Washington College of Law Courses

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  • Office of the Provost
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    Fax: 202-885-2173
    provost@american.edu
    Leonard, Room Lower Level

    Bass, Scott A.
    Provost

Mailing Address

Specialized Human Rights Courses

Classes that directly addresses human rights and issues of inequities

LAW 626: Human Rights – This course explores the historical development of and substantial body of substantive and procedural rule comprising the contemporary International Law of Human Rights; UN human rights programs; and regional programs for human rights protection, including the Inter-American and European systems.

LAW 636: Family Law -This course offers an overview of the definitions of family, marriage, and divorce; the economic consequences of divorce; child placement; constitutional doctrine affecting the family; state intervention in the family; and the impact of gender on family law.

LAW 637: Domestic Violence - This two credit seminar course will provide students with an introduction to the legal system's response to domestic violence. Students will examine the evolution of civil and criminal justice system interventions, the legal and psychosocial theory informing domestic violence responses, the evidentiary challenges facing domestic violence victims in the courtroom, and the future directions of domestic violence law and policy.

LAW 640: Health Law - This course begins by examining basic assumptions about the fields of health care financing and delivery. This course then focuses on the four major pillars of health law: access, financing, quality and personhood. In the area of access, topics include statutory and common law obligations of health care providers to render care and civil rights issues within the health care arena. In financing, topics include private insurance, government programs to finance care for specific populations, and efforts to control costs within public and private systems. In the field of quality, topics include definitions of quality, systems of measurement, informed consent and standards of care, and regulatory versus free-market approaches. Topics related to personhood include rationing of services and ethical decisions. This course concludes with an examination of health reform models.

LAW 656: Asylum & Refugee Law – This course explores law, moral obligations, and national sovereignty, and the ways in which the interplay of these forces results in the making of U.S. asylum law and policy. Topics include review of the debate over the causes of refugees, the evolution of international legal refugee protection, and the extent to which Congress sought to make U.S. asylum law comport with U.S. international obligations. The course provides an understanding of the policy considerations underlying asylum law, review and critique of prevailing asylum law, and litigation issues in asylum removal proceedings and on appeal.

LAW 660: International Law – This course examines the rules governing the conduct of states inter se and their relations with individuals and legal entities; jurisdictional concepts; the status, application, and litigation of international law rules in U.S. courts; sovereign immunity; recognition; international agreements; the Law of the Sea; human rights; and international claims and adjudications.

LAW 701A: Women, Crime and the Law -This year long course will examine legal, theoretical and political forces -- including feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory and constitutional doctrine -- that shape the treatment of women in conflict with the law.

LAW 712B: Human Rights Litigation Clinical Seminar– This course provides students with the opportunity to participate in litigation involving myriad issues of law that synthesize and build on first-year doctrinal courses and require creative analysis and complex research. The work centers on several pro bono human rights cases, and students will draw upon torts, contracts, property, constitutional law, evidence, international law, civil procedure, federal courts, and criminal law, among other areas.

LAW 719A: Health Law: Legislation & Regulation- Congress and the President engage in legislative initiatives affected by lobbying and public interest groups and others, and the Department of Health and Human Services including the Food and Drug Administration engage in rule-making and create policies and guidances. Eventually, providers, payers, and others must construe and provide care, devices and payments based upon an understanding of the results of the legislative and administrative processes. In this course, we will consider how laws and rules are created and implemented and how and whether or not the results reflect the goals involved in the legislative and regulatory process.

LAW 738: International Courts Seminar -Course listed on WCL website

LAW 739A: Human Rights and Terrorism Seminar-This research seminar examines the impact that key laws and policies adopted in the US and other countries after the 9/11 attacks have had globally on the rule of law, international human rights and, where applicable, international humanitarian law, (the law of armed conflict). Among the topics that students will explore are: Can respect for human rights actually assist counter-terrorism efforts? Are past experiences with terrorism relevant to the contemporary terrorist threat? Should terrorist suspects ever be subjected to torture?

