Equality and Human Rights Courses

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Equality and Human Rights courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 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.

American Indian Tribal Law

Most of American legal education focuses on federal, state, and local government laws. Yet, there are 574 tribal governments in the United States that receive precious little attention from legal academia and American society broadly. Why do we generally ignore or exclude the laws of American Indian tribes from the mainstream study and conception of of "American law"? When we take the time to look at tribal law, what might we learn? These questions will guide this seminar as we examine the complex history of tribal law in America and the current state of American Indian tribal law. A series of short research papers on different topics in tribal law will be required (20-25 pages.)

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Elizabeth Anne Reese

American Legal History, 1607-1870

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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Alison LaCroix

American Legal History: The Twentieth Century

This course examines major legal and constitutional conflicts in twentieth century American history. Topics include law and social movements, the role of the courts, rights consciousness, the legal profession, and legal thought. Students will connect legal texts and legal struggles to broader developments in social, cultural, and political history. Grading is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.

Previously:

  • Spring 2019, Laura Weinrib
  • Spring 2018, Laura Weinrib

Big Problems

The Big Problems course will use multidisciplinary approaches to try to understand and tackle the most important problems facing our country or the world. The first 8 weeks will be taught by the instructors and outside experts, focusing on problems such as the Zika virus, Syrian migration to Europe, cybersecurity, nuclear waste storage, opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and policing and race relations. Students will work in teams of 2 business and 2 law students to develop feasible policy or private sector solutions to a problem of their choosing and make a presentation in the last 2 weeks. Presentations will be made to instructors, outside experts and fellow students. Final grade will be based on the presentations and a companion paper (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, David Weisbach and Anup Malani
  • Spring 2019, David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy
  • Spring 2018, David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy

Capital Punishment

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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2020, John Rappaport

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. Standards for evaluation are posted on Canvas.

Previously:

  • 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

Civil Rights Litigation

This course focuses on section 1983 of the United States Code, a Reconstruction-era statute that enables private parties to sue any other person who "under color" of law deprives them of the "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States.  Class participants will become familiar with the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of civil rights litigation, including constitutional and statutory claims, defenses and immunities, and available remedies, including attorney fees.   Related U.S. Code provisions concerning discrimination in housing, contractual relations, employment, and voting are examined where relevant.  Evaluation will be by exam, written exercise, and class participation. There will be a 3 hour in-class exam.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2019, Darrell Miller

Civil Rights Litigation in the Child Welfare Context

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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2020, Diane L. Redleaf

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States, 1865-Present

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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2020, Jane Dailey

Civil Rights Practicum

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. Students will be evaluated based on written work, collaboration, and analysis.Questions should be directed to Prof. Huq.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2021, Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2019, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2017, Aziz Huq

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 of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Sonja Starr

Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech

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).

Previously:

  • 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 examination. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • 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 of 20-25 pages, series of short papers, or final examination, with class participation taken into account. Instructor consent required for paper to be considered for SRP certification.

Previously:

  • 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 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 my be written (20-25 pages).

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Emily Buss
  • Spring 2019, Emily Buss
  • Spring 2018, Emily Buss

The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' 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. 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 meet on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 to accommodate the needs of the high school students. Additional meetings 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. Topics will include: Young peoples' rights in the juvenile justice system, minors' right to control medical and reproductive decisions, and high school students' religious and speech rights , due process rights, and rights against search and seizure in school. Law Students' writing will consist of weekly response papers addressing high school students' participation and reflecting upon the high school students' contributions. Advance approval by Emily Buss is required., and space is limited. If you are interested, please contact her by email at ebussdos@uchicago.edu at your earliest convenience. Students interested in taking it for 3 credits will write an additional 10-15 page paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Emily Buss
  • Autumn 2019, Emily Buss
  • Winter 2018, Emily Buss
  • Autumn 2018, Emily Buss

