Human Rights and Civil Liberties Courses

Qualifying course offerings can change from semester to semester. For a complete list for the current academic year, check the student handbook or contact the Law School Registrar.


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  • Federal Courts , JURI: 4570 , Credit Hours: 3
    This course will focus on the structure, jurisdiction, and powers of federal courts. Coverage will include: development of the federal court system; selection of judges; the judicial power under Article III; justiciability and the case-or-controversy requirement (standing, ripeness, mootness, political questions); the Erie doctrine; federal common law; challenges to jurisdiction; federal question jurisdiction; diversity jurisdiction; venue and transfer; special problems of removal jurisdiction.

  • First Amendment Clinic , JURI: 4200S, 4201S , Credit Hours: 2
    The First Amendment Clinic defends and advances the rights of free speech, press, assembly and petition via direct client representation and advocacy, particularly on behalf of individuals or organizations who may not otherwise have access to counsel with First Amendment expertise.  The Clinic also serves as an educational resource for organizations, journalists, students, government employees, and members of the public regarding issues of free expression, open access, and protection of newsgathering and reporting.  The clinic will provide law students with the opportunity to learn substantive areas of First Amendment law and develop concrete lawyering skills in the context of Constitutional litigation.  Such skills may include any combination of: client interviewing, case evaluation and research, negotiating with opposing parties, drafting pleadings and discovery requests, taking and defending depositions, participating in discovery and settlement conferences, identifying and coordinating with experts, motion practice, and oral advocacy.  In addition, students in the Clinic will have the opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding of the First Amendment.  This may include developing presentations to bring issues of free speech, press, petition, and assembly rights to non-lawyers; drafting writings that contribute to the public debate on matters implicating First Amendment freedoms; and helping to educate public officials and private citizens about the importance of protecting free expression and newsgathering.  The weekly seminar component of the clinic provides the opportunity to examine topical legal and legislative developments and debates relating to the rights of free speech, press, petition, and assembly.  The seminar also provides students with litigation skills training and will periodically be used to conduct “case rounds,” allowing students to discuss and collaboratively problem-solve issues related to their client work.  This is a one-semester clinic and is awarded 4 credits (2 graded and 2 pass/fail).

  • Immigration Law , JURI: 5890 , Credit Hours: 3
    This course will examine American immigration law and policy. Topics considered include source and scope of Congressional power to regulate immigration; procedures for entry, exclusion, and deportation; refugees and asylum; current immigration law reform; and the role of states in regulating migrants. This course is intended both for those who are considering immigration law as a career and for those who want a general introduction to an important area of law that intersects with many areas of practice, including administrative, criminal, family, employment, and international.

  • International Criminal Law , JURI: 4270 , Credit Hours: 3
    Examined will be the development and jurisprudence of international criminal law: its origins in post-World War II Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes tribunals; its evolution in post-Cold War tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Lebanon; and its siblings, noncriminal efforts like truth commissions. A focus will be the 10-year-old permanent International Criminal Court: its core crimes and ways persons may be held liable or defend against liability; the roles of actors including ICC prosecutors and defenders, judges, victims, partner organizations like NATO and the United Nations, and countries that belong to the ICC; and the relationship between the ICC and nonmember countries like the United States.

  • International Human Rights , JURI: 4670 , Credit Hours: 3
    Study of international human rights law and international and regional organizations, states and private actors in field. Examines instruments and institutions forming sources of human rights law (UN system, including Charter and treaties, European, African and Inter-American human rights regimes), role of NGOs and interaction between domestic and international law.

  • Law and Religion , JURI: 4833 , Credit Hours: 3
    The bulk of this course will focus on the history and judicial construction of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. The course will also include a section exploring how several religious traditions approach the relationship between religion and law.

  • Laws of War , JURI: 4645 , Credit Hours: 3
    Examined in this course will be laws and customs intended to regulate war - not only when and whether law permits resort to armed conflict, but also national and international legal rules and regimes governing how war is to be waged and when actors may be sanctioned for violating those rules.

  • Race and Law , JURI: 4821 , Credit Hours: 1
    This course takes a Critical Race Theory perspective on legislative and judicial treatment of racial issues in the United States. The reading emphasizes the historical treatment of racial minorities, starting with Native Americans and the beginnings of racially defined slavery and continuing through the post civil war constitutional amendments, legally enforced racial segregation, the civil rights movement, and the post-civil rights jurisprudence of the modern era. The classroom approach is a mixture of lecture and discussion.

  • Refugee & Asylum Law , JURI: 5894 , Credit Hours: 2
    The world’s refugees – persons forced to flee home countries – topped 15 million in 2014. This course will examine laws and policies governing forced migration. To be studied: international and U.S. legal systems and institutions; substantive, procedural, and evidentiary aspects of an asylum claim; causes; and trafficking and other refugee experiences.

  • Regulation of the Human Body , JURI: 4832 , Credit Hours: 2
    This seminar examines the ways in which we regulate the human body and its uses, treatment, and materials. As we study these regulations, we will also examine the underlying cultural assumptions embodied in the laws. The exact topics covered will vary by semester.

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