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 2021-22 and 2022-23 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.

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Access to Justice

Access to justice is a persistent and pressing problem in the American legal system. Significant structural barriers prevent people from exercising their rights and from getting fair outcomes from the civil legal system. Moreover, their lack of access to fair and equitable dispute resolution re-enforces existing systems of inequality. Drawing mostly on an emerging empirical literature on access to justice, this seminar will focus on the obstacles to providing quality civil legal aid and on solutions, including making courts less complex, increasing the supply of lawyers, and offering dispute resolution outside of the legal system. This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words).


  • Autumn 2022: Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2021: Anna-Maria Marshall

Administrative Law

This course will study the law governing the administrative state - the executive departments of the federal government. Among other things, we will consider the constitutional foundations of the administrative state; the statutes, especially the Administrative Procedure Act, that govern administrative agencies; presidential control of administrative agencies; the role of agencies in interpreting statutes and regulations; and judicial review of agency action. A central theme is the tension between values associated with the rule of law (such as procedural regularity, transparency, democratic accountability, and reasoned decisionmaking) and the demands of effective executive action. Students' grades are based on a final examination.


  • Autumn 2022: Thomas Ginsburg
  • Winter 2023: David A Strauss
  • Spring 2022: Jennifer Nou
  • Winter 2022: David A. Strauss
  • Autumn 2021: Jennifer Nou
  • Winter 2020: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2019: Jennifer Nou
  • Spring 2018: Jennifer Nou
  • Autumn 2017: Nicholas Stephanopoulos

American Indian Law

This course will consider the law governing the relation between non-tribal law and tribal law. This is the law of treaties, federal jurisdiction, and sovereignty. The Supreme Court has several cases on tribal issues each year, and with the rise of gaming and natural resources as major sources of wealth, the stakes in these cases for tribe members and non-members is increasing. Last year, the Supreme Court decided a case that suggests half of Oklahoma, including Tulsa, is actually "Indian Country," and subject, in part, to tribal law. The materials for the course will be mostly Supreme Court cases, as well as some historical materials necessary to understand the context of the judicial consideration of tribal jurisdiction. The flavor for this part of the course will be international law, although with a decidedly American approach.

This course will have a final exam. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: M. Todd Henderson
  • Spring 2022: M. Todd Henderson
  • Autumn 2019: M. Todd Henderson

American Legal History, 1607-1870: Colonies to Reconstruction

This course examines major themes and interpretations in the history of American law and legal institutions from the earliest European settlements through the Civil War. Topics include continuity and change between English and American law in the colonial period; the American Revolution and its consequences for state and national law; the drafting, ratification, and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; debates over federalism, commerce, citizenship, and slavery; and the constitutional and legal consequences of the Civil War. Students who have taken American Legal History, 1800-1870: Revolution to Reconstruction should not enroll in this course.

The student's grade will be based on a final examination.


  • Winter 2023: Alison LaCroix

Church and State

What is the optimal model for church-state relations? Throughout history, nations wrestled with this question and experimented with setting the bounds in different places. In this seminar, we will read classic texts (e.g. J.S. Mill, Kymlicka, Okin) that offer different theoretical approaches to constructing the church-state relationship, and will explore the shifting American model in comparison to alternative models developed in other countries. Students will write a series of reaction papers.


  • Autumn 2022: Netta Barak Corren

Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability

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 2022: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2023: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2023: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2022: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2017: Craig Futterman

Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions

This seminar will explore the ways in which having a criminal record changes people's lives, as well as the broader social and public safety impact of those consequences, including distributive consequences along racial and socioeconomic lines. We will explore the many "collateral legal consequences" of criminal convictions (that is, legal consequences other than the sentence), constitutional theories for challenging those consequences, and socioeconomic hurdles facing people with records, especially those reentering society from prison. We'll also evaluate, from an interdisciplinary perspective, various legal and policy interventions designed to help people with records overcome these obstacles and avoid criminal recidivism. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Sonja Starr
  • Spring 2021: Sonja Starr

Comparative Constitutional Design

Designing "The Supreme Law of the Land" is challenging. Recent constitution-making exercises in Chile, Nepal and elsewhere have called new attention to the problems of institutional design of political systems. In this seminar we will examine the design and implementation of national constitutions, and how to understand Fundamental Laws around the world. In particular, we will address the following questions: What are the basic elements of constitutions? How do these elements differ across time, across region, and across regime type, and legal background? What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions? What models, theories, and writings have influenced the framers of constitutions? How does Judicial Review works in different constitutional systems? We will first review the historical roots of constitutions and investigate their provisions and formal characteristics. We will also discuss the circumstances surrounding the drafting of several exemplary or noteworthy constitutions, from various regions of the world, their similarities and relevant differences. We will then examine selected features of institutional design in depth, and analyze the factors that make constitutions effective and enduring. Method of evaluation will be exam or major paper.


  • Winter 2022: Rodrigo Delaveau Swett

Comparative Constitutional Studies

In this seminar, we will study recent developments in constitutional law and politics from a comparative perspective. In particular, it explores the role of constitutional design in the context of recent threats to constitutionalism across the world. It has two distinctive features: first, it examines comparative constitutional law through the lens of pluri-national and deeply divided societies. Constitutions are supposed to provide political and legal mechanisms for resolving societal disputes, and a focus on deeply divided societies will allow us to examine this function closely. We will, therefore, draw our examples not only from constitutionally influential jurisdictions, but also from those outside the 'canon' of comparative constitutional law. Second, the seminar goes beyond a focus on courts and legal norms. Apart from constitutional courts, it includes a study of other constitutional institutions (such as legislatures, executives, political parties, and guarantor institutions such as electoral commissions, ombudsoffices, human rights and equality commissions, and anti-corruption bodies). Recommended (not required): any constitutional law/politics/theory class concerning any jurisdiction(s). This class has a final exam (2 credits), plus optional papers (3 credits). Students may also write a major paper (20-25 pages) for 3 credits.