Corporate Law and Dual-Purpose Organizations

Spring 2020, Emilie Aguirre

Organizations pursuing multiple objectives-including social, financial, and environmental goals-are on the rise, particularly in the healthy food and health sectors. However, managing the inherent tensions among these objectives poses a serious challenge. In light of this trend, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to re-examining the theory of the firm from both a legal and a management perspective. It asks whether and how law-especially corporate law and contract law-can accommodate "purpose." Drawing from the legal and management literatures, including sociology, organizational theory, and economics, it explores the distinctions between how law treats these topics and how business treats these topics. The course uses the healthy food and health sectors to examine these questions. For example, how can a purpose-driven healthy food company retain its purpose and profit objectives after it is acquired by a non-purpose-driven company? How do for-profit hospitals differ from non-profit hospitals-and how should they? The course breaks down our assumptions about what firms are in order to better understand how they are currently treated and how they should be going forward. This class requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic

The Project provides law and social work students the supervised opportunity to represent children and young adults accused of crime in juvenile and criminal court. Representation includes addressing the social, psychological and educational needs of our clients and their families. In addition to direct representation, students are involved in policy reform and public education including work with coalitions on issues of juvenile life without parole, youth violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of conviction. Students will participate in case selection and litigation strategies. Students will be expected to do legal research and writing including drafting motions and memoranda on various legal issues, i.e. evidentiary questions, sentencing, etc. and brief writing. Additionally, students will do pre-trial investigation and fact development including interviewing clients and witnesses. 3L students who have taken a trial practice course will have the opportunity to argue motions and second chair hearings and trials. Policy work will include general research on issues, drafting statement and position papers and attendance at meetings. Corequisites: Evidence is recommended, but not required. Trial Practice is a corequisite for rising 3L's. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Winter 2021, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Autumn 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Winter 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Autumn 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Winter 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Autumn 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Winter 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Autumn 2017, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone

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 8 hour take-home examination./The grade is based on a final examination.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, John Rappaport
  • Winter 2021, Richard Mcadams
  • Autumn 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
  • Winter 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
  • Autumn 2019, John Rappaport
  • Spring 2019, John Rappaport
  • Winter 2019, Richards McAdams
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018, John Rappaport

Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail

Criminal Procedure II surveys the procedural and constitutional rules that govern the court process in a criminal case, with a focus on Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. Topics may include: bail and pretrial detention, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, litigating racial bias, venue, the charging instrument, joinder/severance, discovery, trial, confrontation rights, plea bargaining, jury selection, and sentencing. We also examine prosecutorial discretion, legal and ethical issues surrounding the representation of criminal defendants, and the pervasive roles of race and poverty in the criminal legal system. Guest speakers typically include 2 to 3 U.S. District Court judges, a federal magistrate judge, and a current or former Assistant U.S. Attorney. (IMPORTANT: Criminal Procedure I is not a prerequisite, and no knowledge of Criminal Procedure I is needed for this course. Criminal Procedure I examines the rules that govern police investigations, while this course covers the next chronological stage-the court process.) This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2020, Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2019, Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler

Critical Race Studies

Spring 2021, William J. H. Hubbard

This course provides an introduction to critical race theory through reading canonical works by critical race scholars; it explores a selection of current legal debates from a critical race perspective; and it contextualizes critical race theory through the study of related movements in legal scholarship, including legal realism, critical legal studies, and social science research on discrimination and structural racism. We will attempt to identify the ways in which critical race scholarship has influenced, or should influence, legal research and law school pedagogy. Requirements for this course include thoughtful class participation and a final examination.

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. 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 of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Susan Rochelle Epstein

Equality as a Human Right

This seminar will examine equality within the context of human rights. The general principles of equality and non-discrimination are fundamental elements of international human rights law and most of the world's constitutions. However, legal definitions of equality and non-discrimination differ globally as do perspectives on how human rights principles (and the concept of rights more generally) promotes and impacts equality. We will explore legal definitions of inequality based on protected classes, attributes and identity such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality and sexual orientation. We will also discuss socio-economic inequality and its intersection with the human rights system. Students may take the course for two or three credits.  All students will do a short presentation. Students taking the course for two credits will write two 4-5 page reaction papers.  Students taking the course for three credits will write a reaction paper and a longer final paper. Grades will be based on the presentation, participation and papers submitted.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Claudia Maria Flores

