain foundational questions, including the role of courts in a democracy and the question of how the Constitution should be interpreted. The student's grade is based on a final take-home examination and class participation.
- Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
- Spring 2018, Justin Driver
- Winter 2019, David A. Strauss
Constitutional Law V: Freedom of Religion
Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
This course explores religious freedom in America, especially under the first amendment. It is recommended that students first take Constitutional Law I. Students who have completed Constitutional Law IV are ineligible to enroll in this course. The grade is based on a substantial paper of 20-25 pages, series of short papers, or final examination, with class participation taken into account. Instructor consent required for paper to be considered for SRP certification.
- Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
Constitutional Law VI: U.S. Constitutional Rights in Comparative Perspective
Autumn 2017, Rivka Weill
The course explores U.S. constitutional law's position regarding the complex burning dilemmas of the twenty first century. These include the death penalty, hate speech, terrorist kidnapping, immigration, secession and nullification, political boycott, the right to bear arms, torture, targeted killings, election integrity and the rights to vote and be elected, the right to marry, freedom of the press, equal protection and affirmative action, abortion, and religious free exercise (especially as it arises in the context of religious sacraments and religious dress). We will examine these issues theoretically and comparatively using Canada, Germany, India, Israel, South Africa and the United Kingdom as case studies. We will reveal fascinating dialogues within countries and between countries on these issues. Assessment for the course will be based on a combination of class participation (10%) and a take-home final examination (90%).
Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State
Spring 2019, Emily Buss
This course considers the role that constitutional law plays in shaping children's development. Among the topics discussed are children's and parent's rights of expression and religious exercise; parental identity rights including rights associated with paternity claims, termination proceedings, assisted reproduction, and adoption; the scope of the state's authority to intervene to protect children, to regulate their conduct, or to influence their upbringing; and the role of race and culture in defining the family.
- Spring 2018, Emily Buss
The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View
Autumn 2018, Emily Buss
In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School and the Laboratory Schools on students' constitutional rights in school. Each class will focus on a different case and related doctrine, and will engage the high school students in a discussion of a scenario that asks them to apply the doctrine to new facts. Topics will include student speech and religious exercise, drug testing and locker searches, procedural rights in the context of disciplinary actions, and race and gender discrimination, among others. Before each class students will read an edited version of a Supreme Court case and will prepare to discuss a case study. After each class the high school students will write a brief reflection piece. Each law student will be paired with two high school students, and will interact with those students in and out of class. Law students will check in with the high school students to assist with class preparation, and will review and comment on the students' reflection pieces. During class, law students will help facilitate the small group discussions. Law students will also submit brief weekly reports of their students' class participation and their out-of-class interactions. At some point in or after the quarter (the timing will be at the law students' discretion, within the time frame permitted under the Law School's paper policy), Law Student's will write a paper that discusses one of the topics we have covered, and that particularly draws on the high school students' perspective, shared in and out of class, to develop a theme relevant to the doctrine in question. Students interested in applying for this class should send a note of interest to Professor Buss firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Winter 2018, Emily Buss
Corporate and Entrepreneurial Finance
Spring 2019, Steven N. Kaplan
This course uses the case method to study the practical aspects of important topics in corporate and entrepreneurial finance. We will apply the concepts and techniques of corporate finance to actual situations. The course is divided into four sections: (1) financing decisions; (2) investment decisions; (3) private equity; and (4) venture capital. In addition to analyzing financing issues, we will consider how those issues relate to firm strategy. It will be important to examine the "big picture" assumptions used in the numerical calculations. This course also places a strong emphasis on presentation and discussion skills. COURSE PROCEDURES For each class meeting, I will assign study questions concerning one or two cases. You are allowed and encouraged, but not required to meet in groups outside of class to discuss and analyze the cases. Each group will submit a two-page memorandum of analysis and recommendations at the beginning of each case discussion. If you are working in a group, I will accept one memorandum from the group and count it for all students in the group. group can include up to 3 students. GRADING Grading will be based on class participation, the short memoranda and a final examination. Class participation will count for 40% of the final grade. Because so much of the learning in this course occurs in the classroom, it is very important that you attend every class. The memoranda will count for 10% of the final grade. The final examination will count for 50% of the final grade. The final examination will be an individual 12 hour take-home case analysis. Students should have an understanding of financial statements. I.e., students should be able to read an income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet.
