Course Descriptions

Fall 2012 Class Descriptions

Race & the Law (Junichi P. Semitsu)

3 credit(s)

This course will provide an overview of the complex interconnections between race and law in the United States. The class will begin with a broad overview of the legal construction of race, the color-blind approach to equality, and the scholarly movement known as Critical Race Theory (“CRT”). Both CRT and color-blind philosophies will be taught as essential perspectives, although students are encouraged to arrive at their own conclusions. The course will then shift focus to the role of law in causing and remedying racial inequality. After a brief historical survey of the nexus between law and racial subjugation, the course will explore the development, application, effectiveness, and fate of race-conscious remedies designed to ameliorate patterns and effects of discrimination. The core of the course, however, will be devoted to specific contemporary issues related to race and the law in the areas of (1) affirmative action in the 21st century, (2) workplace discrimination, (3) language rights, (4) racial profiling, (5) free speech, (6) race & adoption, and (7) racial disparities in criminal sentencing. Topics may change in light of new developments. While the primary focus will be on race from a multiracial and multiethnic perspective, the intersections of race with gender, class, and sexuality, as well as the relationship between specific ethnic groups, will be explored. The success of this class is entirely dependent on thorough preparation of assigned readings, thoughtful contribution to open class discussions, and a diversity of views. Thus, attendance and willingness to participate in discussions is both essential and mandatory. Among other things, all students will be required to participate in an in-class appellate argument by serving as an advocate and another as a judge. Students’ grades will be based on a final exam and class participation.

Real Estate Transactions (Duane Horning)

2 credit(s)

This course covers the practical aspects of real property transactions, both residential and commercial. Topics include purchase & sale transactions, escrows, title insurance, options, deeds and title issues, leases, basic financing transactions, brokers and agents, and applicable documents. The course builds on the broader conceptual concepts covered in the Property course, and examines the application of those concepts used by practitioners in advising their clients in transactions.

Remedies (Gail Heriot)

4 credit(s)
Concentration(s): Civil Litigation (JD), Public Interest Law (JD)

Legal and equitable remedies under statutes and the common law are examined and compared. The course focuses on methods of evaluating alternative remedies and arguing for or against their creation or use in a given case. The course objective is to enable the student not only to identify all available remedies but also to choose the preferred remedy from among them. The principal subjects covered are equity, restitution and damages.

Note: This is a required course for the Civil Litigation Concentration (JD). This course may be applied as one of the three required courses for the Public Interest Law Concentration (JD).

Responsibility and the Criminal Law (David O. Brink)

3 credit(s)
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMC), Criminal Law (LLMG)

The topic of the seminar is responsibility, both moral and criminal. Our approach will be guided by two methodological ideas. First, we will bring together philosophical and jurisprudential perspectives on responsibility. Whereas philosophers tend to focus on foundational questions involving skepticism about responsibility, jurisprudential discussions tend to assume we are responsible in some cases and patrol the border of responsibility and excuse. But these different starting points don't make disagreement inevitable. Indeed, I am especially interested in looking at potential for common ground, in particular, comparing the reasons-responsive wing in the compatibilist tradition (e.g. John Fischer and Mark Ravizza, R.J. Wallace, Susan Wolf, and Dana Nelkin) and what might be called the rational choice model of criminal responsibility (e.g. Michael Moore and Stephen Morse). Second, because blame and punishment are appropriate responses to culpable or responsible wrongdoing and excuses deny culpability or responsibility, we can study responsibility by studying excuses. In particular, we will see what we can learn about normal responsibility from cases of diminished or partial responsibility, including insanity and psychopathy, immaturity, addiction, duress and provocation. This seminar can be used to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

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