  • Spring 2022: Tarunabh Khaitan

Comparative Legal Institutions

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. In lieu of taking the exam, there is an option to write a research paper (6000-7500 words) 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. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Tom Ginsburg
  • Spring 2022: Tom Ginsburg

Conflict of Laws

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 legal doctrines that address these conflicts. We will cover the competing theories of choice of law, constitutional limits on state authority, and full faith and credit. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2022: William Baude

Constitutional Crisis, Liberal Amendment, and the Practice of Law

The constitutional clash and crisis unfolding before our eyes, sometimes labeled "acute polarization," rests at bottom on a seemingly never-ending struggle between, on one hand, overly literal-minded constitutional originalism and, on the other, overly politicized constitutional pragmatism.

The thesis on offer in this course - for discussion, refinement, and criticism - maintains that these competing perspectives will be reconciled, sooner or later, in a series of constitutional amendments reflecting a liberal, logical, apolitical constitutionalism that modulates and enables political discussion and decision-making without channeling it toward preferred outcomes. Our thesis holds that we already know the outlines of the end to the epochal story of our times. What remains to be written are middle chapters that will carry us from clash and crisis toward reform and resolution.

This course offers a chance for students to think about and try their hand at composing those middle chapters. The goal is to help students understand law from a perspective that avoids narrower mindsets that drive wedges between lawyer and lawyer and citizen and citizen, while failing to persuade the vast majority of federal judges. By teaching students to draw the surprisingly firm connections between liberal constitutionalism and winning advocacy, the course seeks a well-balanced grounding in both high-level theory and day-to-day practice.

The regular course instructors, Lecturers in Law Robert Gasaway and Anagha Sundararajan, will be joined at times by a guest lecturer, Ashley C. Parrish, who is the co-head of King & Spalding's national appellate practice. In addition, one of the theory classes will be joined (via Zoom) by Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith.

In addition to one long paper (6000-7500 words), short reaction papers (totaling less than 3000 words) will also factor into students' grades.

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2022: Robert Gasaway and Anagha Sundararajan

Constitutional Decisionmaking

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 ( by Friday, November 4, 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 by Monday, November 7, to let you know whether your court has been selected.

Students in each court will write mock Supreme Court opinions in a series of eight hypothetical cases. On average, each student in this seminar writes opinions totaling approximately 50 single-spaced pages. This includes SRP papers.


  • Winter 2023: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Winter 2022: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Winter 2021: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Winter 2019: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2018: Geoffrey R. Stone

Constitutional Law I: Governmental Structure

This course provides an introduction to the U.S. Constitution. We will focus on the separation of powers and federalism, including Congress's enumerated powers, the scope of executive power, judicial review, and the ability of each branch to check the others. In the course of covering those substantive topics, we will also discuss constitutional interpretation, both by judges and by others. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.


  • Winter 2023: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2023: William Baude
  • Spring 2022: Bridget A. Fahey
  • Winter 2022: Alison LaCroix
  • Autumn 2021: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2021: Bridget A. Fahey
  • Winter 2021: William Baude
  • Winter 2021: Alison LaCroix
  • Spring 2020: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2019: Ernest A. Young
  • Spring 2019: Alison LaCroix
  • Winter 2019: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018: William Baude
  • Spring 2018: David A. Strauss
  • Winter 2018: Aziz Huq

Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech

This course explores 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. Students who have completed Constitutional Law IV are ineligible to enroll in this course. The grade is based on a final examination and class participation.


  • Winter 2023: Genevieve Lakier
  • Autumn 2022: Wesley Campbell
  • Spring 2022: Geofrey R. Stone
  • Winter 2022: Geofrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2021: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2020: Genevieve Lakier
  • Spring 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2019: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2019: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2018: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2018: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2017: Laura Weinrib

Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process

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 the recognition of certain fundamental rights. Throughout, students consider 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.

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Genevieve Lakier and Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2023: Geoffrey Stone
  • Spring 2022: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2022: David A. Strauss
  • Autumn 2021: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2021: Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2021: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2021: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2020: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2019: Justin Driver
  • Winter 2019: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2018: Justin Driver
  • Autumn 2017: Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Constitutional Law V: Freedom of Religion

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 (6000-7500 words) or a series of short papers with class participation taken into account. Instructor consent required for paper to be considered for SRP certification. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2022: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2021: Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2020: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018: Mary Anne Case

Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State

This course considers the constitutional law governing the rights of parents and children and the role that constitutional law plays in shaping children's development. Among the topics discussed are parents' right to control the upbringing of their children; children's rights of speech, religion, procreative freedom and against cruel and unusual punishment; children's procedural rights in school and in the criminal justice system; 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.

This class has a final exam or a major paper may be written (6000-7500 words). Students wishing to pursue the paper option should contact the instructor to discuss this within the first week of class.


  • Spring 2023: Emily Buss

Constitutional Law for LL.M. Students

This course is designed to introduce LL.M. students to U.S. constitutional law. Topics 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.