LAW 739B: Seminar: Advanced Human Rights – This course analyzes the protection of basic rights during emergency situations and non-international armed conflicts; the concept of public emergencies and the permissible derogations under U.S., Council of Europe, OAS, and Geneva conventions; special norms concerning due process; country studies; the role of nongovernmental organizations; supervisory and remedial machinery at the universal and regional levels; and methods and proposals for fostering greater state compliance with basic human rights during emergency situations.

LAW 755: International Human Rights Clinic– Students in the clinic handle asylum and human rights cases. The human rights cases focus on both international bodies and the application of international human rights law in U.S. courts. Students represent individuals and groups who assert violations of a wide range of basic human rights. Cases are prepared, filed, and argued by students before tribunals. Students also are involved in reporting, lobbying, press relations, and other aspects of human rights law. Students represent refugees seeking political asylum in the United States, both in trial and appellate proceedings. In both human rights and asylum cases, students develop a sound case theory, investigate facts, prepare witnesses, and present evidence in hearings or trials. The clinic pays particular attention to the issues of representation of clients in a cross-cultural context.

LAW 756: Immigrant Justice Clinic Seminar- Course listed on WCL website

LAW 795B: International Human Rights Advocacy -Course listed on WCL website

LAW 795F: Prevention of Genocide- Course listed on WCL website

LAW 795I: Human rights: Theory to Practice -This course will provide students with an interactive learning and teaching experience (where they are both WCL seminar students and teachers in local high schools) to enable them to identify and utilize different entry points and strategies for talking about and advocating for human rights with different audiences. Using the examination of specific human rights topics—such as genocide, women’s rights, the right to vote, the right to water and transitional justice themes, among others—the course will introduce law students to core pedagogies for teaching human rights and will provide them with intensive training to teach the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ Speak Truth to Power (STTP) human rights curriculum in local high schools. In addition to readings and lectures exploring different human rights pedagogies, the course will include significant interactive and experiential exercises involving role-playing and simulation, and discussions rooted in human rights and international law concepts, cases and norms.

LAW 795K: Migration and Human Rights -This seminar examines the role of human rights discourse and legal frameworks – international, regional, and national - in protecting and promoting the rights of migrants. It will explore different forces that prompt migration, including persecution, conflict and violence, economic conditions, and exploitation. The course will analyze statelessness, repatriation, and efforts at integration which affect access to citizenship and social belonging for migrants.

LAW 795L: Advanced International Advocacy Seminar-Course listed on WCL website

LAW 795N: Gender and International Comparative Law– This course examines the application of international law to religious and cultural practices that have an impact on women's rights. The course focuses on the personal status laws governing rights in the family, legal capacity, and inheritance in a number of countries. Students consider concepts of culture in international law and the scope of laws protecting the right to engage in religious and cultural practices; concepts of gender equality in international law; and feminist analyses of the ways in which gender, race, class, and other factors intersect with religion and culture to shape women's de jure and de facto rights, with an emphasis on analyses by women in developing countries and women of color in the United States. Students also look at concepts of cultural difference, race, and gender in approaches to the practice of female circumcision and the concept of moral consensus as a cultural construct underlying restrictions on lesbian and gay rights in the United States and Europe. Examples include Islamic law, Hindu law, customary law in selected African countries, Jewish law, and Christian law as reflected in Irish constitutional law and canon law as incorporated in various legal systems.

LAW 795Q: Human Rights and Environment - Earth Rights are those rights that reflect a combined focus on human rights and the environment, and recognize the inextricable nature of both the protection of, and harm to, human beings, communities and the planet. The intersection of human rights and the environment is a topical and rapidly evolving field, and an emerging framework for legal advocacy, education and activism. This course will examine historical trends, theoretical legal issues; examine local cases involving issues such as indigenous rights and environmental justice; and global legal and policy debates such as the link between climate change and human rights. In particular, the seminar will explore the increasing power of corporations in the global economy, the ways in which corporate activities (particularly by extractive industries) are often connected to abuses of human rights and the environment, and legal advances in the regulation of transnational corporate activity. Students will examine the linkages between the two fields, such as the political and civil rights of environmental activists, the close relationship of a clean environment to economic, social and cultural rights, and the emerging right to a healthy environment. They will emerge from this course with a coherent perspective on major events and trends involving development, corporate accountability, and the global justice movement, and the legal and advocacy strategies being used in various fora to address these trends. 

