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 2018-19 and 2019-20 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.
Winter 2020, David A. Strauss
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 take-home examination.
- Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
- Spring 2018, Jennifer H. Nou
- Spring 2019, Jennifer H. Nou
American Indian Law
Autumn 2019, M. Todd Henderson
This course will consider two distinct bodies of law regarding the 565 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. First, we will study 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. 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. Second, we will study the law within several prominent tribal areas. The Hopi, for instance, have a court system that is roughly parallel to the American one, but with key differences for handling crimes, contracts, torts, and so on. The flavor for this part of the course will be comparative law, since we will compare how different legal rules develop in distinct but related legal systems. This course is mandatory for students interested in participating in the Hopi Law Practicum (serving as clerks to justices of the Hopi Appellate Court on live cases), but it is open to all students with an interest in tribes, federal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or comparative law.
American Legal History, 1607-1870
Spring 2020, Alison LaCroix
This course examines major themes and interpretations in the history of American law and legal institutions from the earliest English settlements through the Civil War. Topics include continuity and change between English and American law in the colonial period; the American Revolution; changing understandings of the U.S. Constitution; the legal status of women and African Americans; federalism; commerce; slavery; and the Civil War and Reconstruction. The student's grade will be based on a take-home final examination.
Artificial Intelligence Technology, Law, and Policy
Autumn 2019, Colleen Chien
Artificial intelligence is transforming the way that companies and organizations engage, routine tasks are carried out, and humans relate to one another. Machine learning, natural language processing, machine vision, and related technologies are augmenting or replacing human intelligence in a number of domains, creating new legal and policy issues, challenges and opportunities.
Students that take this course are expected to gain fluency, working knowledge and the rudimentary skills of analysis that pertain to the technology, business, law and policy issues raised by artificial intelligence, robotics, and related technologies. Through reading assignments, case studies, and research exercises, students will leave the course with the ability to understand the business models and comparative advantages of various artificial intelligence firms and projects, to spot and analyze the legal, ethical and policy issues raised by them, and to problem-solve and understand how to apply existing and emerging frameworks to the challenges associated with artificial intelligence. This is a short class meeting for four days: October 7,10,14, and 17.
Winter 2020, John Rappaport
This seminar will deal with the law of capital punishment in the United States, focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court's pertinent Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. Although philosophical and public policy questions will undoubtedly arise, the doctrine will remain the seminar's central concern. Grades will be based on a combination of class participation, a short (~15 pages) final research paper, and discussion questions to be submitted before class meetings. Students who wish to earn SRP credit must write a 20-25 page research paper.
Civil Gideon and Access to Justice
Spring 2020, 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 case outcomes and client experiences, pro bono legal services, and the role of race and class in access to justice. Readings will include cases, law review and social science articles. Final grades will be based on a series of short response papers and class participation.
- Spring 2019, Atinuke Adediran
Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability
Spring 2020, Craig Futterman
The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project (PAP) is one of the nation's leading law school 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. Standards for evaluation are posted on Canvas.
- Autumn 2017, Craig Futterman
- Winter 2018, Craig Futterman
- Spring 2018, Craig Futterman
- Autumn 2018, Craig Futterman
- Winter 2019, Craig Futterman
- Spring 2019, Craig Futterman
- Autumn 2019, Craig Futterman
- Winter 2020, Craig Futterman
Civil Rights Litigation in the Child Welfare Context
Winter 2020, Diane L. Redleaf
Landmark constitutional cases hold that the familial association rights are fundamental, but enforcing that principle through litigation has been challenging for advocates for children and families. In this seminar taught by a civil rights lawyer for families involved in dozens of civil rights cases on behalf of children and families for over 30 years, we will examine cases that have tested the constitutional rights of parents and children in the context of child protective systems intervention that restricts associational, personal integrity and privacy rights, including: family separation/children's removal from homes and hospitals, so-called voluntary removals, investigation tactics including gynecological searches and photographing of nude children, race/national origin discrimination and Native American rights, disability rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of foster care; poverty/homelessness; and the interface between domestic violence and child protection. The course will also consider common obstacles to successful system reform challenges in civil rights litigation, including qualified and absolute immunity, standing, abstention/Rooker Feldman, and mootness.