This class will have a final exam. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Gerald N. Rosenberg
  • Spring 2022: Gerald N. Rosenberg
  • Spring 2021: Gerald N. Rosenberg
  • Autumn 2019: Gerald N. Rosenberg
  • Autumn 2018: Gerald N. Rosenberg
  • Autumn 2017: Gerald N. Rosenberg

Constitutional Procedure

This seminar explores the procedural aspects of constitutional litigation. It is not a traditional course in constitutional law in that it does not focus on the substance of constitutional law but rather on the special procedures employed in constitutional law cases, such as three-judge district courts, intervention by the attorney general, Congressional participation, certification of constitutional questions and direct appeals to the Supreme Court. As the recent litigation over the constitutionality of the Texas abortion law has shown, procedural complications play a unique and important role in how the federal judiciary exercises its constitutional function. A central aim of the seminar is to expose the failures of ordinary judicial procedures in dealing with the challenges that arise from contemporary constitutional litigation and the ways in which judicial review has been shaped through tailored procedural arrangements that are often overlooked and not covered in other classes. We will also examine this emerging field from a comparative perspective by looking at various practices and rules of procedure with which other constitutional systems around the world have experimented to accommodate the particularities of constitutional cases. Assessment will be based either by a series of short reaction papers for 2 credits or upon a final paper of 6000-7500 words for 3 credits. Participation may also be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Ramon Feldbrin

The Constitutional Rights of Young People, from Young People's Point of View

This seminar will be offered to a small group of law students who will co-teach a group of high school students who are currently in the custody of Illinois's Juvenile Justice System. Topics will include: young peoples' rights to engage in speech and religious exercise, to control medical and reproductive decisions, to bear arms, to be afforded due process, to vote, and to be protected against discrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures. Each law student will be paired with one or two high school students living in and attending school in a juvenile facility and will be responsible for supporting those students' learning, commenting on their weekly work, and co-running weekly small group sessions. Law Students will also be expected to participate in additional group meetings with Professor Buss to plan the curriculum and discuss the insights gained from the class, and in individual meetings with the high school students as part of the teaching process. The seminar will likely meet on Tuesday evenings but the schedule for the class is still being worked out with the Juvenile Justice administrators. Additional meetings, some likely online, will be scheduled to accommodate the schedules of enrolled law students, high school students and Professor Buss. Priority will be given to Law Students enrolled in Con Law VII, to increase the law students' expertise on the topics addressed in the High School seminar and to enrich the learning in Con Law VII. If any students not enrolled in Con Law VII are enrolled in the seminar, they will be expected to do additional reading to prepare them for the seminar sessions. Law Students' writing will consist of weekly response papers addressing high school students' participation and reflecting upon the insights gained from the youth. Advance approval by Emily Buss is required., and space is limited. Professor Buss by email at no later than Friday, February 17 at noon. Please include in your statement of interest any relevant background working with young people and any other information that you think is relevant to my enrollment decisions.


  • Spring 2023: Emily Buss

Constitutionalism After AI

This seminar explores the effect that artificial intelligence (AI) has on constitutional rights and values. "AI" here means the range of actually existing computational instruments for making predictions and identifying correlations from large pools of data. "Constitutional values" is a term that captures not just the individual rights identified in the U.S. Constitution, but more generally the fundamental interests and structural norms picked out by the American constitution or other liberal democratic organic laws. AI is increasingly used in legal decision-making and their role is likely to increase in the next several decades, dramatically transforming our legal system. These new tools pose a set of challenges to constitutional values: This seminar explores those challenges.A series of research papers (6000-7500 words) is required. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2022: Aziz Huq

Constitutions Lab: Myanmar

The coup d'état initiated by the Myanmar military in 2021 has created a horrific humanitarian situation. It has also brought a host of legal challenges, including: the question of who properly represents the country at the United Nations and other international fora; the status of existing peace agreements with armed resistance organizations; and the future constitution of the country. This Lab will grapple with these issues. It will first cover a series of background readings on the country, followed by short assignments that will inform constitution-making efforts under way for Myanmar. Group projects and memos will be the basis of evaluation. Participation may be considered in final grading. Enrollment is limited and by instructor approval only. Interested students should send a cv and statement of interest no later than noon on November 11 to Prof. Gelbort


  • Winter 2023: Jason Gelbort
  • Autumn 2021: Jason Gelbort and Tom Ginsburg

Counterintelligence and Covert Action - Legal and Policy Issues

This seminar first explores legal issues relating to covert action, defined as action intended to influence political, economic, or military conditions in another nation or territory without revealing the involvement of the sponsor government. Case studies focus on the events collectively known as the "Iran-Contra" affair, applications in the "War on Terror," cyberwarfare, and other recent and historical events. Other themes include balancing security and liberty, promoting transparency and accountability with efficacy, statutory interpretation and executive power, and the implications of technological change on all of the above. The seminar next focuses on the legal framework for counterintelligence-neutralizing and/or exploiting our adversaries' intelligence activities against US national security interests. Such adversaries may include foreign intelligence services, terrorists, foreign criminal enterprises, cyber intruders, or some combination thereof. The seminar considers both legal and policy issues raised in efforts to prevent adversarial espionage action targeting US military, diplomatic, and economic interests at home and abroad. Throughout the course, students will be asked (in groups and individually) to step into the shoes of various government legal advisers and policymakers and to consider-and advocate for or against as they switch roles and institutions-courses of action based upon the readings and hypothetical scenarios. Students will learn the key separation of powers principles and issues relating to covert action and counterintelligence, the basic statutory and constitutional framework governing the these areas, and how to think about these issues from the institutional perspective of executive branch officials and members of Congress. Grades are based upon a final paper (6000-7500 words), occasional short response papers, and reasonable class participation.

Constitutional Law I is strongly recommended prior to taking the seminar, but not required.


  • Spring 2022: Stephen Cowen
  • Autumn 2022: Stephen Cowen and Tony Garcia

Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process

This course covers the constitutional law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final examination.


