Law and the American Political Process (LAW-680-001)
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This three-unit seminar examines some of the basic structures and processes of the American legal system, with a focus on the evolving tensions and interactions among the three branches of government and the outside influences affecting them, including the media (traditional and social), public opinion polling, advocacy groups, lobbyists, and think tanks. The class will explore the nexus between politics and the law, with a focus on the policies that result from this complex interaction. We will examine contemporary issues of great importance to the country and see how the effort to legislate in response to social and legal questions often results in unintended consequences that invite further legislation and reform.
The class places great value on each student’s written and oral communications, engagement, and sophistication of analysis. No spectators; you will be graded on these elements, and will be required to write a five page paper and complete a take-home final exam. We will benefit from many diverse professionals in the Washington policy and media communities, and place a special emphasis on the 2016 campaigns and elections, emphasizing the political issues at stake for government and the citizenry.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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