Honors | The Moral Basis of American Law (HON)
H204 | 25518 | Judith Failer


TuTh 11:15am-12:30pm

In this class, we will try to understand American law by
reading both classic works in legal theory and real legal cases.
During the first part of the semester, we will focus the meaning and
nature of law in general.  What is law?  How can we recognize it?
Why should we obey it?  What is legal authority, and how (if at all)
does it differ for citizens and judges?  We will then use these
basic concepts to examine several important historical and
contemporary legal controversies in the United States, including
slavery, school desegregation, affirmative action, abortion, hate
speech, and drug use in religious practice.  In turn, these vexing
legal problems should help us come to terms with some of the
strengths and weaknesses in existing legal theories.  Throughout the
semester, we will evaluate the extent to which the Constitution
resembles -- and differs -- from traditional conceptions of law.  We
will also grapple with the dilemma of the proper relation of law and
morality.