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244.64 sec. 001 - Impact Litigation in CA Courts (Fall 2023)

Instructor: Shilpi Agarwal  
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Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


W 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 130
From August 23, 2023
To October 11, 2023

Course Start: August 23, 2023
Course End: October 11, 2023
Class Number: 33150

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 17
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 02/07 02:03 PM

This course will explore the current and evolving role of the State and state courts in the enforcement of our civil rights and civil liberties. The current makeup and latest term of the United States Supreme Court suggests that federal courts will play a smaller (or in some cases counter-productive) role in our ongoing civil rights battles. Many impact lawyers are looking to the states and state law with renewed interest as the increasingly likely forum where many of these issues will be litigated and explored. This course seeks to do two things: 1) explore the building blocks and doctrinal issues around developing and bringing an impact case in state courts. Specifically, we will cover some of the procedural and substantive arenas that are unique to state court litigation here in California, including its expansive standing doctrine, the Taxpayer Statute, and Writs and Mandate. And 2) we will discuss the pros and cons of leaving some of these fundamental questions about our rights to each state, as opposed to having robust civil rights protections at the federal level. Some possible areas of discussion are the death penalty, the current state of abortion law, and Texas’s SB 8 and California’s SB 1327 as subjects that exemplify the growing tension between a state vs. federal-based civil rights system.

Shilpi Agarwal is the Legal Director at the ACLU of Northern California. In that role, Shilpi leads the litigation program, providing both strategic vision that shapes the organization’s overall litigation docket and direct support to litigation teams. In her previous role as a staff attorney and senior staff attorney, Shilpi worked on a range of issues including criminal justice, fourth amendment privacy, abolition of the death penalty, free speech, and voting rights. Shilpi is recognized as an expert on civil rights and civil liberties issues, and she is frequently quoted in local and national media. She has also testified as a civil rights expert before the California legislature. Prior to joining the ACLU, Shilpi served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in San Francisco and as an associate at Keker, Van Nest, & Peters. Shilpi received a bachelor’s degree in both political science and economics from Stanford University, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. After law school, she clerked for Judge Keith P. Ellison in the Southern District of Texas and then for Judge Betty B. Fletcher in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Exam Length: 2 hours
Course Category: Litigation and Procedure
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Social Justice and Public Interest

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