  • Spring 2023: Adam Davidson
  • Spring 2022: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2021: Trevor Gardner
  • Spring 2021: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2021: Richard McAdams
  • Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Winter 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2019: John Rappaport
  • Spring 2019: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2019: Richards McAdams
  • Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018: John Rappaport

Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law

This seminar covers a series of issues in national security and foreign relations law, with a focus on historical and constitutional foundations, the roles of courts, war power and uses of force (including targeted killings), covert action, military detention of alleged terrorists, military commissions, and select issues of international law. 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 in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (6000-7500 words), including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in national security and foreign relations law. Guest speakers may be invited to help facilitate discussion on certain topics. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Criminal law is prerequisite.


  • Winter 2023: Michael Y. Scudder
  • Winter 2022: Michael Y. Scudder and Patrick J. Fitzgerald
  • Winter 2021: Michael Y. Scudder and Patrick J. Fitzgerald
  • Winter 2019: Patrick J. Fitzgerald

Current Trends in Public Law Scholarship

Recent events, including President Trump's controversial policies and actions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and nationwide protests over policy brutality, have placed a strain on administrative law and institutions in the United States. In this seminar, invited speakers from other law schools will present scholarship that examines these developments. The seminar serves the dual purpose of introducing students to scholarly approaches to understanding contemporary events, and educating them about the relevant administrative and constitutional rules, particularly those that address crises and fast-changing problems. Students will read academic articles, draft short reaction papers, and be prepared to ask questions of the speaker. The Q&A with each paper's author will be followed by discussion among the students and professors regarding the strengths and shortcomings of the scholarship presented. This class requires a series of reaction papers.

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Eric Posner and Jonathan Masur
  • Autumn 2021: Johnathan Masur and Eric A. Posner

Education Law & Policy

Public schools have been a dramatic setting for Constitutional challenges for over 100 years, and K-12 education has been shaped by cases on the role of government in education, by policies intended to promote equality of opportunity and access, and by evolving methods of reform. Students will examine well-established education precedents while learning how education law and policy have developed. The class focus, however, will be on cutting-edge issues.

Students will explore policy choices under theories of jurisprudence including critical race theory and law and economics. Readings will include Constitutional issues of speech, privacy, equal protection, and freedom of religion, as well as state constitutional rights to adequate education. In addition, there will be applications of statutory and regulatory law. Broad course themes include: equity in access to education and the disparate impact of policy choices, particularly during the pandemic, on students who are members of groups with limited access to educational opportunity historically; the goals of public education and the tension between government authority to ensure these goals are met, and family rights to control the values and education presented to their children; and the balance between freedom of expression for students and the goal of schools to provide a safe teaching and learning environment. Current disputes will be analyzed through the lens of access to a quality education at every aspect of the education process.

Topics may include: K-12 student data privacy; transgender student rights; practices that may create a school-to-prison pipeline; safe spaces and the First Amendment; artificial intelligence digital tutors and rights to adequate education; tax credit scholarships for religious schools; the impact of growth of charter schools; teachers' rights to work conditions in a pandemic; sanctuary districts and excluding immigrants from the Census; and K-12 teacher tenure and compensation.

This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in final grading. This is a remote class that will have two required in person sessions at the end of the quarter. Students may sit in Room B to attend the remote sessions on their laptop.


  • Spring 2023: Susan Epstein
  • Spring 2021: Susan Epstein

Employment Law

This seminar is designed to provide the student with an overview of the common law principles and several of the leading federal and state statutes that govern the private-sector employment relationship. Among the topics to be covered are (1) the contractual nature of the employment relationship and the employment-at-will doctrine; (2) contractual, tort-based, and statutory erosions of the employment-at-will doctrine; (3) the contractual and common law duties and obligations owed by an employee to the employer; and (4) wage and hour and employee leave statutes, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This seminar supplements, but will not cover the topics presented in, the Law School's courses in Labor Law (Laws 43101), Employment Discrimination Law (Laws 43401), and Employee Benefits Law (Laws 55503), which are not prerequisites to enrollment. Enrollment will be limited to 20 students. The student's grade will be based on a final examination. Students wishing to earn 3 credits for the class may write a 10-12+ page research paper in addition to the final exam.

Participation may be considered in final grading.

The first class session for Employment Law will be held on Wednesday, April 5. Two make-up sessions will be scheduled at a later date.


  • Spring 2023: James Whitehead
  • Spring 2022: James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2020: James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2019: James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2018: James Whitehead

Evolution of Legal Doctrines

Legal doctrines have life cycles. They are born and mature. Many doctrines fade and die. There is a form of natural selection among doctrines, with several candidates offering to serve the same function in different ways. This seminar looks at the maturation and replacement of doctrines, posing the question why some die and others survive. Scope is eclectic: the doctrines range from "separate but equal" under the equal protection clause to the "original package doctrine" under the commerce clause, from the appointment of counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the understanding of the Rules of Decision Act (that is, why Swift gave way to Erie). The premise of the seminar is that those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Final grade will be based on: a series of short research papers (6000-7500 words) and class participation.


  • Winter 2023: Frank Easterbrook

Fair Housing

This course will focus on the law and policy of fair housing, broadly construed. Substantial 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 causes and consequences of residential segregation will be examined, as well as the effects of zoning and other land use controls. Additional topics may include gentrification, eviction, squatting, mortgages and foreclosures, and the use of eminent domain. Grading is based on a final examination; participation may be taken into account as indicated on the syllabus.


  • Spring 2023: Lee Fennell
  • Spring 2021: Lee Fennell

Federal Courts

This course examines the role of the federal courts in the U.S. federal system. Topics will include the power of Congress to expand or contract the jurisdiction of the federal courts, federal question jurisdiction, litigation against federal and state governments and their officials, direct and collateral review of state-court decisions, abstention, and related doctrines. Constitutional Law I is highly recommended. This class has a final exam.


