Course Descriptions

Spring 2016 Class Descriptions

Judicial Externship (Shaun P. Martin)

1 - 6 credit(s), P/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG), Criminal Law (LLMC), Employment and Labor Law (JD), Criminal Litigation (JD), Civil Litigation (JD)

The Judicial Internship Program allows students to receive academic credit for work in a judge's chambers in San Diego. Students must work 60 hours per unit of credit. In addition to the work component of the Program, students enrolled in the program will have regular contact with the Program's instructor, Professor Martin, who will meet with students individually, and review samples of the student's refelctive and written work from the internship. Students can secure their own internship position or can meet with Professor Martin for guidance in securing a placement. The internship is graded on a pass/fail basis. Students must receive approval from Professor Martin to register for this program.

How to Register For A Judicial Internship For Credit

Note: Students must receive approval from Professor Martin to register for this program. There are limitations on JD concentration eligibility. Please check the JD concentration web pages for more information.
Additional Information:JD Concentrations Web Page, Application

Judicial Lawmaking (Edmund Ursin)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Civil Litigation (JD)

Judicial Lawmaking examines the lawmaking role of courts. Do courts make law? If so, can this lawmaking by unelected judges be justified in our democratic system? And what if any constraints should be imposed on this undemocratic lawmaking? The focus is not on substantive law. However, in discussing the common law role of courts, examples will be drawn from tort law. Similarly, in the realm of constitutional law, major decisions (Brown v. Board of Education, Lochner v. New York, and Roe v. Wade) will be examined, and we will consider the influence of such decisions on attitudes toward judicial lawmaking generally. A primary focus is the conception of judicial lawmaking embraced—and expressly articulated—by the great judges who have shaped, and continue to shape, American law: Chief Judge Lemuel Shaw, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Justice Roger Traynor, and Judges Henry Friendly, and Richard Posner. The views of these judges are placed in the context of the law and legal scholarship (tort, constitutional, and jurisprudential) of their respective eras. The materials thus span the formative era of American law (the “Shaw era” 1830-1860), the seminal Lochner era, the “Traynor era,” and conclude by examining the contemporary tort scene and the recent jurisprudential writings of Judge Posner.  Successful completion of this course satisfies the written-work requirement.

Jurisprudence (Roy L. Brooks)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing

There is more than one way of finding a solution to any given legal problem. Some judges search for answers syllogistically, sometimes exaggerating the transparency of text (legal formalism), while others purport to seek solutions through original meaning or close, logical readings of text (e.g., Justice Scalia’s textualism). Still other judges look for answers in the social ends of law, disciplined only by the judge’s personal sense of justice (legal realism) or by well-defined community needs (sociological jurisprudence) or by existing governmental or social arrangements (legal process). This seminar gives students an opportunity to study these judicial technical and to sharpen their understanding of case analysis. Beyond that, it also gives students an opportunity to explore out-of-the-box thinking about judicial decision making by studying “oppositional” theories of judicial decision making called “critical process.” Unlike “traditional process” (e.g., originalism), critical process seeks to vindicate the norms of “outsider” groups—minorities, women, and LGBT. What would a traditional legal doctrine like personal jurisdiction look like if the Supreme Court were to base its decisions on female norms? (Does the very notion of “female norms” essentialize women?) Brown v. Board of Education, our most important civil rights case, is usually classified under legal realism. How would that case have been decided had it been approached from the perspectives of other norms in traditional process—legal formalism, Scalian textualism, sociological jurisprudence, and legal process—or from critical process? The seminar meets one time each week during the semester. A paper is required. Successful completion of this course satisfies the written-work requirement.

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