Civil & Constitutional Rights

 

Requirements

24 credits, with at least 15 cred​​its from the following courses:

  • Title
  • Type
  • Credits
  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    This course will focus on the twin religion clauses in the Constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The course will cover the​​ sweep on Constitutional development, from the first religion clause case in the 1840s, to the most recent cases. In addition, we will spend a short amount of time examining the various theories for interpreting the establishment and free exercise clauses.​

  • Focuses on prosecuting and defending a civil rights claim brought pursuant to 42 U.C.C. 167 1983. Deals with constitutional theory and interpretation, emphasizing practical aspects and procedural tactics inherent in suing or defending a civil rights claim in federal court.

  • ​Examines the formative debates underlying the creation of the Constitution.

  • ​This course will explore the development of the U.S. Constitution from before the Founding to the end of the 19th century. The course will put Constitutional law into a historical framework that shows the interaction between various cases and between the Constitutional Law and political and economic developments. Students need not have any background in history. Constitutional History: The Formative Years will create a coherent narrative of the Constitution in the context of American history so students can understand Constitutional development as the interaction between law, politics, economics and ideology.

  • Elective
    Credits: 3

    ​Surveys legal approaches to employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, and age. Examines Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other federal civil rights statutes.

  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    ​The seminar will examine the theoretical and legal treatment of men's and women's labor in the public and private spheres, informal and formal sectors, unionized and non-unionized sectors and the international arena. The seminar is designed for students who are interested in examining the law's impact on the work that women and men do. It will draw on materials from labor history and theory, feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and domestic and international labor and human rights law.

  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    ​In this course we will read and discuss about 30 of the most important Supreme Court casees in our constitutional history. This is an opportunity to think about how judges write opinions and how opinions and rhetoric affect public policy. These are the cases every well educated lawyer should have read and know.

  • Elective
    Credits: 2
    ​Provides an introduction to immigration and naturalization policies in the United States. Considers constitutional, statutory, and regulatory authorities confronting individuals and society. Students learn to navigate the complex regulatory framework to resolve basic immigration problems.
  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    ​This small course/seminar will explore the way law was used to create slavery in British American in the 17th century and then how the American states and the American nation developed an elaborate system of slave law. We will consider slaves as property, the criminal law of slavery, the relationship between race and slavery, how slaves could become free, and constitutional issues involving fugitive slaves, slavery in the territories, and the overall constitutional structure. Students will be evaluated by writing a paper that may be used to fulfill the upper level writing requirement.

  • ​Surveys the legal problems in areas such as public assistance, housing, health, and education and special problems of defined groups.

  • ​Involves a review of the law in the United States and abroad, with a concentration on New York law, including judicial interpretation, that is designed to promote open access to government as the public's right to know while guarenteeing safety and security for citizens.

  • This course examines the legal foundation for states and local governments to incur debt (municipal securities) and finance infrastructure. It reviews the federal law regulating the sale of municipal securities and disclosure requirements for investors, and federal law which permits interest on municipal securities to be tax-exempt. These fundamentals are examined through various financing structures employed by Wall Street investment bankers, together with case law and think-tank policy which guide the development of the modern municipal securities marketplace.​

  • Examines the role of American state courts in the development and protection of individual liberties, as well as in deciding issues of public law generally, as a matter of independent state law. Includes historical background of judicial review in the state courts, the re-emergence and methods of state-based adjudication, dynamics between the U.S. Supreme Court and state high courts, and recent developments and future of independent state law and decision-making.

  • Elective
    Credits: 3
    ​Analyzes nature and functioning of state constitutions in general and New York's in particular. Complete scope of subjects is discussed, in addition to comparison among various state constitutions.
  • Elective
    Credits: 3

    Students will role-play the justices on cases currently in front of the Court, examine pressing issues in constitutional law from each justice’s perspective, and explore the impact of the justices’ competing approaches both for emerging law and for counsels’ strategy in preparing and presenting cases. The Roberts Court is having a major impact on American law and students will get to see it up close. We plan to go to Washington to observe oral arguments in the cases studied. In past years, students' analyses of the justices have been published.

No more than 9 of the 24 credits from the follow​​ing courses:

  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    ​This course will focus on four separate topics in American Legal History:  The Salem Witch Trials; the Trial of John Peter Zenger and the Development of Freedom of the Press; The Dred Scott Decision and the Problem of Slavery in the United States; and the Internment of the Japanese Americans in World War II. For each section we will read court documents, transcripts of arguments and testimony, cases, and documents generated by policy-makers, as well as short secondary readings on these subjects.  Students will be evaluated by writing a paper that may be used to fulfill the upper level writing requirement.

  • ​The Civil Rights and Disabilities Law Clinic provides law students with a rewarding opportunity to serve clients and develop professional skills.  Under faculty supervision, students represent clients in various administrative forums and state and federal courts.  Many clients are individuals with disabilities who are struggling against systemic barriers that interfere with their civil rights and independence.  Clinic students assist their clients in removing those barriers.  Through simulated exercises and the representation of clients, student interns will develop the skills necessary to be effective attorneys: persuasion, drafting, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, interviewing, counseling, fact investigation, and trial practice.  Students will also have the opportunity to successfully navigate complicated bureaucracies and negotiate with local, state, and federal officials.  ​​​​

  • Required
    Credits: 4

    ​This is a survey course that deals with issues arising under the United States Constitution. Topics that may be covered include judicial review, separation of powers, scope of federal and state regulatory power, and the protection of individual rights.​

  • Examines major steps in a criminal case from commencement of the criminal action through verdict. Focus is upon federal and New York procedure concerning: the decision to prosecute, including diversion; securing orders and pretrial detention; preliminary hearings; grand jury proceedings; subpoenas, immunity and contempt; accusatory instruments; discovery; speedy trial requirements; venue and venue change; pleas and plea bargaining; jury selection, voir dire and challenges; trial procedures; jury charges; and related practice.