Exoneration Project Clinic

The Exoneration Project is a post-conviction clinical project that represents people convicted of crimes of which they are innocent. Students working in our Project assist in every aspect of representation including selecting cases, advising clients, investigating and developing evidence, drafting pleadings, making oral arguments, examining witnesses at evidentiary hearings, and appellate litigation. Through participation in our Project, students explore issues of error and inequality in the criminal justice system, including police and prosecutorial misconduct, the use of faulty scientific evidence, coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel. The Exoneration Project is an intensive, rigorous experience designed for students who are committed to providing the best possible representation to deserving clients. Second-year students wishing to enroll in the Project are encouraged to take Evidence in their second year. Third-year students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop (although we recognize that that may not be possible under current circumstances). Students are also strongly encouraged but not required to take Criminal Procedure I and II. Students will receive credit for the work they do in accordance with the credit rules for all other clinical programs. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Winter 2021, Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Autumn 2020, Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Spring 2020, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Winter 2020, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2019, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Spring 2019, Tara Thompson, David Owens, and Joshua Tepfer
  • Winter 2019, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard
  • Autumn 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard
  • Spring 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Winter 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2017, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth

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, the siting of locally undesirable land uses, and the use of eminent domain. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a final exam.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Lee Fennell

Feminist Economics and Public Policy

This seminar will explore advances in feminist economics and the implications for public policy in local and global communities. Drawing from feminist economics research, the seminar will address the persistence of gender inequality in societies around the world and proposed policy solutions. Topics will include gender relations and the organization of domestic and market work, violence against women, workplace and pay equality, gendered access to resources, education, and healthcare, and gender and property rights. Evaluation will be based on class participation, and short research/response papers. Non-law students must have instructor consent to enroll.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Diana Strassmann
  • Spring 2019, Diana Strassmann

Global Human Rights Clinic

The Global Human Rights Clinic works for the promotion of social and economic justice around the world and in the United States. The Clinic uses international human rights laws and norms, transnational and comparative law, and multidimensional strategies to draw attention to human rights violations, develop practical solutions and promote accountability on the part of state and non-state actors. The Clinic works with clients and organizational partners through advocacy campaigns, research and litigation in domestic, foreign, and international tribunals. Working in project teams, students develop and hone essential lawyering skills, including oral advocacy, fact-finding, research, legal and non-legal writing, interviewing, media advocacy, cultural competency and strategic thinking. Students may enroll for up to three credits a quarter. New students should plan to take the clinic for three quarters for a minimum of two credits each quarter, unless they have faculty permission prior to registration. Participation may be considered in final grading. Prerequisites: International Human Rights Law (recommended but not required); Public International Law (recommended but not required) *This clinic will have limited in person meetings.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Claudia Maria Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Winter 2021, Claudia Maria Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Autumn 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat

Global Inequality

Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education? In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Students will be expected to write a paper (20-25 pages), which may qualify for substantial writing credit. Non-law students need instructor consent to enroll. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach
  • Winter 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach

Government Integrity and Transparency Seminar

The new Seminar on Government Integrity and Transparency will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the legal systems that promote government integrity and transparency through participation in a seminar and a field placement in a government oversight agency or entity.

The goal of this new course offering is to familiarize students with the legal rules, policies, and procedures for ensuring the proper, transparent functioning of governmental operations. The seminar will provide students with exposure to substantive and procedural law, criminal and administrative law, ethics, litigation preparation and practice (through participation in classroom exercises built around a single public corruption matter), and hands-on experience through a field placement.

Each student in the seminar will be responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened field placement program with a governmental entity with oversight and transparency responsibilities during the Spring Quarter 2021.

Through a working case study, students will have an opportunity to build investigative and reasoning skills. This class requires weekly written assignments. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Sharon Renee Fairley
  • Spring 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley

Greenberg Seminar: (Re)Building Bridges: Can Reviving & Reimagining Public Infrastructure Save America?

The traditional rationale for government spending on public infrastructure is to solve collective action problems. However, in recent years, governments have struggled to maintain existing infrastructure, much less expand it to be inclusive of new needs. Why is building infrastructure and maintaining it so difficult in the present day? Could government spending on public infrastructure be a means to facilitate collective action and to create collective identity? Can expanding and improving shared resources and public spaces give the United States a better and more unified future? Should we expand our notion of what counts as public infrastructure? In contemporary society, is access to some sorts of public infrastructure essential or even a right? How can or should equity analysis impact public infrastructure? This seminar exploring public infrastructure will raise these and other questions.