  • Winter 2023: Alison LaCroix
  • Autumn 2022: Curtis Bradley
  • Spring 2022: William Baude
  • Spring 2021: Alison LaCroix
  • Autumn 2020: Fred O. Smith, Jr.
  • Spring 2020: William Baude
  • Spring 2019: William Baude
  • Winter 2019: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018: Fred O. Smith, Jr.
  • Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2017: Adam Mortara

Federal Criminal Justice Practice And Issues

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 and witness immunity); (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. 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 (6000-7500 word research series) and oral performance in the simulated practice exercises. Four oral argument presentations will accompany the written papers.


  • Winter 2023: Michael Doss
  • Winter 2022: Michael Doss
  • Winter 2021: Michael Doss
  • Winter 2020: Michael Doss
  • Winter 2019: Michael Doss
  • Winter 2018: Michael Doss

Foreign Relations Law

This course examines the constitutional and statutory doctrines that regulate the conduct of American foreign relations. Topics include the distribution 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, the preemption of state foreign relations activities, the power to declare and conduct war, and the political question and other doctrines regulating judicial review in foreign relations cases.

This class has a final exam.


  • Spring 2023: Curtis Bradley
  • Spring 2022: Curtis Bradley

Greenberg Seminar: Race and Public Health

This Greenberg seminar will examine the interaction of public health questions (broadly defined to include both the public health system generally and environmental determinants of health) and racial dynamics in the US and beyond. We will read five texts on different areas of this topic.


  • Spring 2023: Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2023: Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq

Hate Crime Law

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, including in the context of contemporary social issues. 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 comparative international approaches to hate crime law, as well as the limits of the domestic legal system to effectively address hate crime through conventional and alternative options. Grading will be based on class participation and a final research paper of 6000-7500 words.


  • Autumn 2022: Juan Linares

Immigrants' Rights Clinic

The Immigrants' Rights Clinic provides legal representation to immigrant communities in Chicago, including individual representation of immigrants in removal proceedings, immigration-related complex federal litigation, and policy and community education projects on behalf of community-based organizations. Students will interview clients, develop claims and defenses, draft complaints, engage in motion practice and settlement discussions, appear in federal, state, and administrative courts, conduct oral arguments and trials, brief and argue appeals, and engage in media advocacy. In the policy and community education projects, students may develop and conduct community presentations, draft and advocate for legislation at the state and local levels, research and draft public policy reports, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations.

Past and current projects include challenges to national security detention, a civil rights lawsuit alleging Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment challenges against state law enforcement involved in an arrest that led to deportation, Seventh Circuit appeals of removal orders, representation of asylum seekers and human trafficking victims, suing local police departments for failure to comply with immigration-related Illinois state laws, representing Afghans left behind after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and publication of the first guide to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions for criminal defense attorneys in Illinois.

The seminar will meet for two hours per week and will include classes on the fundamentals of immigration law and policy as well as skills-based classes that connect to the students' fieldwork. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. 2Ls must enroll for 2 credits per quarter. 3Ls can enroll for 2 or 3 credits per quarter. Students are encouraged (but not required) to co-enroll in Immigration Law in the fall.


  • Autumn 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2023: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2023: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2020: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2020: A. Nicole Hallett

Immigration Law

This course explores the U.S. immigration system. It 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, forms of relief from deportation, the law of asylum, immigration enforcement and detention, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020: Adam S. Chilton
  • Autumn 2018: Allison Tirres
  • Spring 2018: Adam S. Chilton

Introduction to American Law and Legal Institutions

This class is only open to LLM students, MLS students, and PhD students from elsewhere in the university. This course will consider a variety of legal institutions and how they interact to produce a distinctly American configuration of law. Since Tocqueville, observers have noted that Americans have a distinctly legal mode of organizing society: as he put it "Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question." More than citizens of other advanced democracies, they seem willing to turn to courts to resolve disputes, from those about mundane traffic accidents to major disputes of politics and public policy, and to emphasize punitive legal sanctions. The causes and consequences of this litigiousness will be explored through the lens of legal institutions. The course will begin with an introduction to the constitutional structure and then proceed to examine particular legal institutions. Subjects will include the civil and criminal jury, the role of lawyers, the political role of the judiciary, and legalistic modes of administrative regulation. The emphasis will be on how the institutions actually operate, and readings will be drawn from both legal and social scientific literature. Students may take a final exam or choose to write a major paper (20-25 pages).


  • Autumn 2021: Tom Ginsburg
  • Winter 2021: Tom Ginsburg

Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic

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 Associate 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 required as either a pre-requisite or 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. 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.


  • Winter 2023: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Spring 2023: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2022: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Spring 2022: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Winter 2022: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2021: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Spring 2021: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Winter 2021: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2020: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Spring 2020: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Winter 2020: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2019: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Winter 2019: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2018: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Spring 2018: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Winter 2018: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky
  • Autumn 2017: David A. Strauss, Sarah M. Konsky

Judicial Federalism

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 6000-7500 word 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.


  • Winter 2023: Diane P. Wood

Law and Social Movements

Movements for social justice have always struggled with law as both a bulwark against change as well as a potential tool for reform or even emancipation. This course explores the complex relationship between social justice movements and law, mostly in the U.S. context. Key themes will include (1) how social movement pressures have shaped doctrinal developments across many areas of law, often in underappreciated ways; (2) debates over the role of litigation and legislation in social movement strategy, as well as civil disobedience and other forms of defying legal authority; (3) the role of lawyers in social movements and questions of leadership and accountability, including common dilemmas in lawyering practice. Case studies will be both historical (e.g., Progressive Era, Civil Rights Movement) and contemporary (e.g., Occupy, Movement for Black Lives). Attention will also be paid to parallels and differences with conservative and right-wing legal movements. Grading will be based on weekly discussion questions, class participation, and a final research paper on a topic of the student's choice (20-25 pages).

