Washington Center

The U.S. Supreme Court: Conflict, Change and the Court

Day and Time: 
Wednesdays, 8:00am - 11:00am
Quarter Dates: 
September 19 - November 28, 2023
Semester Dates: 
August 23 - November 28, 2023
Core Seminar

Immigration. LGBT rights. Healthcare. Abortion. The death penalty. Cell phone privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided cases on all of these topics in recent years, and its decisions ultimately touch the lives of all Americans. In this class we will study the Supreme Court's place in the U.S. legal system. Topics we will cover include: how a case gets to the court, the justices, the role of lawyers before the court, the purpose of oral argument, the court building and its symbolism, and media coverage of the court.

In addition, students will listen to the arguments in current Supreme Court cases and spend class time discussing them. In papers, students will be asked to rigorously explain why the justices likely took those cases and how they will come out based on what they hear at oral argument. This class is geared not only toward anyone who is interested in the law or government service but also toward anyone interested in working on or being informed about the biggest issues of the day.

About the Professor: For the last decade Professor Jessica Gresko has been a reporter for The Associated Press, first in Miami and now in Washington. As a legal reporter, she covers court cases at all levels, both local and federal. She has been at the Supreme Court for many recent high-profile decisions including cases on gay marriage, healthcare and the death penalty. Professor Gresko earned her B.A. from Columbia University in New York and a M.S.L. (Master’s in the Study of Law) from Georgetown University Law School. She grew up in Southern California and took her first journalism class at UCLA.


Requirement for ALL semester students:

The first four weeks of this semester (August 23 to September 13) will be spent in a special topics module taught by Professor Marc Sandalow on Wednesdays from 6:30-9:30p.m. This module will account for 15% of the core seminar final course grade. Please contact Professor Sandalow (marc.sandalow@ucdc.edu) with questions.

Your selected seminar will begin the week of September 18 and your seminar instructor will officially be your instructor of record for the term, responsible for computing and submitting final course grades at the end of the term.

**NO additional registration required.


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