    This course and Criminal Procedure Under the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments are designed to complement each other in a six-credit study of criminal procedure. Student may elect either course without taking the other.​

  • Examines basic constitutional constraints imposed on law enforcement in the investigation of crime. Primary topics include search and seizure, interrogation and confessions, right to counsel, fair trial, and self incrimination. 

    Professor Breger's class: This course examines - via extensive analysis of landmark federal constitutional cases - the federal regulation of law enforcement investigatory practices including searching and seizing under the Fourth Amendment, compelling confessions under the Fifth Amendment, and deliberately eliciting incriminating statements under the Sixth Amendment. Course themes include controlling police discretion, criminal procedure as Evidence law, class, ethnicity, race, the roles of the lawyers, and the use of social science research.

    Professor Farley's class: This course examines - via close readings of landmark federal constitutional cases - the regulation of law enforcement investigatory practices including searching and seizing under the Fourth Amendment, compelling confessions under the Fifth Amendment, and deliberately eliciting incriminating statements under the Sixth Amendment. Course themes will include discretion and ambiguity in the various roles that judges, defense lawyers, prosecutors, police, legal scholars, social science researchers and others play in the production of criminal procedure. Class power and racism will also be topics of discussion. There will be no final examination. In lieu of a final examination, each participant will keep a weekly journal and write a term paper.

    Professor Bonventre's class: The course examines the constitutional principles governing law enforcement in the United States through the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and of American State Supreme Courts. The course will emphasize the competing arguments, interests, and concerns involved in the various issues and in the different ways in which those issues are resolved by federal and state high courts. Students will be encouraged to understand the evolution, fluidity, and necessarily ideological character of constitutional criminal procedure law, and the importance of studying courts, judges, policy and politics, both to understand the case law and to be competent criminal law advocates. ​

  • Elective
    Credits: 2

    Explores in depth the legal issues and discrete phenomena of domestic violence. Topics generally include intimate partner violence, criminal prosecution of batterers, child abuse and neglect, gay and lesbian battering, elder abuse, and the basis for intervention of the state. ​

  • ​This course examines the proper role of the federal courts in the American political system. The ability of a litigant to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts is regulated by a variety of constitutional, statutory and judge-made doctrines. As such, topics explored will include: the case or controversy limitations contained in Article III, advanced topics in subject matter, diversity and supplemental jurisdiction, the availability of habeas corpus review, state sovereignty and the Eleventh Amendment, the abstention doctrines, the power of federal courts to create common law, removal actions, and 42 U.S.C.§1983 and Bivens civil rights actions.  Exploring the themes of federalism and separation of powers addressed in the basic Constitutional Law course, this course at its core examines the power of Congress to allocate judicial power among the federal courts, federal agencies and States. This course should prove to be particularly valuable to students who anticipate clerking for a federal or state judge, who plan to litigate before federal and state courts, or who are planning for a public interest or public sector career.

  • The Health Law Clinic is designed to teach student interns to identify and address the legal issues which poor individuals living with chronic health conditions often face.  Through faculty supervised representation of clients living with, or affected by, HIV or cancer, participating students acquire a broad range of practical lawyering skills in the areas of client interviewing, factual investigation, case planning, client counseling, and litigation advocacy.  Student interns are admitted to practice under the Student Practice Rule which allows them to help clients access necessary health care, obtain public benefits, secure or maintain stable housing, establish court-approved emergency plans for the future care of children, and develop proxies which authorize health care agents to make health decisions.  Participating interns typically take from this experience both a heightened confidence in their lawyering abilities and a broader perspective of their role in ensuring access to justice for the needy.  Clinic clients typically report that the legal services provided relieve stress and allow them to focus their limited energy on their underlying health problems.

    Pre/Co-Requisite: None​​​​

  • Elective
    Credits: 3

    ​Examines the judicial role. Focuses on creation and development of case law, theoretical and practical restraints on judges, and competing ideas regarding the nature of the judicial role in a constitutional democracy.

  • ​This seminar considers the relationship between law, justice, and morality.  Questions considered include: what is law? What are legal rules? What are rights?  What is the relation of law to justice in the modern regulatory state? Readings include historical material (e.g., ancient Greek and Roman writers) through to contemporary legal theory (e.g., law and economics, feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and postmodernism).  Students apply these perspectives to particular problems of law and policy in a research paper.  The paper may be used to satisfy the upper year writing requirement.

  • Introduces the creation, interpretation and implementation of statutory law. Topics will include legislative process (both federal and New York State), judicial interpretation of statutes, and agency implementation of statutes. Emphasizes the application of legislative and interpretive theory to legal practice.

Research pa​​per:

Written under faculty supervision on a relevant aspect of civil and constitutional rights. The paper must qualify for the Law School's upperclass writing requirement, and may or may not be used to satisfy that requirement.

(Effective November 6, 2012)

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