The theme of this course is that the judiciary is a political institution in the American scheme of government. This topic couldn’t be more relevant than it is now in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election as we witness courts across the country actively involved in resolving numerous and varied disputes arising from political conflicts. Our focus will be less on the substantive issues, per se (this is not a civil liberties or constitutional law course), and more on the institutional structures, personnel, and processes that affect the outcomes of court business. We will examine the organization of both state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels; the many actors who participate in courts, such as litigants, lawyers, judges, juries, and interest groups. Also, we will distinguish between civil and criminal courts to understand how and why disputes are resolved in court. By the end of the term, you will understand how the judiciary is as much a political as it is a legal institution and is a fundamental part of American politics.
Among the course requirements will be field assignments, so students should not schedule work hours on our seminar day.
*Requirement for ALL semester students:
The last four weeks of this semester (March 25 to April 15) will be spent in a special topics module taught by Professor Jennifer Diascro on Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. This module will account for 15% of the core seminar final course grade. Please contact Professor Diascro (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
Professor Diascro will begin teaching the Judicial Process and Politics seminar on Thursdays, beginning January 9, and she 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.