- Spring 2018, Steven N. Kaplan
Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
Spring 2019, John Rappaport
This course focuses on the law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final examination.
- Winter 2018, John Rappaport
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
- Winter 2019, John Rappaport
Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
Winter 2019, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder
This seminar covers a series of current issues in criminal and national security law, often comparing and contrasting the two approaches, with a particular focus on challenges arising from acts of terrorism and other national security prosecutions (including a focus on substantive terrorism offenses, espionage offenses as well as the leaking of classified information), a discussion of criminal and intelligence investigative tools (comparing Title III electronic surveillance with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ), application of constitutional principles to terrorism investigations and prosecutions (particularly the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the application of Miranda, Quarles and Corley decisions and certain state bar rules in that context), the President's war powers and congressional oversight (including discussions of drone strikes, law of war detention, and Presidential and Congressional authority to use military force), and in other select areas, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, and economic sanctions, and national security leaks. Each class will focus on a different topic, with advance reading assigned around each topic, and grading on the basis of two short reflection papers (3-5 pages each) and a final paper preferably written in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (20-25 pages, including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in criminal and national security law. Guest speakers will help facilitate discussion on certain -requisites: Criminal Law
- Winter 2018, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder
The Demagogue and Executive Power
Autumn 2018, Eric Posner
This seminar explores the question of executive power through the figure of the demagogue, and the related phenomenon of populism. Taking a historical approach, we examine the role of the demagogue at several stages of American history: the founding, the Jeffersonian era, the Jacksonian era; the populist era; the New Deal; and the modern era. We ask, What is a demagogue? What is wrong with demagoguery? What is the relationship between the demagogue and the U.S. Constitution? What is the role of the demagogue in a democracy? We also look at some international comparisons. The readings will be mainly historical.Grades will be based on class participation and reaction papers.
Spring 2019, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
This course examines the law, both constitutional and statutory, that governs the American electoral system. Topics covered include the right to vote, reapportionment and redistricting, minority representation, the regulation of political parties, and campaign finance. The course draws heavily from both legal and political science scholarship. It addresses constitutional provisions including the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, as well as key statutes such as the Voting Rights Act, the Federal Election Campaign Act, and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Students will develop an understanding of not only election law doctrine, but also the theoretical and functional underpinnings of the American electoral system.
- Spring 2018, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
Employment Discrimination Law
Winter 2019, James Whitehead
This course deals with the problem of discrimination in the American workplace and the federal and state statutes that have been enacted to prohibit it. Primary focus will be on the major federal equal employment opportunity statutes (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act), the types of claims that are brought under these laws (disparate treatment, disparate impact, mixed motives, and retaliation claims), and the varying burdens of proof/persuasion, procedural prerequisites, and remedies provided by these statutes, along with current proposals for legislative change. Enrollment will be limited to 20 students. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a final examination.
- Autumn 2017, James Whitehead
Winter 2018, Lee Fennell
This seminar will focus on the law and policy of fair housing, broadly construed. Significant attention will be devoted to antidiscrimination laws in housing, including the federal Fair Housing Act. We will also explore existing and proposed policies for improving access of lower-income people to housing. The dynamics of segregation and concentrated poverty will be examined, as well as the effects of zoning and other land use controls. Additional topics may include urban squatting, rent control, gentrification, subprime lending, the siting of locally undesirable land uses, and the use of eminent domain in "blighted" areas. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a series of short papers. Students may not take this course pass/fail.
Spring 2019, William Baude
This course covers the role of the federal courts in the federal system. Topics will include the jurisdiction of the federal courts, Congress's power over those courts, litigation against federal and state governments and their officials, and the relationships between federal and state courts. Constitutional Law I is a prerequisite, though it may be waived in special circumstances. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.
- Autumn 2017, Adam Mortara
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
- Autumn 2018, Fred O. Smith Jr.