Students taking the class for 2 credits are expected to write two case comment papers of 4-8 pages, participate in as plaintiff, defendant, or judge in one mock oral argument of a total of 15 minutes length, and participate in a 10-15 minute group presentation about a major systemic reform case involving the child welfare system. In addition to these requirements, students who take the class for 3 credits are expected to also submit a paper of at least 10 pages that expands upon a case comment or addresses one of the topics discussed in class in more depth.
Participation may be considered in final grading.
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States, 1865-Present
Winter 2020, Jane Dailey
This class examines the history of the African American Freedom Struggle in the United States from emancipation to the present. Although the course will move chronologically, our emphasis will be thematic, covering such topics as voting rights and political participation, sex and marriage rights, criminal justice reform, the role of courts, and the relationship between law and social movements. A series of research papers will be required for this class (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.
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 2019, 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.
- Winter 2018, William Baude
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
Spring 2020, 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) by Monday, February 10, 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. Open to JD students only.
- Spring 2018, Geoffrey R. Stone
- Winter 2019, Geoffrey R. Stone
Constitutional Law for LL.M. Students
Autumn 2019, 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
- Autumn 2018, Gerald N. Rosenberg
Constitutional Law I: Governmental Structure
Spring 2020, Aziz Huq
This course provides an introduction to U.S constitutional law. Topics to be covered include judicial review; the role of the states and the federal government in the federal system; and the allocation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. We will consider questions about the nature of constitutional law and constitutional interpretation throughout.
Students who have taken Constitutional Law for LLMs may not register for this course.
Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
- Spring 2018, David A. Strauss
- Autumn 2018, William Baude
- Winter 2019, Aziz Huq
- Spring 2019, Alison LaCroix
- Autumn 2019, Ernest A. Young
Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech
Spring 2020, 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. This class requires either an in-class exam or major paper (20-25 pages).
- Autumn 2017, Laura Weinrib
- Winter 2018, Geoffrey R. Stone
- Autumn 2018, Genevieve Lakier
- Winter 2019, Geoffrey R. Stone
- Autumn 2019, Genevieve Lakier
Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process
Spring 2020, Aziz Huq
This class explores the doctrinal development of Equal Protection and substantive due process rights. We will, of course, explore the historical development of these rights. We will also think about how the rights interact with pressing present concerns related to social stratification, especially by gender and race. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
- Spring 2018, Justin Driver
- Winter 2019, David A. Strauss
- Spring 2019, Justin Driver
- Winter 2020, Geoffrey R. Stone
Constitutional Law V: Freedom of Religion
Spring 2020, 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, 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
- Spring 2019, 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 2019, 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 2020, 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 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 take-home examination will count for 50% of the final grade. The final examination will be an individual 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
- Spring 2019, Steven N. Kaplan
Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
Autumn 2019, John Rappaport
This course covers the constitutional law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final 8 hour take-home examination.
- Winter 2018, John Rappaport
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
- Winter 2019, John Rappaport
- Spring 2019, John Rappaport
Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
Winter 2020, 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. Prerequisites: Criminal Law.
Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2018, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder
- Winter 2019, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder
The Demagogue and Executive Power
Autumn 2018, Eric Andrew 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.
Autumn 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
- Spring 2019, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
Employment Discrimination Law
Autumn 2019, James Whitehead
This course examines the federal laws pertaining to employment discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, alienage, age, and disability. The course focuses primarily on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. There is limited coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Careful consideration is given to the burdens of proof applicable to employment discrimination suits based upon both individual claims of discriminatory treatment and claims of disparate impact upon protected groups.
- Autumn 2017, James Whitehead
- Winter 2019, James Whitehead
Spring 2020, 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
- Spring 2019, William Baude
The Federal Courts and the Federal System
Winter 2020, David A. Strauss
This course will consider the role of the federal courts in the U.S. federal system. We will cover, among other things, Congressional control of the jurisdiction of the federal courts; the federal question jurisdiction of the federal courts; issues arising out of the relationship between state and federal courts; and the sources of, and limits on, actions against state and federal governments and their officials. Constitutional Law I is a co-requisite (that is, students must have taken Constitutional Law I or be taking it at the same time as this course). Grades will be based on a take-home final exam.
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
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 Andrew 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.
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: Legal Issues in Game of Thrones
Spring 2020, Joan E. Neal and David A. Weisbach
This Greenberg seminar considers legal issues raised in the Game of Thrones TV series. Among other issues, we will consider the implicit criminal law, contract law, and constitutional law (e.g., the rules of succession) in the Game of Thrones, as well as how norms substitute for law when central legal enforcement is unavailable. We will also consider the role of counselors (akin in some sense to lawyers) in the Game of Thrones society. Students should have watched the complete series before the first class session.