LAW 795U:Torture Prohibition in International Law-Course listed on WCL website

LAW 815: Feminist Jurisprudence- Feminist Jurisprudence will provide an opportunity to study the different strands of feminist theory. The course will examine the relationship of law to the experiences of women situated differently in the world; the relationship of sex and gender as reflected in and influenced by law; cultural images of women and men that both shape and are shaped by the law; and institutional and social structures and practices that perpetuate inequality or subordination. The course will also consider the interaction of feminist theories with other critical traditions, including Critical Race Theory, Social Theories of Power and Wealth, Cultural Studies, and Clinical Theory.

LAW 834: Public Health Law & Policy -Focuses on measures intended to protect or improve the health of populations or the community, as distinct from the health of particular individuals. Public health law raises issues of federalism, privacy and other individual rights, criminal law, First Amendment law (particularly the commercial speech doctrine), and takings law. Particular attention is given to difficult policy issues raised by HIV/AIDS, the tobacco industry, the use of illegal drugs, and the threat of bioterrorism. These issues of public policy and legal doctrine also provide an opportunity to look at several fundamental questions underlying our legal system, society, and culture. Among these are justifications for and dangers of laws intended to protect people from the consequences of certain activities that are dangerous to them; social and economic determinants of ill health, including inequality, racism, sexism, and homophobia; and relationships between moral values, science, and the law.

LAW 850: International Criminal Law – This course surveys both substantive and procedural aspects of international and transnational criminal law. It examines historical origins as well as contemporary trends in the development of international crimes. It identifies the elements of major offenses including piracy, slavery, drug trafficking, terrorism, war crimes, environmental pollution, money laundering, genocide, and aircraft hijacking and explores the incorporation of international criminal law in domestic codes. Students examine the jurisdictional and enforcement responsibilities of international, transnational, and national agencies and tribunals. The course also includes an overview of international and national enforcement mechanisms and techniques and of the procedures affecting the rights of offenders and victims.

LAW 852: Law of Non-Profit Organizations -This class introduces the regulation of nonprofit organizations from both the federal tax and state fiduciary regulatory standpoints. Students consider the major aspects of nonprofit regulation, including substantive law, and the major public policy controversies over the proper role of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations emerging today. The course generally follows the life-cycle of a small charitable nonprofit, treating topics such as creation of the entity, structuring the board of directors, and dealing with charitable contributions, as well as more advanced topics like engaging in political and commercial activities. This course is designed to be taken simultaneously with Leading and Counseling Nonprofit Organizations (LAW 795Z-001), although registration in both classes is not required.

LAW 923: Employment Discrimination: Case Model Approach- This course combines issues of employment discrimination (primarily Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and trial skills. The course is for students who are interested in learning about the disparate impact and treatment theories of Title VII liability and applying Title VII principles to a litigation setting.

LAW 927: Trafficking in Persons – This course examines the legal issues related to the trafficking of persons from an international and comparative perspective. Topics include forced labor, the exploitation of immigrant females for domestic services, the sale of children and irregular intercountry adoption, and the sale of wives legalized by transnational marriages. Students consider the international trafficking prohibitions of the various international conventions, analyze legislative texts of domestic trafficking laws of selected jurisdictions worldwide, and analyze the U.S. statutes prohibiting trafficking in human beings.

LAW 979: Women's Legal History-This course examines the history of women’s legal status and experiences in the United States from the colonial era to the 1970s. For each period, we will consider the legal status and experiences of women (including advocacy for reform of women’s legal status) with regard to citizenship, suffrage, education, marriage and divorce, domestic violence, rape, reproductive autonomy, parenthood, labor and employment, and property, as relevant. In addition, we will consider topics particular to each period, including prevalent ideologies and/or social movements. Finally, the course charts the history of women in legal education and the legal profession throughout this period. The course concludes with a research roundtable in which students explore issues in their research with colleagues by, inter alia, commenting on one another’s drafts.