- Winter 2019, Aziz Huq
Federal Criminal Justice Practice and Issues
Winter 2019, Michael Doss
This practice-oriented course integrates instruction on federal pretrial criminal procedures and issues with student practice exercises overseen by the instructor. The course will cover federal criminal practice from investigation up to trial, utilizing examples from recent federal criminal investigations and cases. The course will provide opportunities for student performance to develop professional skills and understanding. In particular, the course will provide instruction on (i) federal investigations and related issues (including Grand Jury proceedings, witness immunity, and search warrants); (ii) corporate internal investigations; (iii) federal charging decisions; (iv) initial appearances following arrest and accompanying bail/detention hearings (v) discovery under the federal criminal rules; (vi) pretrial motions and practice; and (vii) plea agreements and hearings. Students will engage in periodic practice simulations related to the pretrial stages of a federal criminal case. For example, students will conduct mock witness interviews in the context of a corporate internal investigation, present motions and arguments seeking, and objecting to, pretrial detention, and present motions and argument seeking to exclude or admit evidence. The course thus will provide opportunities for oral and written advocacy focusing on federal criminal pretrial practice. Each class session will also include discussion of practical and strategic issues facing both the defense and the prosecution under real-world circumstances at each pretrial stage. A student's grade will be based on class participation and written and oral performance in the simulated practice exercises.
- Winter 2018, Michael Doss
Federal Criminal Practice
Spring 2018, Jared L. Hasten and Shannon T. Murphy
Federal Criminal Practice aims to expand students' knowledge of the scope and application of federal criminal law, and will challenge students to think and act as practicing prosecutors and defense attorneys. The course is taught by a lawyer at Winston & Strawn LLP who focus her practice on criminal law, including representation of individuals and companies in criminal matters and referrals to law enforcement agencies, and a lawyer who works in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Among other things, the course seeks to prepare students to bridge the gap between law school and actual practice of federal criminal law. The course seeks to combine substantive content with practical considerations to help students start to think like a practitioner. The course includes lecture and discussion about significant topics in federal criminal law; guest speakers with prosecutorial, judicial, and private practice experience who will describe the application and implications of these topics; and practical exercises that will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their advocacy abilities both orally and in writing. The course will review four major areas of federal criminal law: (1) the role and scope of the federal criminal system; (2) federal narcotics prosecutions; (3) federal public corruption prosecutions including use of the mail fraud and honest services statutes; and (4) federal racketeering laws. Students will gain a working knowledge of relevant case law on these topics, and will also review and apply real cases prosecuted in federal courts in the Northern District of Illinois. Students will also hear from guest speakers on topics 2-4, who will also provide information about more general challenges and issues that they have observed or experienced in their own practices and will provide tips regarding the upcoming practical exercises, discussed below. To cover a spectrum of experiences, the speakers will be (1) a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois who also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for many years; (2) a current Assistant United States Attorney who is early in his prosecutorial career; and (3) a former Assistant United States Attorney who now focuses his practice on criminal defense work at a law firm. This course is unique in that it will incorporate a practical component, namely: writing and arguing a motion to suppress evidence and a sentencing position; conducting an opening statement; and presenting a short closing argument. For all exercises students will be divided evenly between prosecutors and defense attorneys. Students will complete two written and three oral exercises which, together with class participation, will provide the basis for each student's grade. Because of the practical component, the class size will be strictly limited to 12 students.
Spring 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum
The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism. After studying some key historical texts in the Western tradition (Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, J. S. Mill), we examine four types of contemporary philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Susan Moller Okin, Martha Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Nel Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Gender Theory and trans femism (Judith Butler, Michael Warner and others). After studying each of these approaches, we will focus on political and ethical problems of contemporary international feminism, asking how well each of the approaches addresses these problems. Undergraduates may enroll only with the permission of the instructor. This class has an 8 hour take-home final exam or major paper of 20-25 pages.
Foreign Relations Law
Spring 2019, Eric Posner
This course examines the constitutional and statutory law regulating the conduct of American foreign relations. Topics include the allocation of foreign relations powers between the three branches of the federal government, the status of international law in U.S. courts, the scope of the treaty power, the validity of executive agreements, and the power to declare and conduct war. Grades will be based on a final examination. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2018, Daniel Y. Abebe
The Future of Voting Rights
Spring 2019, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
This seminar will cover the past, present, and future of one of the most important civil rights statutes ever passed: the Voting Rights Act. Topics to be addressed include: (1) the Act's constitutionality; (2) how the Act applies to redistricting; (3) how the Act applies to restrictions of the right to vote; and (4) the intricate relationships between descriptive representation for racial minority groups, substantive representation, and American political geography. Students may write papers of 20-25 pages either on the Act or on any topic pertaining to race and election law.Class participation may also be considered in final grading.