We will begin by considering what is - or should be - considered part of our shared public infrastructure.  We will then examine classic examples of public infrastructure-think roadways, bridges, and water systems-and the challenge of addressing the current collapsing state of American infrastructure. Then we will move on to press the boundaries of what we consider public infrastructure-from public parks to schools to healthcare access-and to ask how our conception of public infrastructure reflects shared values about what public goods are worth providing at a societal level.  We will conclude with a focus on lessons learned throughout the year-why are shared spaces and services important? What are the societal benefits of robust and reliable public infrastructure? As we deal with a tumultuous time, a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and struggles for justice, how should we change public infrastructure-in terms of both its concrete and its conceptualization-in the United States in the coming decade? We are excited to have the conversation with you.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik
  • Winter 2021, Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik
  • Autumn 2020, Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik

Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War

We will explore a series of works on crime, politics, policing, and race, with an emphasis on the City of Baltimore: David Simon, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," Sudhir Venkatesh, "Gang Leader for a Day," Jill Loevy, "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America," and all of "The Wire." We will focus particularly on the drug war - the economics and violence of the trade; the culture of the police bureaucracy; alternative law enforcement strategies such as informants and wiretapping; the politics of race, crime rates, and legalization; and the effects of addiction. But these works also examine the effects of declining blue collar jobs and weakening labor unions; the effects of race, incumbency, and corruption on local politics; the challenges and failures of education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail. Spring meetings will be held on April 8 and May 6 from 7:00-9:00 PM.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Winter 2021, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Autumn 2020, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams

Greenberg Seminar: Global Poverty

This seminar will focus on how legal regimes can be improved to reduce global poverty by promoting economic and social development. For each session, we will watch a documentary film that explores a different issue related to poverty and development around the world. These issues will include topics like migration, housing, health, labor markets, and education. We will focus on discussing how existing laws contributed to the emergence of current problems and how laws can be reformed to promote development. We will also discuss the extent to which the films we watch are successful at identifying and conveying development challenges and opportunities.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
  • Winter 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
  • Autumn 2019, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani

Greenberg Seminar: Reconciliation in Ireland and South Africa

Despite its apparent peace and prosperity today, Ireland is an island with a long history of division and conflict, from the sectarian Troubles in Northern Ireland to religious cruelties in the Republic of Ireland.  This Greenberg looks at a collection of those ordeals, compares them with other paths to reconciliation in South Africa, and then considers where the two Irish nations are today.  We will begin by reading two non-fiction accounts: SAY NOTHING by Patrick Radden Keefe about the Troubles in Northern Ireland and THE MAGDALEN LAUNDRIES by James M. Smith about cruelties inflicted upon unwed mothers in the Republic of Ireland.  Then we will look at writings by Nelson Mandela (LONG WALK TO FREEDOM), Desmond Tutu (NO FUTURE WITHOUT FORGIVENESS), and Martha Nussbaum (ANGER AND FORGIVENESS) to examine ideas of reconciliation, anger, and forgiveness in other contexts.  Next, we'll look at a celebrated fictional account of the Troubles in the north (MILKMAN by Anna Burns) before concluding with an account of ordinary life in the Republic today through NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney.  Have the Irelands reconciled with their past, or does they still need to?

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Anthony Birdthistle
  • Winter 2020, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Anthony Birdthistle
  • Autumn 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Anthony Birdthistle

Greenberg Seminar: Tyrants, Big and Small

We're surrounded by 'tyrants' and complaints about ''tyranny'--in the household, among our peers, on social media, in our national government, and overseas.  But what is tyranny? And why's it so bad?  This Greenberg seminar takes an eclectic look at the idea of 'tyrants' in a wide array of contexts, using a varied set of texts.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Bridget Anna Fahey and Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2021, Bridget Anna Fahey and Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2020, Bridget Anna Fahey and Aziz Huq

Greenberg Seminar: Why I Don't Like to Talk about Race (and Gender)

In this class we will explore why it is so difficult for people to have conversations about race and gender. Our quest throughout the seminar will be to develop a better understanding of the unique historical and cultural underpinnings that make modern discussions about race and gender fraught with blame, denial, fear and discomfort, and we will do so primarily through materials focused on race. We will explore the history of racism in the U.S. by reading portions of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. We will also explore how whiteness interacts with this history by reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.  We will watch the TedX talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that was the basis for her book We Should All Be Feminists and may watch an additional movie or read a supplemental article. While there are significant differences in what underpins discussions about race and gender, there is also significant overlap and conversations about either are incomplete when they don't acknowledge that both matter. In developing a better understanding of why modern discussions about race and gender are so difficult, we intend for participants to walk away from the seminar with a better understanding of their own relationship with the issue and how to navigate it in social and political contexts.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Winter 2020, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Autumn 2019, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Spring 2019, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Winter 2019, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Autumn 2018, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik

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 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 (20-25 pages).

