Curriculum Guide · Courses
Fourteenth Amendment Seminar
Professor Louis Seidman
J.D. Seminar 052 | 3 credit hours
This seminar is designed to encourage students to think critically and creatively about the appropriate constitutional role for the principles of equality and liberty and, more broadly, about the manner in which Supreme Court functions as an institution. These goals will be accomplished by "reinventing" fourteenth amendment jurisprudence, free from the constraints imposed by the actual decisions of the Court. At the beginning of the semester, students will be assigned to individual "courts," which will meet to decide cases assigned every other week throughout the semester. The "courts" will be expected to vote on how the cases should be decided and to prepare written majority, dissenting, and concurring opinions as appropriate. Each student will be graded in part on the basis of the quality of any opinion that the student agrees to sign. By citing as authority only those cases previously decided by that court, each court will develop a body of hypothetical case law over the semester that must be distinguished, amplified, or, if necessary, overruled in dealing with the next set of cases. Students will be encouraged to remain in role and to attempt to develop a consistent judicial philosophy. Every two weeks, two of the “courts” will become “law firms,” which will analyze the case law developed by a third court, write briefs, and conduct an oral argument before the third court. Although little reading will be required for this seminar, students will be expected to produce a substantial amount of written work and to devote a substantial amount of time to meeting with other members of their court. Once enrolled, no student may be excused from it without the permission of the professor.
Once enrolled, no student may be excused from the seminar without the permission of the professor.