Gideon, Civil Gideon and Access to Justice
Spring 2019, Atinuke Adediran
This seminar explores access to justice and right to counsel debates in the criminal and civil contexts, starting with the landmark Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright. Topics include, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, whether Gideon's promise is being fulfilled in criminal cases, the costs and benefits of having a civil Gideon regime, funding for civil legal services organizations, empirical research on the impact of lawyers on access to justice, pro bono, limited scope representation, and the role of race and class in access to justice. Readings will include cases, law review and social science articles, and book excerpts. Final grades will be based on a series of short response papers and class participation.
Greenberg Seminar: Discrimination in American Institutions
Spring 2018, Adam Chilton and Emily Buss
Although it has been over fifty years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, racial discrimination remains a major problem in America's institutions. In this Greenberg seminar, each session we will watch a documentary film that explores racial discrimination in a different institution that is central to life in America. These will include areas like criminal justice, education, housing policy, political participation, and employment. We will specifically explore the de jure and de facto drivers of discrimination, and ways that legal reforms may help to address these problems. We will also discuss the extent to which the films we watch are successful at identifying and accurately characterizing institutional discrimination, and the power of media to drive awareness and change.
- Autumn 2017, Adam Chilton and Emily Buss
- Winter 2018, Adam Chilton and Emily Buss
Greenberg Seminar: Identity Politics and the State
Winter 2019, Julie Roin and Saul Levmore
We live in an era of identity politics, though a preference for one's family and "group" seems to be hard-wired. How do these affiliations affect loyalty to a state or the emerging preference, especially by the well-educated, for thinking of oneself as a global citizen rather as one loyal to a particular tribe, religion, state, or nation? How do these affiliations affect domestic politics, our own lives, and national policies? We will discuss these and related questions by grounding them in five books, beginning with Amy Chua's Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, before moving on to more local puzzles and conflicts.
- Autumn 2018, Julie Roin and Saul Levmore
Greenberg Seminar: Sex and Civil Rights
Spring 2018, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey R. Stone
Interracial sex and marriage were regulated in America for more than three hundred years. After emancipation in 1865, state anti-miscegenation laws became the cornerstone for the postwar world of racial segregation. These laws remained on the books until 1967, when the Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia. This seminar puts issues of sex, particularly interracial sex, at the center of the story of the modern civil rights movement by focusing on the white supremacist South's foundational fears of sexual danger and the state anti-miscegenation laws that articulated and legitimated those fears. The seminar examines the centrality of sex to each moment in the creation of black rights as well as to the sustained resistance to those rights, and will also address the issue of gay rights in the modern era.
- Autumn 2017, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey R. Stone
- Winter 2018, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey R. Stone
Greenberg Seminar: The Trump Presidency
Spring 2018, Eric Posner and William Howell
Donald Trump is the most divisive president of the modern era. After a tempestuous electoral campaign, he entered office with weak public support, and was immediately embroiled in a series of scandals. Does his presidency change American politics and constitutional understandings, or is he a "normal" president, appearances to the contrary? We will read recent books on the Trump presidency, focusing on his election, his early tenure, and his legal and political battles.
- Autumn 2017, Eric Posner and William Howell
- Winter 2018, Eric Posner and William Howell
Greenberg Seminar: Unions in the American Political System
Spring 2018, Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Genevieve Lakier
In the United States and throughout much of the rest of the world, unions have historically played a tremendously important role in national, as well as local, politics. Over the past several decades, however, union strength has declined markedly, and the ability of unions to play an important role in national politics is today very much in question. In this seminar, we will explore the past, present, and future role that unions have played in the American political system. We will examine the constitutional questions raised by union political power, the challenges that unions face in the present political environment, and the possible alternatives to unions as mobilizing institutions. We will also examine the significant differences in the nature of union political power in other industrialized countries and ask why, in this context as in others, the United States is so exceptional.
- Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Genevieve Lakier
- Winter 2018, Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Genevieve Lakier
Greenberg Seminar: What is Racism?
Spring 2018, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
This seminar explores the historical, sociological, and cultural roots of racism and racial ideologies. It examines the relationship of racism and racial ideologies with different forms of political governance, including segregation and apartheid, and explores the legal mechanisms that have both permitted and prohibited racism in various settings. The seminar will mainly focus on the meaning of racism most prevalent in the United States but will also, where appropriate, consider comparative examples.