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, Juan Carlos Linares
  • Spring 2019, Juan Carlos Linares

Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Ben Laurence, Kévin Orly Irakóze, and Andrea Elizabeth Ray
  • Spring 2019, Ben Laurence
  • Spring 2018, Ben Laurence, Joshua Fox, Claudia Hogg-Blake, and Agatha Slupek

Human Trafficking and the Link to Public Corruption

This course provides a comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of human trafficking both domestically and internationally.  In the year of the 20th anniversary of the Palermo Protocol, the course will look back on how far individual states have come in their efforts to fulfill their obligations under the Protocol.  By reviewing the challenges to criminal prosecution first, the course will explore alternative paths to eradicating this transnational human rights crime that impacts over 40 million individuals annually.  Reviewing the array of supply chain laws domestically and internationally first and then exploring industry-wide practices, students will learn to examine solutions from an array of laws that reach beyond merely criminal prosecution.  Recognizing that public corruption plays a significant and powerful role in aiding the crime to continue with little societal repercussions, the course will explore ways in which the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the TVPRA have mechanisms to enforce these violations that provide billions of dollars to the traffickers.   Taught by federal district court judge, Hon. Virginia M. Kendall. This class requires a final  paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Virginia Mary Kendall
  • Winter 2020, Virginia Mary Kendall

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, 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, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. 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. Students must enroll for either 2 or 3 credits each quarter and must enroll for all three quarters.  Instructor note: while many clinic activities can be conducted remotely, there may be some fieldwork activities, such as client interviews and court hearings, that must be conducted in-person. Students who will not be geographically located in Chicago for some or all of the year should speak with Professor Hallett before bidding. Students with questions may contact Professor Hallett at nhallett@uchicago.edu to learn more. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Students will be evaluated on the fieldwork portion of course on the basis of whether they:

  • Fulfill professional obligations to clients
  • Work diligently and zealously towards accomplishing the clients' goals
  • Collaborate with team members and supervisor effectively
  • Show willingness to learn new skills and confront new legal problems
  • Show improvement in legal writing, oral advocacy, and other lawyering skills
  • Willingly incorporate feedback into your work
  • Use reflection to learn from clinic experiences
  • Display responsibility, collegiality, and professionalism
  • Meet internal and external deadlines
  • Attend class prepared to discuss readings and regularly participate in classroom discussions
  • Practice excellent file management and time-keeping

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett

International Humanitarian Law

This course is an introduction to international humanitarian law (IHL), otherwise known as the law of armed conflict. It will cover cover sources of IHL, including: the Hague and Geneva treaty regimes; jurisprudence of international and national courts; national legislation, especially in the United States; and the practice of both state militaries and non-state actors. The course will explore three fundamental tensions that structure recurring debates in IHL: between humanitarianism and war; between state and non-state forms of organized violence; and between the formal equality of sovereign states and the realities of an unequal international system. A series of research papers (20-25 pages) is required. Participation may be considered in final grading. Public International Law and International Human Rights Law are recommended, but not required.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Darryl Li
  • Winter 2019, Darryl Li

Is Our Constitution Undemocratic?

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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2020, William Baude and Genevieve Lakier

Islamic Law: Foundations and Contemporary Issues

Since its inception, Islamic Law has grown from a set of rules governing life in 6th century Arabia to a global body of law developed across time and place with application to religious, civil, criminal, constitutional, commercial, and international law. The primary objective of the seminar will be to give students a basic understanding of Islamic Law and the issues faced in applying Islamic Law in the modern context, including current political and social events globally that have roots in Islamic Law issues. The seminar will cover the origins and historical development of Islamic Law, Islamic legal theory, scope and application of Islamic Law, and selected current issues such as Islamic Finance. Modern constitutional law issues regarding sources of law, religious freedom, public interest, and related issues in Muslim majority countries will be reviewed as well as the debates around the application of Islamic Law for Muslim minorities living in secular states.  This is a one semester seminar for 2L and 3L students. There are no pre-requisite courses required in Islam. Weekly readings will be assigned in English language source materials. A series of research papers is required (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.The seminar will draw on the lecturer's extensive personal experience with the subject matter and knowledge of the legal systems of Muslim majority states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Professor Kamran Bajwa studied classical Islamic Law and Islamic Theology at the Al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, Egypt. Professor Bajwa currently heads the Middle East regional practice for Kirkland & Ellis and travels regularly to the region.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2019, Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2018, Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2017, Kamran Bajwa