  • Winter 2022: Darryl Li

Legal History of the Founding Era

This class explores the legal world of the late eighteenth century from the period just before the Revolution to the ratification of the Constitution. Among other topics, the class covers debates over the economic and political conditions that shaped the constitutional moment, and the implications of those debates for constitutional interpretation.

This course will have a final exam and required papers. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Farah Peterson
  • Spring 2022: Farah Peterson
  • Spring 2021: Farah Peterson

Legislation and Statutory Interpretation

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. It aims to bolster students' ability to work with statutes in law school and beyond. At the end of the class, students should have a thorough grasp of the production of statutes by the legislative branch and their use by agencies and courts. The student's grade is based primarily on a final examination. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Jennifer Nou, Farah Peterson, and Joshua Macey
  • Spring 2022: Ryan D. Doerfler
  • Spring 2021: Farah Peterson, Jennifer Nou, Ryan D. Doerfler, and Richard A. Epstein
  • Autumn 2019: Jennifer Nou
  • Spring 2018: Richard A. Epstein


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, free speech rights, and nondiscrimination principles.

The course requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). The paper will be a mock appellate brief.

Participation may be considered in final grading.

A constitutional law course is recommended but not required prior to taking this class.


  • Winter 2023: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2022: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2021: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2020: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2019: Camilla Taylor


Although few Americans identify as "libertarians," the impact of libertarian thinkers--from John Locke to F.A. Hayek to Milton Friedman--on our polity is undeniable. Justice Holmes famously declared (dissenting in Lochner v. New York) that, "The Constitution does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's 'Social Statics'," but there can be no denying that the prevalent view of the Constitution on the Court has a libertarian vibe. In this seminar, we will read books (about one per week) on libertarian ideas by a range of authors, in terms of methodology, point of view, time period, type of author, and so on. The idea will be to engage critically with this material in the hopes of better understanding the core foundations of libertarian thinking and its applications, if any, in modern political and legal debates. A syllabus will be available in advance of course selection. Being a "libertarian" is not a requirement--non-libertarians, libertarian-curious, and everyone else are encouraged to participate, both as a means of understanding the world and enlivening the conversation. Students may take a final exam (2 credits) or write a paper (3000-4500 words) for 2 credits or write a major paper (6000-7500) for 3 credits. Note, SRP's may be 6000-9000 words. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: M. Todd Henderson

Life (and Death) in the Law

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 three response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation. This is a biddable class. Priority registration to 3L students.


  • Spring 2023: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers

Mass Incarceration

This seminar examines the growth and consequences of American detention centers, jails, and prisons in this age of "mass incarceration." Nearly 2.2 million people are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults, far more per crime than any industrialized nation. If we include persons on parole or probation, one adult in 23 is under correctional supervision. With taxpayers paying costs in excess of $75 billion each year and with African Americans and Latinos overrepresented in the American justice system, some scholars, advocates, and policy makers argue that mass incarceration represents one of the greatest social injustices of our time. This class is taught during a moment of mass activism and bipartisan support for justice reform. As the movement shifts from protests to politics, this class will examine the origins and consequences of mass incarceration, as well as the policy issues and solutions to fix a "justice" system that destroys lives and harms communities, and ask the hard questions: • What accounts for the growth of incarceration? • What are its moral, fiscal, and public safety consequences? • What were the precursors of mass incarceration? • How do we reimagine policing in America? • What roles do race, gender, and poverty play in perpetuating injustice? This class requires a major paper of 6000-7500 words. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Please note: If you have already taken Mass Incarceration and Reform you will not be able to take this seminar.


  • Autumn 2022: Roscoe Jones

Mass Incarceration and Reform

Mass Incarceration and Reform surveys 21st Century movements to achieve criminal reform, with a focus on efforts to reduce racial discrimination and disparities. We will examine state and federal reform movements in the arenas of bail, sentencing, jury selection, discovery, and exculpatory evidence, among others. Our focus will be doctrinal rather than policy-based, emphasizing the legal, constitutional, and legislative underpinnings of these reform efforts. This seminar will highlight the racial equity concerns that animated many of these reform efforts and familiarize students with key constitutional provisions that have served as bulwarks for criminal reform movements. More broadly, this seminar will provide concrete ideas for how lawyers can engage in movement reform and systemic change. Although we'll focus on reform in the criminal legal system, our discussions will provide tools for those interested in reform in other contexts as well. We will look at criminal reform through a uniquely practical lens, talking through strategic mechanisms that advocates use to transform the law, including systemic impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and court-watching. We will investigate the evolution of each law reform, for example, watching how battle-lines were drawn and redrawn by courts during the federal sentencing revolution that began in 2005. We will also discuss the next frontiers for reform. There are no prerequisites. Grading will be based on a combination of class participation and an exam (8 hour take-home), or class participation and a major paper. Students who only take the exam will earn 2 credits. Students wishing to earn 3 credits will write a major paper on a topic of their choosing, with the option of writing a judicial opinion or a legislative proposal enacting a new criminal reform.