LAW 980: Advanced International Law: Law & Peace Negotiations– This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the legal intricacies of peace negotiations, post-conflict constitutions, and war crimes prosecutions. The particular cases examined by students are constantly updated to ensure they are dealing with contemporary conflicts. Specific issues covered include ceasefires; human rights; refugee law; state structure; power sharing; fiscal devolution; demobilization and reintegration; reconciliation; international tribunals; peacekeeping; and self-determination.

LAW 985: Housing Law and Policy - The U.S. has many laws, regulations, and policies that lay out rights and responsibilities of housing providers, tenants and homeowners. Moreover, local, state and federal housing agencies exist to foster strong and inclusive communities and to provide access to adequate housing for all people. In spite of this, there is an ongoing housing crisis across the country. This housing law and policy seminar will provide law students with a greater understanding of our country's housing practices, with reading, activities and discussions focusing on critical analysis of current policies and new solutions.

LAW989: International Protection of Vulnerable Groups -The course will begin with an introduction to the concept of vulnerable groups: who they are, why they are considered “vulnerable,” and what their rights under International Human Rights Law are. We will appraise state and non-state actors’ responsibility vis-à-vis vulnerable groups. We will analyze in detail the tripartite typology of state obligations in the field of human rights and a framework detailing obligations of non-state actors. The first vulnerable group that we will examine will be children. To this aim, we will explore the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the mandate of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The examination of the practice of some regional human rights bodies that have enforced children’s rights will complete the overview of the protection of children under International Human Rights Law. Subsequently, the course will focus on the protection of people living with HIV/AIDS by analyzing Article 12 of the 1966 UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the practice of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. We will also tackle challenges of the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs), both under International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law, and the legal protection of disabled persons at the UN, African and European level. The course will conclude with an analysis of the human rights of the Roma Population and the protection afforded to the human rights of the poor and destitute by the South African Constitutional Court and the Indian Supreme Court.

LAW 993: Adoption Law- This course will examine the current legal regime governing both domestic and inter-country adoption. It will also delve into historical and current policy debates in the field, and explore how the current practice of domestic and intercountry adoption adheres to, and deviates from, the purposes of the laws and regulations applicable to the field. The course will also explore issues of human rights and children's rights, exploring whether current law protects the interests of the parties, and how adoption necessarily involves complex issues of class, race, gender and economic disparities. This course is practical and valuable for those who wish to practice family law, as well as those who serve populations of women that would consider placing children for adoption, and international populations that might be at risk of exploitation.

 

Related Human Rights Courses

Classes that incorporate human rights or social inequities into their subject matter, but are not based around a human rights framework.

LAW 605: Constitutional Law First Amendment Issues – This course examines the history and a contemporary interpretation of this amendment.

LAW 617: International Application of U.S. Environmental Law – This course examines the international aspects of U.S. environmental law. The intersection of U.S. and international environmental law has expanded dramatically in recent years with U.S. participation in a growing number of international environmental agreements and the ongoing integration of the world economy. The course emphasizes the practical aspects of counseling clients in this emerging area of law. Topics include the extraterritorial reach of U.S. environmental laws; international environmental litigation in U.S. courts; the implementation of environmental treaties; U.S. and international controls on the transboundary shipment of chemicals and hazardous waste; trade and the environment; and the environmental guidelines of the World Bank, Export-Import Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

LAW 618: International Environmental Law – This course takes a contemporary perspective on international environmental law focusing on specific environmental threats and the most recent manifestations of the law. The course includes case studies of actual investigations such as global warming and sea level rise; export and import of hazardous waste; the problem of "ghost" driftnets abandoned in the global commons of our marine environment; the endangered African elephant; continued whaling by Japan and Iceland; and the protection of the aboriginal Penan Tribe in Malaysia. Recent manifestations of international environmental law include the Declaration of The Hague and the proposal for a new organization to be known as GLOBE. Attention also is given to the considerable body of environmental law in the European Community, the general foundations of international law, and the relationship to human rights law and international trade law.

LAW 619: Comparative Law – This course explores various legal traditions (e.g., common law, civil law, traditional law, and religious law) through the identification of similarities and differences among them using inter alia, an approach that shows how common problems are solved in the practices of the legal cultures involved. Participants develop a general theoretical framework for comparison and a better understanding of their own legal culture.