Law and Public Policy:  Case Studies in Problem Solving

This course examines the intersection of law and public policy and the lawyer's role in helping to formulate and defend public policy choices, using recent, real-world problems based on the instructor's experience as Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and senior legal advisor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  While the course will be conducted in a seminar/discussion format, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to hands-on role-playing in which students will play the role of legal advisors to an elected official, grappling with and proposing solutions to vexing issues of public policy.

While this course may be of particular interest to students who are interested in public service and public policy-making, its emphasis on developing students' analytical and problem-solving skills and on providing hands-on, practical experience in advising clients on complex issues should be of benefit to any student, regardless of interests and career objectives.  Providing legal analysis and advice and counseling clients on available options are a critical part of almost every legal career, whether as a litigator or transactional lawyer in a private firm or as in-house counsel for a corporation or not-for-profit.

Assigned reading will include press articles, proposed legislation, briefs and pleadings, and other materials concerning the case studies/public policy issues that will be examined.  Students will be expected to identify and analyze  legal issues and limits, competing legal and policy interests, and possible policy alternatives and advise their "client" accordingly.  Grades will be based on class participation and performance in role-playing exercises and short  (5 page) reaction papers concerning three of the case studies that will be examined.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, Stephen R. Patton
  • Autumn 2019, Stephen R. Patton
  • Autumn 2018, Stephen R. Patton

Law and Society

This seminar offers an introduction to the central themes and major debates in the field of Law and Society. The field of sociolegal studies is an interdisciplinary one, and reflecting this, the course will emphasize research in sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, and legal studies. We will explore classic readings from the Law and Society canon as well as more contemporary research and theory. We will analyze the readings for both their theoretical and empirical contributions, as well as for the methodologies the authors deploy. The themes we will consider over the course of the quarter include the tension between state or "official" law and nonlegal norms for ordering everyday life; the factors that influence who mobilizes the law (and who doesn't); and what it means to use law in contexts other than courtrooms, such as in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social movements, and mass media. We will explore the debate about the value of rights and litigation strategies in efforts to produce social change, and we'll examine the ubiquitous role of law in popular culture. The course will conclude with a look forward at future directions in law and society research. Final grade will be based on a 20-25 page major paper.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2019, Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2018, Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2017, Anna-Maria Marshall

The Law of Police

This course will comprehensively survey the law governing police in the United States that is not already extensively covered in Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process (so a student may take both courses). Topics may include the state and local law creating 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; statutes limiting racial profiling; 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; statutory and constitutional regulation of police surveillance and undercover operations; constitutional regulation of police obtained eyewitness identifications; the constitutional and statutory law of policing public protests; federal influence over local police; section 1983 lawsuits against the police and qualified immunity; the law for prosecuting the police; the law of injunctive relief against police. The grade is based on a final examination.

Previously:

  • 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. This class has a final take-home examination. Participation may be considered in final grading. Students may qualify for an additional credit hour by writing a substantial paper. Criminal Procedure is suggested as a pre-requisite, but not required.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
  • Autumn 2019, Sharon Renee Fairley

Legal Spanish: Public Interest Law in the US

This course brings students to high-intermediate levels in reading, speaking, and listening for the practice of public interest law in the US. Learners will build proficiency around relevant topic areas so that they can read, listen, explain, present and solicit information related to rights, procedures, legal actions, etc.  Pre-requisite: one year of university-level Spanish or equivalent.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Darcy Whilldin Lear