- Autumn 2017, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
- Winter 2018, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
Hate Crime Law
Spring 2019, Juan Carlos Linares
This seminar will provide students with an overview of hate crime. The course will explore the emergence of modern hate crime laws in the United States and the legal controversies surrounding them. We will examine the challenges of data collection and the impact of data on policy analysis. Law enforcement and hate crime prosecution will be reviewed. The course will also consider the limits of the legal system to effectively address hate crime through conventional methods and discuss alternative options. Grading will be based on class participation and a final research paper of 20-25 pages.
The History of Civil Liberties in the United States
Winter 2019, Laura Weinrib
This seminar examines changing understandings of civil liberties in American legal history. It emphasizes legal and ideological contests over the meaning of free speech, religious freedom, and reproductive rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Readings explore the intersection between legal struggles and broader developments in social, cultural, and political history, with a particular focus on the labor, civil rights, and feminist movements.This class requires a major paper of 20-25 pages. Students will have option of writing a series of short reaction papers for 2 credits. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.
Human Rights: Alien and Citizen
Winter 2018, Susan R. Gzesh
The basic notion of international human rights is that rights are inherent in the identity of human beings, regardless of their citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. This course will address how international human rights doctrines, conventions, and mechanisms can be used to understand the situation of the "alien" (or foreigner) who has left his or her country of origin to work, seek safe haven, or simply reside in another country. How native or resident populations and governments respond to new arrivals has varied tremendously in the past and present. In some situations, humanitarian impulses or political interests have dictated a warm welcome and full acceptance into the national community. In other cases, alien populations have become targets of suspicion and repression. In some extreme cases, states have "denationalized" resident populations who previously enjoyed national citizenship. We will use an interdisciplinary approach to address such questions as (1) Why do human beings migrate? What might human rights as a measuring instrument tell us about conditions that promote refugee flows and other forms of forced migration? (2) What is the meaning of citizenship? How is it acquired or lost? What rights may societies and nation-states grant only to citizens, but withhold from others? (3) Are human rights truly universal? Are rights necessarily dependent on citizenship? (4) How do differences in rights between citizens and aliens become more important during national security crises? (5) What are the principal categories used by nation states to classify foreign visitors and residents? How do these categorizations affect the rights of foreigners? (6) How do international human rights doctrines limit actions by states with respect to certain categories of foreigners such as refugees, asylum applicants, and migratory workers? (7) Given the non-voting status of foreign populations in almost all countries, how are the rights of aliens represented in societies of settlement? How do home country governments regard their expatriate communities? The student's grade is based on attendance, participation, and a major paper.
Human Rights: Contemporary Issues
Autumn 2018, Susan R. Gzesh
This interdisciplinary course presents an overview of several major contemporary human rights problems as a means to explore the use of human rights norms and mechanisms. The course addresses the roles of states, inter-governmental bodies, national courts, civil society actors including NGOs, victims, and their families, and other non-state actors. Topics are likely to include universalism, enforceability of human rights norms, the prohibition against torture, U.S. exceptionalism, and the rights of women, racial minorities, and non-citizens.
- Autumn 2017, Susan R. Gzesh, Matthew Furlong, and Kai Parker
Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres
This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy.
- Spring 2018, Adam Chilton
The Interbellum Constitution: Union, Commerce, and Slavery in the Early 19th Century
Winter 2019, Alison LaCroix
This seminar examines the legal and intellectual history of debates concerning American constitutional law and politics between the Revolution and the Civil War, approximately 1800 to 1860. Topics to be discussed include the federal-state relationship, the commerce power, internal improvements, the market revolution, federal regulation of slavery in the territories, and the role of the federal courts. The grade will be based on a final written paper 20-25 pages, a short in-class presentation, and class participation.
Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic
Spring 2019, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
The Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic represents parties and amici curiae in cases before the United States Supreme Court and other appellate courts. Students work on all aspects of the clinic's cases -- from formulating case strategy; to researching and writing merits briefs, amicus curiae briefs, and petitions for certiorari; to preparing for oral arguments. Students also conduct research on cases that may be suitable to bring to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the clinic's focus is the U.S. Supreme Court, the clinic may also handle cases in the United States Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court. The clinic is supervised by Assistant Clinical Professor Sarah Konsky, Professor David Strauss, and members of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice group at Jenner & Block. U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice (LAWS 50311) is a required co-requisite for 2L and 3L students participating in the clinic. Students who have successfully completed a course covering content comparable to the U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice seminar may seek consent from Professor Konsky to waive the co-requisite requirement. If you have taken LAWS 50311 previously, no special approval is needed. Academic credit for the clinic varies and is awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical faculty.
- Autumn 2017, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
- Winter 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
- Spring 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
- Autumn 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
- Winter 2019, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
Winter 2019, Diane P. Wood
In this seminar, we will explore the various doctrines that police the line between the role of the U.S. federal courts and the often-parallel role of the state courts (or occasionally tribal courts). Those doctrines include the limits on the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts found in Article III; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; constitutional or common-law limitations on federal authority such as those for domestic-relations and probate cases; the various abstention doctrines (Pullman, Burford, Younger, Colorado River); the Anti-Injunction Acts; notions of lis pendens that apply in both federal and state courts; "complete" versus defense preemption, and habeas corpus review of state-court criminal judgments in federal courts. We will also compare the U.S. system to that of the European Union. There are no prerequisites. Students will write a paper (which can qualify for the substantial writing requirement) for credit in the seminar.All students are required (1) to have an individual conference at which the paper topic is approved, (2) to turn in a rough draft for comments, and then (3) to turn in a final paper of 20-25 pages.
- Winter 2018, Diane P. Wood
Law and Practice of Zoning, Land Use, and Eminent Domain
Autumn 2017, Thomas Geselbracht, Paul Shadle, and Theodore Novak
This seminar is a multi-disciplinary, multi-partisan discussion of the balance between private property rights and governmental regulation in land use and development. We primarily address (i) the constitutional bases of private rights and public land use planning; (ii) eminent domain, takings and exactions (including impact fees and regulatory takings); (iii) current manifestations of local and regional planning and zoning, including City of Chicago zoning revisions; and (iv) legal procedures and practical strategies for obtaining public financial incentives, land use approvals, and "relief" for real estate development projects, both large and small. Our discussions are based on case law and our real world experience; active class participation by members of the seminar is essential. "Illinois Zoning, Eminent Domain and Land Use Manual" is used to provide practical answers to the issues presented in the seminar; other case materials are provided by the instructors upon registration. Grades are based on class participation and either a paper addressing a substantive topic or a proctored exam.
Winter 2019, Ryan D. Doerfler
This course is an introduction to lawmaking in the modern administrative state. It will examine how Congress and administrative agencies adopt binding rules of law (statutes and regulations, respectively) and the ways that implementing institutions - courts and administrative agencies - interpret and apply these rules. The course will consider the structure of the modern administrative state, the incentives that influence the behavior of the various actors, and the legal rules that help to structure the relationships among Congress, the agencies, and the courts. The text for the course is MANNING & STEPHENSON EDS., LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, 3D EDITION (Foundation Press 2017). Grades will be based on an examination at the end of the semester.
Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
Spring 2018, Richard A. Epstein
Much legal work today involves the close reading and interpretation of statutes or similar texts. This class considers current theories and problems related to the production and interpretation of statutes. The class encompasses political theory and public choice approaches to the legislative process as they relate to legal interpretation. It aims to bolster students' ability to work with statutes in law school and beyond. At the end of the class, students will have a thorough grasp of the production of statutes by the legislative branch and their use by the courts.
Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor
This seminar examines the treatment of gender, sexual orientation and related questions of sexuality and identity in the U.S. legal system. The course emphasizes constitutional jurisprudence and theory with a particular focus on the First Amendment and the equal protection and due process guarantees, and statutory antidiscrimination provisions. Topics covered include marriage rights, student speech, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory antidiscrimination provisions, the rights of students to access sex segregated facilities, public and private workplace concerns, rights of intimate and expressive association, and asserted conflicts between religious liberty and nondiscrimination principles.A major paper of 20-25 pages is required for this class. Class participation may be considered in final grading.
Life (and Death) in the Law
Spring 2019, Herschella G. Conyers
This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write two response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation.