- Autumn 2018, Julie Roin and Saul Levmore
- Winter 2019, Julie Roin and Saul Levmore
- Autumn 2019, Joan E. Neal and David A. Weisbach
- Winter 2020, Joan E. Neal and David A. Weisbach
Greenberg Seminars: Protest, Surveillance and Speech: Black Mirror and Other Dystopias
Spring 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli
The pace at which new technology and social media evolve and reshape our lives, altering our social and legal landscape, raises new and old fears and possibilities. This course will explore the role of surveillance and control through works of science fiction and dystopias. We will consider the role of surveillance in facilitating state and public control in pursuit of better (and perfect) governance. We will also consider evolving methods and strategies for dissent and public speech. In what ways is state and social control helpful and necessary? When does it become problematic? When and under what circumstances do states to tolerate and facilitate dissent? Do we need a new concept of privacy in the modern age or do we need to protect what is being lost?
- Autumn 2019, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli
- Winter 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli
- Spring 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli
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: 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
Immigrant's Rights Clinic
Spring 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
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, and brief and argue appeals. 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, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. Current projects include a first-in-the-nation challenge to immigration detention authority under the PATRIOT Act, a civil rights lawsuit against state troopers for cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and a class action challenge to new naturalization standards for immigrants with intellectual disabilities. As this is the first year of the clinic's operation, students will also have the opportunity to help develop the clinic's docket. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. Students who enroll in Winter Term will be required to enroll in Spring Term as well. Students with questions may contact Professor Hallett at email@example.com to learn more.
- Winter 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton
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
- Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres
The Interbellum Constitution: Union, Commerce, and Slavery in the Early 19th Century
Winter 2020, 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.
- Winter 2019, Alison LaCroix
Is Our Constitution Undemocratic?
Winter 2020, William Baude and Genevieve Lakier
It is often said that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest democratic constitution in the world. But how democratic is it? This seminar will explore that question both historically and by examining, in some detail, the constitutional design. Topics to be discussed include: the Framing and the legacy of slavery; constitutional war powers and U.S. imperialism; presidential power; Article III and the powers of judicial review; the Senate; the Electoral College and the constitutional organization of voting more broadly; Article V and the difficulties of amending the Constitution. Grades will be based on some combination of class participation, reaction papers and/or a short final research paper.
Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic
Spring 2020, 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
- Autumn 2019, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
- Winter 2020, David A. Strauss and Sarah M. Konsky
Winter 2020, 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
- Winter 2019, Diane P. Wood
The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing
Autumn 2019, Sharon Renee Fairley
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 may qualify to earn three credits by taking the exam and writing a 10-12 page paper, or by writing a major 20-25 page paper only (which may also count for SRP credit if approved). Students who take the exam but do not write papers will earn 2 credits.
Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
Autumn 2019, Jennifer H. Nou
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.
- Spring 2018, Richard A. Epstein
Winter 2020, 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 anti-discrimination provisions. Topics covered include marriage rights, student speech, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory anti-discrimination 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. This class requires a major paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor
Life (and Death) in the Law
Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn 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 Juanita Glenn Conyers
- Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
Winter 2020, Adam Benjamin Spencer
This course is designed principally to provide a broad overview of the legal issues that confront the U.S. military and its servicemembers. The course will touch on military justice, administrative law, operational law, servicemembers' rights, and fiscal law (time permitting). This course is useful for anyone interested in serving as a lawyer in the military, working in the military law area as a civilian attorney, or working in the military or national security area in a policy-oriented position. It is also useful for any future public policymaker or official to have a basic understanding of the legal framework for the activities of our military here and abroad.
Originalism and Its Discontents
Winter 2020, Stephen E. Sachs
Originalism is a major school of constitutional interpretation and an important field of study. Both legal discussions and public debates regularly feature originalist arguments or criticisms of originalism. To engage these arguments, lawyers and citizens must weigh the merits of a diverse set of originalist theories. Prerequisite: any constitutional law course.
This short seminar is designed to acquaint you with a number of originalist and nonoriginalist arguments; to enable you to assess their strengths; and to give you an opportunity to sharpen your own views on the topic.
This class requires a series of response papers (combined page total = 10-12 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.
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.
Autumn 2019, 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.
- Winter 2018, Lior Strahilevitz
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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor Konsky (email@example.com), 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
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.