Public Law and Policy

Race and the Law

Discussion – 2 hours. This course will examine major cases, statutes, and events in the law, both on the books and in action, dealing with nonwhites. The course will include discussion of the situation of African Americans, Asians, Indigenous People, and Latinx People, from the Colonial era to the present. In addition to examining legal doctrine and policy, it will explore how the contemporary United States has been shaped by racial discrimination.

Advanced Topics in Administrative Law

Seminar – 2 hours. Much of our modern federal government relies on administrative agencies exercising authority delegated to them by Congress. Federal courts have traditionally deferred to agencies’ implementation of the statutes they administer, although these courts also set aside (or “vacate”) agency actions they find to be unlawful. In recent years, however, several justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have openly called for revisiting several administrative law doctrines that underlie this system.

Comparative Criminal Justice

Seminar - 3 hours. This seminar explores the ways political units in different countries attempt to maintain social order and advance criminal justice. Students examine the people, policies, and institutions responsible for adjudicating alleged criminal law violations around the globe. They also learn about how rules of professional responsibility and legal ethics guide the behavior of the institutional actors who participate in these criminal processes.

Advanced Aoki Criminal Justice Practicum

Students who completed one semester of the Criminal Justice Practicum will work on claims of innocence, wrongful conviction, and other miscarriages of justice. Students will draft papers for prosecutors' offices, will make formal internal presentations, and possibly appear in court.

Graduation Requirements: May satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement OR count towards the Professional Skills Requirement, student must choose one.
Final Assessment: Other (Briefs, motions, memoranda)
Grading Mode:  Letter Grading

Administrative Law

Lecture - 3 hours. Course examines how the U.S. Constitution and the federal Administrative Procedure Act constrain and regulate decision making by government agencies and officials. Topics include administrative due process, separation of powers, delegation of authority to agencies, procedural requirements for agency adjudication and rulemaking, and the extent and limits of judicial review. This course is highly recommended for anyone intending to practice in any public law area or at the intersection of public/private law.

Education Policy and the Law

Seminar - 3 hours. This course examines the interaction between policy and the law of various educational themes in K-12 and higher education (primarily K-12 education) and will consider the various state and federal legal efforts to improve K-12 education.  Topics to be discussed include civil rights, inequality and the "right" to an education, bilingual education, school finance litigation, educational access, No Child Left Behind Act, Common Core Standards and charter schools.

Law and Society Seminar

Seminar - 2 hours.   This course provides an overview of various intersections between sociology and law in the United States, from the origins of the country through current debates. Substantive topics may include how race, gender, class, or sexual orientation affect immigration and citizenship, education, housing and residence, or criminal justice. We will examine these issues through social science articles, case law, the U.S. Constitution and other laws, as well as media output (film and newsprint).

Legislative Process

Discussion - 2 hours. The course covers fundamental elements of the legislative process, including legislative procedure, the legislature as an institution, lobbying, statutory interpretation, legislative-executive relations, and the Legislature’s constitutional powers and limitations.

Final Assessment: Paper

State and Local Government Law

Discussion - 3 hours There are roughly 80,000 local government entities in the United States which provide essential services and spend billions of dollars. This course takes a broad approach to state and local government law, both practically and theoretically. Topics to be covered include: federalism, relations between states and localities, governmental liability, zoning, educational equity, and public finance. Readings will be drawn not only from case law and statues, but from history, theory and public policy.

Final Assessment: Exam