- Spring 2018, Herschella G. Conyers
Spring 2019, William Baude
In this seminar we will consider several different aspects of the doctrine of precedent. Do lower courts have to obey the precedents of higher courts? If so, why, and when? Does the Constitution permit the Supreme Court to follow precedent, even when that precedent misinterprets the Constitution? If so, why? And under what circumstances can or should precedents be overturned? Is it possible to have a principled doctrine of precedent? We will consider both examples from case law and arguments from text, structure, and history.A previous constitutional law class is recommended, but not required. A major paper of 20-25 pages is required. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.
Winter 2018, Lior Strahilevitz
This course surveys legal efforts to draw boundaries between the public and private spheres. Substantive topics of discussion may include privacy tort law, the constitutional right to information privacy, financial privacy, Internet and consumer privacy; health privacy; FTC privacy regulations; European privacy law; the relationship between privacy and the First Amendment; the Fourth Amendment and other restrictions on governmental investigations and surveillance. The student's grade is based on an in-class final examination and class participation.
Public Land Law
Autumn 2018, Richard H. Helmholz
This course introduces the law governing public lands in the United States, including the preservation and the exploitation of the natural resources on those lands. The course deals with the administrative structures and the legal doctrines that have been developed to control use and enjoyment of the public lands. It takes up selected subjects to illustrate how the system works. Among possible subjects for inclusion are: the national parks, timber policy, grazing rights, mining law, protection of wildlife, and wilderness preservation. The choice of subjects to be studied will depend in large part on the interests of the students who enroll.
Reproductive Health and Justice
Winter 2019, Lorie Chaiten
This seminar will examine the history and evolution of legal protections for abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care. We will look at state and federal constitutional, statutory and common law theories used to secure and protect these rights. We will explore current threats and growing barriers to access, including ever-expanding assertions of religious beliefs to limit access to reproductive health care. We will also look at advocacy strategies for addressing those threats and barriers. Grades are based on a final paper of 20-25 pages and class participation.
The Roberts Court
Spring 2019, Lee Epstein and Adam Liptak
Co-taught by Professor Lee Epstein and Mr. Adam Liptak (Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times) with Judge Richard A. Posner and Professors Dennis Hutchinson and William M. Landes also participating, this course will examine the contemporary Supreme Court. Topics include the Court's membership; its procedures for selecting cases for review; the role of lawyers, law clerks, and journalists; and doctrinal developments in several areas of the law.
- Winter 2018, Lee Epstein, Adam Liptak, Richard A. Posner, Dennis J. Hutchinson, and William M. Landes
The Social and Legal Construction of Race
Spring 2018, LaToya Baldwin Clark
This seminar will examine the role of law in creating and recreating race in our decidedly non-post-racial society. Topics covered will include racial identity, reproduction, and criminal justice. Readings will include cases to understand the "law on the books;" law review articles to understand how legal academics interact the law and its implications; and social science research to understand "law in action."Final grade will be based on: a major paper (3 credits), a series of short reaction papers (2 credits), and class participation.
Supreme Court Strategy, Administrative Jurisprudence, and the Law
Spring 2019, Robert R. Gasaway
This seminar has two goals. First, it will introduce concepts of big-case Supreme Court strategy with the aid of guest appearances by eminent ,judges, lawyers, and business executives. Scheduled to appear are Judge Amy Coney Barrett (Seventh Circuit), Mary Tolan, General Partner, Chicago-Pacific Founders and member, University of Chicago Board of Trustees; Justice Judith French (Ohio Supreme Court), W. Thomas Haynes, former General Counsel Coca-Cola North American and Executive Director, Coca-Cola Bottlers' Association, Tracy Genesen, Wine Institute General Counsel, and Jack McMackin, Williams & Jensen, and Ashley C. Parrish, King & Spalding. Second, we will explore from a jurisprudential standpoint today's administrative-law controversies -- above all, the fundamental challenges to traditional non-delegation and Chevron deference doctrines. The unifying theme for these (seemingly) distinct topics is the need to delve at least one layer of legal logic deeper when confronting difficult problems of theory and practice. Grades will be based on papers. Readings will be drawn from traditional and non-traditional legal materials. Administrative Law (whether taken previously or concurrently) is helpful; not required. A major paper of 20-25 pages is required.
