Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

220.11 sec. 001 - Positive Constitutional Rights on the Ground (Fall 2019)

Instructor: Joseph Grodin  
Instructor: Thelton Henderson  
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Units: 1


    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-08-19

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-09-16

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-09-30

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-10-14

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-10-28

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-11-04

    M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
    Location: Law 145
    On 2019-11-18

Course Start: August 19, 2019
Course End: November 18, 2019
Class Number: 32455

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 14
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 18
As of: 04/07 11:14 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.

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.

Con Law (Law 220.6) is strongly recommended.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
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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