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283.4 sec. 1 - Advanced Civil Rights (Fall 2012)

Instructor: john a. powell  (view instructor's profile)
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Units: 2
Meeting Time: Th 3:35-5:25
Meeting Location: 141

Course Start: August 23, 2012
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49793


This course will examine the historical and contemporary relations between corporations, race, and democratic society. There is a deep relationship between the conceptual and legal constitution of w of the corporation and the rights and social-political space they occupy, and the space for marginal groups -- specifically people of color and women. This relationship is seldom explored or understood. This failure has important implications for our democracy, civil rights, and our economy. To the extent that we discuss this at all, it is framed in terms of the public /private dichotomy. This is a mistake that obscures the dynamic relations between people, corporate power and the stakes for our society.

This course will look at the constitutional and jurisprudential foundation of civil rights with a focus on how issues of public/ private have shaped the understanding and jurisprudence of civil rights. We will examine how these public/private issues are more appropriately described as public, private, non-public/non-private, and corporate. The latter part of the course will look at how these divisions interact, and how the courts and society understand these issues. This will also entail an examination of contemporary issues, including the role of government and the market, through a historical and jurisprudential lens. The debate of race and slavery has played an important and under-theorized role in this development and continues to have important implications. These issues implicate campaign finance, immigration, and the role of the court.

The issue of public and private is largely about whom or what is afforded Constitutional Rights. This issue was initially framed before and after the Civil War around the rights of blacks before on one hand and corporations on the other. It would later have implications for women and other groups, including discussions today about the role of corporation versus people. We will read complete texts of early cases such as Dartmouth College, Dred Scott, Lochner, and others from this perspective. One of the assertions in this course will be the close, but inverse connection with civil rights and corporate prerogative. We will also touch on the role of corporate governance and its role in this misalignment. A better understanding of the dynamics of corporation and race has important implications for how we think about regulations, inequality, and what it means to belong to society. We will read supporting material from law reviews and more popular books such as Categorically Unequal by Douglass Massey. There will be a 20-page paper required for this course and students will have the option of writing a 30-page paper to meet the law-school requirement. Class participation will count for 20% of the grade.

This course may satisfy the Writing Requirement.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
General Courses
Legal Theory and History
Public Law and Policy

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