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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Antidiscrimination Law (Fall 2017)

Course Description

This three-credit course will survey federal constitutional and statutory mechanisms designed to fulfill the promise of equality under the law.  Students will learn to apply key antidiscrimination law doctrinal frameworks in several areas (including education, employment, housing, voting, policing, and marriage), and they will learn how these frameworks have applied to different types of discrimination (including discrimination based on race, sex, religion, disability, and sexual orientation).  Students will also examine the conceptual assumptions and normative commitments that have shaped these doctrines, and they will be asked to compare alternative visions of equality with those embodied in existing law.   The course will plot developments in antidiscrimination law along a temporal arc—from Reconstruction, through the civil rights movement, and to the present day.  It will conclude by considering whether the current state of federal antidiscrimination law adequately addresses contemporary problems and whether, for example, it should be expanded to offer additional protections against immigration- and class-based discrimination or contracted to elevate the corrective role of markets.  Contemporary subjects receiving close consideration will include marriage equality, racially discriminatory policing practices, campus sexual harassment policies, voter identification laws, and the Trump administration's controversial travel ban. 

Student performance will be evaluated on the basis of class participation (10%) and performance on a take-home final exam (90%).  A paper option will be permitted only with special permission from the instructor.  Constitutional Law II: Rights is not a prerequisite for this course.  This course is designed, however, to avoid substantial overlap with Constitutional Law II, and students who have taken that course will benefit from an examination of constitutional subjects tailored more explicitly to issues of equality and from exposure to a wide variety of statutory subjects.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical or CR/D/F
  • Schedule: M/W 10:30 am - 11:45 pm
  • Room Number: Room 2
  • Exam: Take-home exam; A paper option will be permitted only with special permission from the instructor
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: No
  • Participation: Graded