LAW 635: National Security Law in an Age of Terrorism – This course examines theoretical approaches to national and international security from the perspectives of peace studies, international relations, and international law with an in-depth focus on the international law of conflict management, including norms of permissible and impermissible use of force; the law of war; international organizations such as the UN, the OAS, and NATO; arms control; norms for control of terrorism; the Nuremberg principles; and mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes. The course briefly surveys intelligence and counter-intelligence law, national security and the First and Fourth Amendments, the War Powers Act, and the national security decision structure.

LAW 637: Domestic Violence Law – This course explores historical, anthropological, sociological, psychological, and legal aspects of battering. Topics include criminal law and process, family law, and alternative dispute resolution. It considers the historical, social, and cross-cultural context of domestic violence; social and legal reform efforts on behalf of battered women; battered women who kill their batterers; and theory and practice regarding battered women.

LAW 638: Juvenile Law: Children's Legal Rights – This course examines legal problems faced by children within the family, in foster care, in school, and in the criminal justice system. The class considers legal issues such as formation of the family relationship, disintegration of the family through separation or divorce, propriety of state intervention in medical decision making affecting the child, authority of the state to remove a child from the home in cases of abuse and neglect, the state's response to a child's poverty or homelessness, the school's control over a student's freedom of expression, the school's obligation to offer the child an adequate education, and whether the death penalty should be applied to juveniles.

LAW 640: Health Law – This course begins by examining basic assumptions about the fields of health care financing and delivery. The course then focuses on the four major pillars of health law: access, financing, quality, and personhood. In the area of access, topics include statutory and common law obligations of health care providers to render care and civil rights issues within the health care arena. In financing, topics include private insurance, government programs to finance care for specific populations, and efforts to control costs within public and private systems. In the field of quality, topics include definitions of quality, systems of measurement, informed consent and standards of care, and regulatory versus free-market approaches. Topics related to personhood include rationing of services and ethical decisions. The course concludes with an examination of health reform models.

LAW 641: Federal Law on Indian Tribes – This course analyzes and challenges assumptions underlying the major themes in Indian law: that Indian tribes are not juridical entities in international law because their sovereignty is dependent on the United States government; that Indian tribal people have a ward-guardian relationship with the government arising from this dependent status; and that Indian tribal property is justifiably treated differently from other property. In addition to sources of federal law dealing with Indians, the class examines tribal court opinions and the developing international law regarding rights of indigenous peoples.

LAW 655: Immigration & Naturalization Law – This course explores the U.S. immigration system; numerical limitations and exceptions; preference immigrants; labor certifications; temporary workers; treaty investors; business visitors; foreign students; exchange aliens; visa procedures; documents; exclusion and deportation; pardons; judicial recommendations against deportations; waivers; adjustment of status to permanent resident; U.S. citizenship through parents; naturalizations; and loss of citizenship.

LAW 662: International Organizations: The Changing Global Landscape – This course examines regional and worldwide structures concerned with political, economic, social, and functional objectives; their impact on developed and less-developed countries; and their potential for promoting social and economic progress. Selected international organizations are studied in depth.

LAW 665: Employment and Labor Law: Workers and the Law – This course focuses on employee rights and the implications both within and beyond the workplace of recognizing or not recognizing those rights. The course begins with a consideration of unjust dismissal, concentrating on its quasi-tort dimensions, with some special attention to whistleblower protections. Students then consider basic Title VII doctrine, emphasizing theories of actionability; harassment, emphasizing conceptions of wrong and employer responsibility; workers compensation, emphasizing differences from and relationship to tort law; and the National Labor Relations Act, emphasizing organizational rights, penalties, and legal and illegal economic pressure from employer and employee sides.

LAW 923: Employment Discrimination: A Case Model Approach – This course surveys the major federal statutes prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, with special emphasis on practical problems encountered in litigation. The primary focus is on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and race discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of age, sex, national origin, or handicap are also considered. Topics include statutory scope and coverage, establishing liability, defenses, remedies, affirmative action, and enforcement procedures.