  • Spring 2022: Alison Siegler

Modern American Legal History

This course will introduce law students to the major problems and interpretations in the field of modern U.S. legal history. Through lectures as well as discussions of cases and secondary materials, the course will survey American public and private legal development from the Civil War to the present. The course employs a braided narrative, interweaving (a) the chronological story of the rise of modern legal liberalism and an administrative and regulatory state with (b) a week-to-week sampling of different historical topics, methods, and problematics. Topics to be covered this semester include: the 14th Amendment and the remaking of American citizenship, the constitutional rollback of civil rights and voting rights after Reconstruction, classical legal thought, corporation and labor law in the Lochner Era, progressive reform, pragmatism and legal realism, the origins of civil liberties, New Deal constitutionalism, the origins of modern rights revolutions, and the rise of neoliberalism. The course also attempts to introduce some of the theoretical and historiographical perspectives that have fueled some exciting new developments in the field. This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2022: William J Novak

Privacy and Modern Policing

Law enforcement in modern criminal investigations uses sophisticated tools to obtain voluminous, often private, information. These tools can include forensic searches of phones and social media accounts; stingrays; precise location information obtained from phones and social media accounts; wiretaps of phone and social media accounts; and network intrusions/hacking. This course will explore the challenges of trying to regulate these cutting-edge methods.

Students will prepare several short papers, each about 5 pages in length (totaling 6000-7500 words), that will require some outside research. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2023: Vikas Didwania
  • Autumn 2021: Vikas Didwania

Privacy Law

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; state data protection laws, European privacy law; the relationship between privacy and the First Amendment; and restrictions on governmental investigations and surveillance. The student's grade is based on a final examination and class participation.


  • Spring 2022: Lior Strahilevitz
  • Spring 2021: Filippo Maria Lancieri
  • Autumn 2019: Lior Strahilevitz (as Privacy)
  • Winter 2018: Lior Strahilevitz (as Privacy)

Religion, State and Multiculturalism

Religious minorities are seeking accommodations in a variety of forms: exemptions (kosher and halal regulations); recognition (representation quotas); assistance (subsidies, museums); self-government (schools, religious courts, territorial sovereignty) and more. Drawing on the rich experience of countries where such accommodations were granted, the course will inquire into the legitimacy and problems associated with such accommodations. In doing so, the course will draw on modern theories of multiculturalism and religion and state designs. Principal topics will include: Liberal multiculturalism, theory and practice; Group accommodations in a democracy; A survey of religious groups and illiberal practices; Traditional schemes of religious accommodations, with special reference to the Ottoman millet system; The reality of religious accommodations in Western democracies (United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany); The reality of religious accommodations in the Middle East, with special reference to Israel; the problem of minorities within minorities; essentialism, secularism in divided communities and reform movements. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages).


  • Spring 2022: Michael Karayanni

Religious Liberty

This seminar will address the jurisprudence of, and contemporary litigation surrounding, religious liberty in the United States.

This class has a final exam that all students must take. Participation may be considered in final grading. Students who wish to earn a third credit must write an additional paper (approximately 2500 words). The additional paper may meet the WP requirement.


  • Autumn 2022: Ryan Walsh

Reproductive Health and Justice

In 2022 we saw a once-in-a-generation seismic shift in the legal framework governing the right to obtain reproductive health care in the United States with the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This course will examine the historical evolution of the right to abortion from Roe v. Wade through Dobbs, and how states both hostile and protective with regard to reproductive rights are attempting to respond since Roe has been overturned. It will also consider the shortcomings of legal approaches to securing reproductive health, and the critiques and insights offered by the reproductive justice movement. This class requires a major paper of 6000-7500 words. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2023: Emily Werth

Topics in First Amendment Law and New Technologies

This short seminar will explore free speech and social media, the Internet more broadly, AI, deepfakes, and likely also VR, and AR. Students must have taken Constitutional Law II to participate in the seminar. Grading will depend on reaction papers totaling 3,000-3,500 words. Grading may include class participation. This is a short class that will meet May 1, 3, 4, 10, 11.


  • Spring 2023: Eugene Volokh

The Interbellum Constitution: Union, Commerce, and Slavery in the Early 19th Century

This seminar examines the legal and intellectual history of debates concerning U.S. constitutional law and politics between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, approximately 1815 to 1861. Topics to be discussed include the federal-state relationship, the commerce power, internal improvements, the market revolution, federal and state regulation of slavery, the role of the federal courts, and the development of national identity.

This class will be variable 2-3 credit. Students who wish to earn 2 credits will be required to complete reaction papers. Students who wish to earn 3 credits must either do the reaction papers plus a 10-12 page paper, or just complete a larger paper (no reaction papers) that is 6000-7500 words long. Class participation will also be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023:Alison LaCroix
  • Spring 2022: Alison LaCroix

The Law of Police

This course will comprehensively survey the law governing police in the United States, beyond what is already extensively covered in Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process (so a student may take both courses). Topics include state and local law creating and empowering public and private police; class action lawsuits to challenge stop and frisk policies under the Fourth Amendment; class action lawsuits to challenge racial profiling under the Equal Protection Clause, especially regarding car stops; Fourth Amendment and state statutory law on police use of deadly force and local use-of-force policies; collective bargaining law regarding arbitration of police discipline and use-of-force policies; the First Amendment and statutory law of policing public protests; section 1983 lawsuits against the police and qualified immunity; federal and state law for prosecuting the police; the law of injunctive relief against police; and the policy choice between reform and abolition. The grade is based on a final examination.


  • Winter 2022: Richard McAdams
  • Spring 2021: Richard McAdams

The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing

In the wake of several highly publicized incidents of police brutality, the American public is engaged in substantive debate over modern policing strategies and tactics and how best to achieve public safety while respecting the rights and dignity of all citizens. This course will provide an overview of the public safety challenges facing large, urban police organizations. With the legal framework as a foundation, students will discuss the policy and political considerations relevant to key policing strategies. Starting with readings that provide the historical perspective on policing, each week will focus on a distinct policing strategy or policy challenge, including topics such as crisis intervention, national security, and gun violence. Some classes may include invited guest speakers. Students can do an exam and a 10-12 page paper to earn 3 credits, or they can do exam only for 2 credits, or major paper (6000-7500 words) for 3 credits with possible SRP credit. Participation may be considered in final grading. Criminal Procedure is suggested as a pre-requisite, but not required.