LGBT Law

This seminar examines the treatment of gender, sexual orientation and related questions of sexuality and identity in the U.S. legal system. The course emphasizes constitutional jurisprudence and theory with a particular focus on the First Amendment and the equal protection and due process guarantees, and statutory antidiscrimination provisions. Topics covered include marriage rights, student speech, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory antidiscrimination provisions, the rights of students to access sex segregated facilities, public and private workplace concerns, rights of intimate and expressive association, and asserted conflicts between religious liberty and nondiscrimination principles. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages). 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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2020, Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor

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 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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

Philosophy of Natural Law and Natural Right

The seminar will offer a comparative approach to four classic positions on natural law and natural right:  Aquinas, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant.  Our work is chiefly that of reading and seminar conversation.  At the end of the term, we will consider a few post-1945 international human right documents and render a verdict on the relevance of our classic thinkers.  On that verdict, there will be a written exercise in fashion of Oxford gobbets. This class has a final take-home exam.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2020, F. Russell Hittinger

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

This clinic, conducted over two sequential quarters, exposes students to the practice of poverty law by giving them the opportunity to work on housing cases at Legal Aid Chicago, the Midwest's largest provider of free civil legal services to people who are living in poverty or otherwise vulnerable. Students may be be asked to attend administrative grievance hearings, represent tenants facing unwarranted evictions, and prevent landlords from performing lockouts or refusing to make necessary repairs. All students will be expected to interview clients, prepare written discovery, conduct research, and draft motions. In addition to working 12 hours a week at LAF, students will attend a weekly two-hour class to learn about subsidized housing programs, eviction actions, housing discrimination, representing tenants with disabilities, the intersection between domestic violence and housing, and the extensive and often misunderstood connection between criminal law and housing. A 10 page paper is required. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2021, Lawrence Wood
  • Spring 2020, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2020, Lawrence Wood
  • Spring 2019, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2019, Lawrence Wood

Public Corruption and the Law

This seminar will focus on how governments use the law to prevent and catch public corruption, how the law is sometimes used to protect public corruption, and how one should determine the optimal response to corruption and its consequences. We will examine the substantive criminal laws and sentencing schemes used in the best public corruption prosecutions, ranging from RICO and "honest services" fraud to bribery and extortion laws. We will also examine the laws that create, authorize, or prevent the most effective investigative tools used by law enforcement against public corruption, including wiretap laws and related privacy issues. We will study several key topics within public corruption law, including patronage, its effect on democratic institutions, and its status under the First Amendment; campaign finance reform and whether money in campaigns is protected speech or a corrupting influence (or both); and the relationship between transparency, online access to information, and corruption. We will also consider an economic analysis of public corruption, including questions about whether the level of democracy, and the pervasiveness of corruption in the culture, affect the cost-benefit analysis.

Constitutional Law I and II are recommended pre-requisites. A major paper (20-25 pages) is required for students who wish to take the course for 3 credits. Students who take the course for 2 credits will write a series of short reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Winter 2020, David H. Hoffman

Race and Criminal Justice Policy

This class will examine issues of criminal justice policy with a lens focused on the problem of racial disparity.  We will assess disparities in the application of the law as well as the racially disparate effects of criminal justice-related practices, and we will consider why those practices exist and whether there are viable alternatives to them, taking into account a variety of perspectives. Specific topics will touch on a variety of stages of the criminal justice process, including policing, bail decisions, prosecution and plea-bargaining, sentencing, corrections, parole, and reentry. Students need not have prior training other than introductory Criminal Law.

This class has a final exam.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Sonja Starr

Racism, Law, and Social Sciences

The domains of racism, law, and the social sciences impact one another in myriad ways. At times, a system of racism is deployed through law, which in turn shapes questions asked in the social sciences. In other instances, the sciences articulate conceptual frameworks that lead to the creation of new forms of racism within society and law. Particular systems of racism have operated across a spectrum from incidents of overt violence to the daily impacts of implicit biases. Our readings and class discussions will consider a sample of case studies from across the globe in addition to past and present dynamics in the United States. Analyses of the social construction of racial and ethnic identities have facilitated studies of the ways in which social differences are created, maintained, and masked. Subjects to be addressed in this course include the interrelation of racial ideologies with other cultural and social dimensions, such as class, ethnicity, gender, political and legal structures, and economic influences. At an international scale, policy makers confront the challenge of balancing calls for multicultural tolerance with demands for fundamental human rights. We will also consider the related histories of biological, genetic, and epigenetic concepts of different races within the human species. This seminar includes a major writing project in the form of a seminar paper (20-25 pages).

