Course Descriptions

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Spring 2021 Class Descriptions

Judicial Activism (formerly titled Judicial Lawmaking) (LWLP540)

Instructor(s): Edmund Ursin

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

Judicial Activism examines the questions:  Are judges lawmakers with social policy at the heart of their lawmaking?  Can this sort of judicial decision making by unelected judges be justified in our democratic society?  Is this what we mean by judicial activism?  This course examines these question through the lens of important episodes of what might be described as judicial activism both in constitutional law (school segregation, abortion, and same sex marriage, for example) and the common law (the rewriting of tort law by the California Supreme Court that began in the 1960s and continues today).  It also examines what we can learn from important figures in American law: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Cardozo, Roger Traynor, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Richard Posner.  The views of these judges are placed in the context of important periods in our history:  the judicial creation of the negligence system in the mid-nineteenth century, the judicial obstruction of legislative efforts of economic reform in the “Lochner era” in the early twentieth century, and more recent times.  Successful completion of this course satisfies the written work requirement.

Juvenile Law (LWFC546)

Instructor(s): Jean Ramirez

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
Concentration(s): Children's Rights (JD), Criminal Litigation (JD), Criminal Law (LLMC), Criminal Law (LLMG), Criminal Law (MSLS)

The course examines practice and procedure in the juvenile courts, specifically, juvenile justice and juvenile dependency cases. With respect to juvenile justice, the course will consider the law and procedure applicable to juveniles accused of criminal conduct and status offenses. With respect to juvenile dependency, the course will consider the law and procedure applicable when parental figures abuse, neglect, and/or  endanger their children, triggering state intervention. In addition to a casebook, the course will utilize class speakers, films, field trips–pandemic allowing, practice-oriented writing, and simulation,  to teach the lawyering skills required in the juvenile courts. Students will be graded on the basis of their writing and argument of two motions commonly brought in juvenile justice cases (40%), their videotaped negotiations and write-ups in two dependency cases (40%), and class participation (20%). Students will be required to engage in self and peer evaluation and this work will be factored into class participation.  This class will be taught remotely.