  • Spring 2023: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2021: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2019: Sharon R. Fairley

The New Abolitionists

This seminar will discuss the current movement to abolish police, prisons, and the prison industrial complex more broadly. We will read the work of academics and activists like Mariame Kaba, Allegra M. McLeod, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Angela Davis, and others, who are writing within and about this movement. We will read these works with an eye toward the answers to four broad questions: What is abolition? Why is abolition necessary? How will abolition come about? What does a post-abolition world look like? In seeking answers to these questions, the seminar will consider what role law has to play in either advancing or hindering this modern abolitionist movement.

This class requires a series of research papers (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Adam Davidson
  • Spring 2022: Adam Davidson

Transgender Rights & the Law

This seminar examines the treatment of gender identity in the U.S. legal system. The course emphasizes historical and social construction of transgender and gender nonconforming identities and the regulation of them and protections based on such actual or perceived identities. This course emphasizes statutory criminalization and protections as well as constitutional jurisprudence and theory with a particular focus on equal protection, due process, and eighth amendment guarantees. Topics covered include criminalization of gender expression, medicalization of gender, access to health care, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory nondiscrimination provisions, issues regarding access to sex-segregated facilities and activities, public and private workplace concerns, as well as current legislative developments. This class requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in the final grading.


  • Spring 2023: Kara Ingelhart and Emma Cone-Roddy,

U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice

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 (6000-7500 words) and a moot court presentation.


  • Autumn 2022: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
  • Autumn 2021: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
  • Autumn 2020: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
  • Autumn 2019: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
  • Autumn 2018: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
  • Autumn 2017: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro

Workshop: Constitutional Law

This workshop will have meetings in the fall and spring quarters, with a total of nine meetings; students will be enrolled in the workshop for 1 credit for three quarters in autumn, winter, and spring as the work will span the three quarters. The workshop exposes students to current academic work in constitutional law and theory and other areas of public law. Workshop sessions are devoted principally to the presentation and discussion of papers from outside speakers. Grading is based on a final paper (6000-7500 words) plus class participation and the submission of a brief set of discussion questions for each visiting speaker's paper. Each student's final paper should be connected to one of those speakers' papers--for example, replying to it, or building on an idea within it.


  • Spring 2023: Sonja Starr and Farah Peterson
  • Winter 2023: Farah Peterson and Sonja Starr
  • Autumn 2022: Sonja Starr and Farah Peterson
  • Spring 2022: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Winter 2022: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Autumn 2021: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Spring 2021: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Winter 2021: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Autumn 2020: Bridget A. Fahey and Farah Peterson
  • Spring 2019: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
  • Winter 2019: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
  • Autumn 2018: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
  • Spring 2018: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
  • Winter 2018: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver
  • Autumn 2017: Aziz Huq and Justin Driver

Workshop: Public Law and Legal Theory

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 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 during any quarter throughout the year that would overlap with the Workshop. A series of reaction papers will be required for this workshop.


  • Spring 2023: Curtis Bradley, Thomas Ginsburg, Jonathan Masur, Richard Mcadams and William Baude
  • Winter 2023:Curtis Bradley, Thomas Ginsburg, Jonathan Masur, Richard Mcadams and William Baude
  • Autumn 2022: Curtis Bradley, Thomas Ginsburg, Jonathan Masur, Richard Mcadams and William Baude
  • Spring 2022: Ryan D. Doerfler, Sharon R. Fairley, Tom Ginsburg, Hajin Kim, Joshua C. Macey, John Rappaport, and Sonja Starr
  • Winter 2022: Ryan D. Doerfler, Sharon R. Fairley, Tom Ginsburg, Hajin Kim, Joshua C. Macey, John Rappaport, and Sonja Starr
  • Autumn 2021: Ryan D. Doerfler, Sharon R. Fairley, Tom Ginsburg, Hajin Kim, Joshua C. Macey, John Rappaport, and Sonja Starr
  • Spring 2021: Richard McAdams, Ryan D. Doerfler, Aziz Huq, Sonja Starr, and Bridget A. Fahey
  • Winter 2020: Richard McAdams, Ryan D. Doerfler, Aziz Huq, Sonja Starr, and Bridget A. Fahey
  • Autumn 2020: Richard McAdams, Ryan D. Doerfler, Aziz Huq, Sonja Starr, and Bridget A. Fahey
  • Spring 2020: Aziz Huq, Daniel Hemel, Adam S. Chilton, Jonathan Masur, and Tom Ginsburg
  • Winter 2020: Aziz Huq, Daniel Hemel, Adam S. Chilton, Jonathan Masur, and Tom Ginsburg
  • Autumn 2019: Jonathan Masur, William Baude, Adam S. Chilton, Ryan D. Doerfler, and Tom Ginsburg
  • Spring 2019: Jonathan Masur
  • Winter 2019: Jonathan Masur
  • Autumn 2018: Jonathan Masur
  • Spring 2018: Jonathan Masur, R. H. Helmholz, Adam S. Chilton, Daniel Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2018: Jonathan Masur, R. H. Helmholz, Adam S. Chilton, Daniel Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier
  • Autumn 2017: Jonathan Masur, R. H. Helmholz, Adam S. Chilton, Daniel Hemel, and Genevieve Lakier