Law Schedule of Classes

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

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

224.23 sec. 001 - Public Health Law (Spring 2024)

Instructor: Marice Ashe  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


MW 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM
Location: Law 107
From January 08, 2024
To April 23, 2024

Course Start: January 08, 2024
Course End: April 23, 2024
Class Number: 32696

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 18
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 24
As of: 07/13 11:56 PM

Public Health Law 224.23 examines the complex interplay between government’s role in promoting population health and protecting personal liberties. A significant focus is on the legal, policy, and ethical issues raised by evolving notions of governmental powers in our highly pluralistic and fractured society as we tackle the ties between institutionalized/ systemic harms - including racism - and population health outcomes.

Students will explore the basics of the US public health system, learn how to integrate core legal theory with fundamental public health principles, and identify laws and policies that further the public’s health by redressing inequalities and promoting health equity. Students do not need a background in health law, but should bring a passion and commitment to redressing structural discrimination that limits equity and opportunity.

This course is housed at Berkeley Law and is open to both law and public health graduate students. It is organized into three major sections:

1. The Public Health Perspective: We start the class with laser focus on the social, political and economic determinants of health, and racism as a public health crisis. We utilize public health data and stress-test various models of public health practice to understand how to build a rationale for legal and policy strategies to protect health and prevent disease.

2. Case Studies of Public Health Law in Action: Core legal theories and specific legal tools are explored through a wide range of case studies related to how the law applies to infectious and chronic disease prevention, access to care, nuisance abatement, emergency response and more. Special emphasis is placed on the authority of federal, state and local governments to take action.

3. Constitutional Standards for Protecting Public Health: We close the course with an exploration of due process and equal protection, and the limits to governmental authority through the lens of the eugenics movement, sexual and reproductive freedoms, parental rights, religious liberties, and free speech.

This is a course is designed to simulate responses to real world problems using an array of legal tools. Educational materials include both traditional and nontraditional resources, and the course supports student-led research and writing projects. Class time includes short lectures, student-led discussions, and frequent small group exercises. We learn how health and community-based leaders, and lawyers partner across disciplines to ensure everyone has the ability to live a healthy and prosperous life.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class may be counted as either an Option 1 class (two Option 1 classes satisfy the J.D. writing requirement) or units from this class may count toward the J.D. Race and Law Requirement. This class may count for both requirements if and only if a student is electing Option 1 and the student's other Option 1 class being used to satisfy the J.D. writing requirement is not being counted towards any other requirement.

The Race and Law Requirement applies to the class of 2026 and beyond.

Student Services is available to answer questions.

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

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Required Books are in blue

  • Public Health Law, Ethics, and Policy: Cases and Materials
    Richard Bonnie, Ruth Bernheim, Dayna Matthew
    Publisher: Foundation Press
    ISBN: 9781684673193
    e-Book Available: unknown
    Price: To Be Determined

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