Political Science | Problems in American Law
Y490 | 13353 | Failer


In this class, we will use basic works and concepts in jurisprudence
to help us understand contemporary problems in American law, and
vice versa.  After spending several weeks focusing on the meaning
and nature of law, we will use these basic ideas to examine several
important historical and contemporary legal controversies in the
United States, including slavery, school desegregation, affirmative
action, abortion, drug use in religious practice, and hate speech.
In turn, these vexing legal problems should illuminate 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.  Each student will be expected to complete several short
assignments on the theoretical material, participate in a series of
moot courts, and prepare both a judicial opinion and attorney’s
brief in conjunction with two of the moot courts.