LAW 669: Worker Rights in the Global Economy – This course touches upon themes in trade theory, development theory, human rights, labor rights, and other fields. The field of global worker rights is newly emerging, multifaceted, and rapidly changing. Its essential rationale is that worker rights constitute an increasingly prominent problem in the evolving global economy. Topics include trade policy and development strategies as they relate to worker interests; the NAFTA labor agreement; international, humanitarian, and worker rights; labor standards in U.S. trade law; protections for women, child, and migrant workers; the World Bank, IMF, and worker rights; corporate codes of conduct; and Europe's Social Charter.

LAW 676: Gender and the Law – This course provides an introduction to how concepts of sex and gender interact with the law in the United States and internationally. Students focus on how feminist movements and anti-feminist forces use law to challenge or reinforce gender norms. In each class, students examine examples of legal mechanisms (such as civil litigation, criminal prosecution, legislation, and international instruments) that enable or constrain the ability of women to participate in the labor force; make choices about reproduction, health, and family life; protect themselves from violence; care for their families; access such resources as land and wealth; obtain political power; and agitate for change.

LAW 681: International Wildlife and Biodiversity – This course considers the fate of the world's wildlife and biological heritage, from whales and bacteria to rain forests and coral reefs. This course surveys the most important international agreements on the protection of species, habitats, and ecosystems, such as the new Convention on Biological Diversity. It reviews the international implications of selected domestic laws, which are examined within their scientific, economic, political, and cultural contexts. Students also explore the relationship these laws have to other fields of law, including human rights, indigenous peoples' rights, trade, and intellectual property.

LAW 683: Media Law – This course examines the relationship between the news media and the law, including the First Amendment and a variety of federal and state statutes. Topics include libel and a number of related privacy torts; a broad array of issues related to news gathering; prior restraints; business regulation of the news media; and other timely problems.

LAW 690: Education Law – This course examines elementary and secondary education. The initial focus is the power of the state to compel a child to attend school and the constitutional and statutory framework within which the state regulates schooling. The course examines the educational opportunities an individual is entitled to receive from the state as embodied in federal and state constitutions and statutes. Concepts of equal education opportunity; equal resources; equal treatment regardless of race, sex, or handicap; and equal outcomes are analyzed. Uses and misuses of social science research in shaping legal outcomes also are examined.

LAW 691: Sex Based Discrimination – This course explores the application of the Constitution, Title VII, Title IX, and the Equal Pay Act to discrimination against men and women, as well as historic, social, economic, and psychological factors.

LAW 708: Race, Crime, & Politics – This course examines the historical development and practical impact of race and politics on the criminal justice system from initial street encounters with the police to the imposition of the death penalty. Selected case profiles, in-depth documentaries, and other materials are used to explore the problems of wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice. Students discuss and evaluate a variety of legislative and judicial reforms designed to eliminate and remedy the problems of racism in the criminal justice system.

LAW 713: Political Crime and Terrorism – This course explores political crimes and terrorism, including treason, sedition, espionage, political dissent, civil disobedience, draft resistance, and political struggles of Native Americans, labor, and women; the socio-psychological profile of the political offender; causes of political crime; governmental measures for the suppression of political crime and subversion, including surveillance, wiretapping, deportation, extradition, outlawing of political parties, detention camps, loyalty oaths, and conspiracy trials; and comparative and international aspects of political crime and terrorism.

LAW 750: Special Education Law- This course teaches how to resolve disputes arising under the individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) through mediation and due process procedures. Current issues in special education law are analyzed. These include the definition of an appropriate education and the concept of least restrictive environment (LRE).

LAW 756: Disability Rights Clinic Seminar – This seminar course focuses on current issues in disability law, including the rights of people with physical and/or mental disabilities. The course refers from time to time to related developments that have occurred in areas of race, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination. The course traces the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in 1990, up until the most recent amendment to the ADA that Congress passed in September 2008, which overturned and clarified some of the judicial interpretations of the ADA that it believed were at variance with congressional intent. It also looks at the statutory development in disability law through such legislation as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (1998) requiring federal agencies to make their web sites accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, this course follows the coming of age of disability law in other countries and at the regional and international law. 