Participation may be considered in final grading. This class will begin the week of January 4, 2021.

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2020, Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2019, Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2018, Christopher Fennell

Regulating the Mass Public Sphere

As the events of the last few months have made clear, there are serious problems with how the mass public sphere operates in the United States. Lies, conspiracy theories and disinformation circulate widely. Threats and harassment make it difficult for many (particularly women and minorities) to participate freely. Meanwhile the lowering of barriers to entry has encouraged a fracturing of the public conversation. This seminar will explore the extent to which these problems result from and/or might be solved by, regulation. To do so, it will take a deep dive into the regulatory history of the mass public. The seminar will examine the history of federal postal policy, telegraph common carrier laws, twentieth century radio regulation (including the Fairness Doctrine) and the internet platforms. It will also ask students to critically examine some of the reform proposals that have been suggested to correct the problems with the mass public. Knowledge of First Amendment law is recommended but not required. Grades will be based on class participation and a final research paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Genevieve Lakier

Regulation of Sexuality

This course explores the many ways in which the legal system regulates sexuality, sexual identity, and gender and considers such regulation in a number of substantive areas as well as the limits on placed on such regulation by constitutional guarantees including free speech, equal protection, and due process. Readings include cases and articles from the legal literature together with work by scholars in other fields. The grade is based on a substantial paper or a series of short papers, with class participation taken into account.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case

Responses of Law and Legal Institutions to the Impacts of Racial Segregation in Chicago

Chicago is among the most racially segregated major cities in America and also has one of the greatest disparities in poverty rate by race.  Racial segregation in Chicago is the product of governmental policies & socio-economic trends.  Such segregation has in turn given rise to many social justice issues that impact Chicago communities.

This three-credit seminar is designed to examine social and legal problems in Chicago that are connected to racial segregation in the city.  In doing so, the seminar will provide an opportunity to evaluate how different areas of law interact with and effect a complex web of social problems.  This seminar will meet once a week, for two hours. 

The introductory session will provide an overview of the historic drivers of racial segregation in Chicago, key contemporary racial, socieo-economic, administrative and political dynamics in the City.  After that introductory meeting, each subsequent session will be led by a different faculty member and focused on exploring the ways key laws, policies, and legal institutions within a particular area of law create or exacerbate social ills related to racial segregation.  Sessions in prior years have focused on criminal law, policing, environmental justice, human rights, corporate law,  education, & housing.  Each session will present a tailored mix of legal doctrine, interdisciplinary insights, & practical perspectives on the way law and legal institutions redress or reinforce a particular social challenge in contemporary Chicago.  Many sessions will feature either a skills-based component, to present how the law operates in reality, or a guest speaker, to convey the real-world effect of legal institutions on a community. This year, we will follow a similar format, but focus on events from the past year.

Students will be assessed in the following ways:  1) weekly blog-style reactions to the readings in advance of the week's seminar; 2) a final research paper; and 3) class participation."

Previously:

  • Winter 2021, Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2020, Robert A. Weinstock, Nino Guruli, and Amy Marie Hermalik

Voting Rights from Reconstruction to the Roberts Court

This course examines the intersection of race and voting rights. From debates about voter ID laws to legal battles over redistricting, race and voting rights are inextricably intertwined in our society. This course analyzes the development of voting rights over U.S. history, starting with the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments during Reconstruction. Other topics include the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the constitutionality of race-conscious redistricting, and the legal significance of racially polarized voting. Students will leave the course with an understanding of the major issues in voting rights today. Students will be graded based on short reaction papers as well as the quality of their preparation and participation in the seminar. There will not be a final examination. Prerequisites: Constitutional Law is recommended but not required.

Previously:

  • Spring 2020, Travis Crum

Women's Human Rights in the World

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 at the end.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2019, Claudia M. Flores
  • Winter 2019, Claudia M. Flores
  • Spring 2018, Claudia M. Flores

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

This workshop exposes students to recent academic work in the regulation of family, sex, gender, and sexuality and in feminist theory. Workshop sessions are devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers from outside speakers and University faculty. The substance and methodological orientation of the papers will both be diverse. Students have the option of writing a major research paper for SRP or WP credit or short reaction papers commenting on the works-in-progress presented. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case

Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case