U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice
Autumn 2018, Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
This seminar will provide an in-depth look at the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular emphasis on the skills required to practice successfully in that forum. Students will not only discuss the Court as an institution, but they will also hone skills needed to navigate the certiorari process and to brief and argue before the Court. In addition to class participation, students will be graded on a legal brief (generally 15-25 pages in length) and on their performance in a moot court. Students interested in enrolling should email Mr. Scodro (email@example.com) and Professor Konsky (firstname.lastname@example.org), a resume and short statement of interest explaining why they would like to enroll in the seminar.
- Autumn 2017, Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg
Wine raises a host of national and international regulatory issues, from importing to trademarks to constitutional federalism. This seminar will work through the basics of Wine law in the United States, with a section on relevant international issues as well.Final grade will be based on: a major paper, a series of short research papers, class participation.
Women's Human Rights in the World
Winter 2019, Claudia M. Flores
This seminar examines women's human rights from a global comparative perspective. We will explore legal concepts under international and domestic law that impact gender equality such as formal vs. substantive equality, non-discrimination vs. equality and inclusion vs. transformation. We will engage in a focused inquiry into areas impacting women's human rights including violence, reproduction and political participation. We will discuss the evolution of women's rights, variations in state interpretation and implementation, and the social, economic, political and cultural factors that impact their realization.Students will have the choice to take the seminar for two credits and write 3 reaction papers or three credits and write a longer paper of 20-25 pages at the end. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2018, Claudia M. Flores
Workshop: Constitutional Law
Spring 2019, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
This workshop, conducted over three sequential quarters, exposes students to current academic work in constitutional law and theory and other areas of public law. Workshop sessions are devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers from outside speakers, at six to eight sessions to be conducted regularly throughout the academic year. Enrollment may be limited. This workshop may be taken for fulfillment of the Substantial Research Paper graduation requirement. Grading is based on a substantial paper (or two shorter papers) plus brief reaction papers on each of the workshop papers. As an alternative to writing a long paper, you may write two or more extended reaction papers (i.e., 10-12 pages) to the papers presented in the workshop. You have to get our approval in advance for this option. We encourage it if you find that you have a lot to say about some of the workshop papers. If you wish to receive Writing Project (WP) credit for this option, you must submit a draft of each of the two long response papers to us and satisfactorily incorporate our suggestions.
- Autumn 2017, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
- Winter 2018, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
- Autumn 2018, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
- Winter 2019, Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
Workshop: Public Law and Legal Theory
Spring 2019, Jonathan Masur
Working from a variety of methodological orientations, the workshop examines questions arising at the intersections of public law, legal theory, and interdisciplinary work in law and the social sciences, with an emphasis on politics, legal history, and legal theory. Sessions are devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers by faculty members from other institutions. Students must enroll for the entire year and will receive one pass/fail credit. Students are required to read the papers, attend the workshop, ask questions, and to post questions to the online discussion board.The Public Law Workshop will meet on alternating Tuesday afternoons throughout the year. Enrollment in the Public Law Workshop is compatible with enrollment in the Law & Economics Workshop, because the two will never meet on the same day. However, students enrolling in the Public Law Workshop should check to make sure that they do not intend to take other Tuesday afternoon courses that would overlap with the Workshop.Short reaction papers will be required.
- Autumn 2017, Jonathan Masur, Richard H. Helmholz, Adam Chilton, Daniel J. Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier
- Winter 2018, Jonathan Masur, Richard H. Helmholz, Adam Chilton, Daniel J. Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier
- Spring 2018, Jonathan Masur, Richard H. Helmholz, Adam Chilton, Daniel J. Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier
- Autumn 2018, Jonathan Masur
- Winter 2019, Jonathan Masur
Wrongful Discrimination: Legal and Philosophical Perspectives
Spring 2019, Nethanel Lipshitz
As human beings, we make distinctions all the time. We cannot get by in the world without discriminating. Yet, some forms of discrimination are wrongful, and when discrimination is wrongful, it is typically considered to be a central case of injustice and unfairness. The question of what makes an incidence of discrimination wrong is thus a topic of heated social debate. This is the main question we will take up in this seminar. We will read philosophical literature on discrimination, and use legal cases as our cases studies. We will look in more detail at one case of discrimination in particular - discrimination against the disabled - and discuss the contentious topic of affirmative action.A major paper of 20-25 pages is required for this class. Class participation may be considered in final grading.