LAW 723: Current Issues of International Organizations – This course focuses on selected legal issues confronting international organizations, particularly the United Nations and regional agencies under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. It investigates a number of contemporary problems, including the rights and obligations of membership; privileges and immunities; peace and security questions (including the question of the use of force and of self-defense, dispute settlement methods, and enforcement techniques); the structural and procedural difficulties impeding the work of the United Nations; the work of the International Court of Justice and the role of international organizations regarding the protection of the rights of individuals.

LAW 764: Disability Rights Clinic- Course listed on WCL website.

LAW 795R: Juvenile Justice- This course offers an opportunity to examine laws, policies and practices that impact youth charged with crimes in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Participants will explore contemporary issues addressed by attorneys and advocates protecting the rights of youth in these systems. Topics will include racial and ethnic disparities, conditions of confinement, efforts to reduce unnecessary use of incarceration, gender-specific needs, experience of LGBTQI youth, school to prison pipeline, transfer of youth to adult court and right to counsel.

LAW 795S: Mental Disability & The Law - This two-credit upper-level seminar will focus on current civil and criminal issues impacting the rights of individuals with mental disabilities, particularly psychological disabilities (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, ect). In the civil context, we will examine: involuntary civil commitment law, the right to obtain and refuse treatment within institutions, the right to sexual interaction within institutions, the right to receive care in the community, and the right to be free from discrimination. In the criminal context, we will examine: the historical roots and standards of criminal competency to stand trial and the insanity defense, as well as the criminal trial process for individuals with mental disabilities, including self-incrimination, confessions and the death penalty.

LAW 827: Sexuality & the Law – This seminar focuses on the government’s regulation of sexuality, including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The course materials cover constitutional law (including the doctrines of privacy, equal protection, freedom of expression and freedom of association) and statutory law (including employment law and family law). Topics covered may include the right to sexual privacy; theories of sexuality; military policies that discriminate based on sex and sexual orientation; government censorship of sexually explicit art; discrimination by private entities, primarily employers, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression; and state control of family relationships, including marriage, custody and adoption. The course also explores the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

LAW 893: Global Public Interest Practice – This course examines the history and growth of public interest law practice from its early days in the United States to contemporary models, both in the developed global north and the developing global south. The course looks at such types of public interest lawyering as charitable lawyering, movement lawyering, resistance lawyering, rights-based lawyering, and emancipatory lawyering. It also encompasses a wide range of lawyering activities for social change, including legal aid, movement advocacy, public defense, impact litigation, human rights advocacy, pro bono lawyering, cause lawyering, and other kinds of legal action that share a common commitment to justice for those who would not otherwise have access to the legal system. The course explores the ways in which these various approaches to legal practice share common values, and the ways in which those values sometimes come into conflict. It also provides practical insights into the strategies and tactics of public interest law practice for those who are interested in careers in that field or in volunteer efforts through pro bono activities. 


LAW 960: Military Justice – This course explores the nature and function of military justice today. Topics examined include the constitutional rights of military personnel; court-martial jurisdiction and offenses; trial and appellate structure and procedure; collateral review; the roles of commanders, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the president; command influence; the role of custom; punishment; and the correctional system. Current issues, such as those involving military commissions, command accountability, military justice on the battlefield, judicial independence, homosexuality, adultery, and fraternization, are addressed. Throughout the course students consider whether and how the military justice system can be improved. Using comparative law materials, they also consider what, if anything, can be learned from the experiences of other countries.

LAW 987: Gender, Inequality, & the State – This seminar examines gender, inequality and social policy in the United States. It also examines the feminization of poverty, as well as how the welfare bureaucracy, tax policy, the health care system and other government programs reinforce gender, class and racial inequality. The course discusses in detail some of the significant public policies and social welfare programs that affect the lives of women and their families, including welfare, job training, unemployment, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, health insurance, child protective services, taxes, credit, housing, food stamps, and community economic development. The course emphasizes the role that public interest lawyers, pro bono attorneys, government policy makers and advocates can play in shaping responses to the challenges faced by low and middle income families in the current economic crisis.