Law Schedule of Classes

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220.11 sec. 001 - Positive Constitutional Rights on the Ground (Fall 2018)

Instructor: Joseph Grodin  
Instructor: Thelton Henderson  
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Units: 1


    Tu 11:20 AM - 12:45 PM
    Location: Law 107
    From August 21, 2018
    To October 16, 2018

Course Start: August 21, 2018
Course End: October 16, 2018
Class Number: 32324

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 18
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 18
As of: 06/11 02:26 PM

In the United States we tend to think of constitutional rights through a negative lens focused on areas of individual autonomy (such as free speech, religion, privacy, etc.) protected against government intrusion, rather than as positive requirements for affirmative governmental action. And under the federal Constitution as interpreted by the courts, this is generally true. But negative rights may in some contexts give rise to a requirement for positive government action, such as the responsibility of government for the welfare of prisoners under the 8th Amendment ban on Cruel and Unusual Punishment, or the imposition of affirmative action requirements as a remedy for widespread violation of the 14th Amendment ban on discrimination. And beyond the federal Constitution, state constitutions (like the constitutions of many other countries) typically contain explicit statements of certain positive rights - the right of children to free public education, for example, or the right of poor people to welfare, or the right to a healthful environment.

Positive constitutional rights claims may provide a vehicle for social change and institutional reform, but they also are likely to raise difficult questions for both courts and litigants. Does the claim have constitutional support? Is it justiciable? Can it be defined in manageable terms? Can a court grant relief without violating separation of powers? Do courts have the institutional competence to provide for meaningful relief? In this seminar we address these questions both in theory - through readings and discussion of pertinent cases and scholarly writing, including comparative material from other countries - and on the ground, through close examination of cases involving prisoner rights and police misconduct in which Judge Henderson, prior to his retirement, played a leading role. This course will include oral presentations and written assignments during the semester.

Judge Thelton E. Henderson graduated from Berkeley Law in 1962 - where he was one of just 2 black students in his class - and was the first black attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In the Deep South, he protected voter rights alongside everyday citizens and visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the federal bench, where he has championed transformative justice for nearly four decades. After retiring from the bench last year, Judge Henderson is now a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Berkeley Law. Please visit his faculty profile for more information about this remarkable jurist:

Judge Joseph R. Grodin received his from J.D. Yale Law School and his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. Judge Grodin practiced labor and civil rights law in San Francisco from 1956-1972 and served as a member of the first California Agricultural Labor Relations Board from 1975-76. He was an Associate Justice and then Presiding Justice in the California Court of Appeal, and later an Associate Justice in the California Supreme Court (1979-1987). Judge Grodin was a professor at U.C. Hastings College of the law from 1972 to 1979, and returned after his service on the Supreme Court, teaching Constitutional Law, Employment Discrimination Law, and Labor Law.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend in order not to be dropped.

Law 220.6 Constitutional Law

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
This is a credit only course
Course Category: Public Law and Policy
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Required Books are in blue

  • Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places
    ISBN: 9780691155784
    e-Book Available: unknown
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $29.95
    Price Source: user provided

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