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November 3, 2011 Dear Prospective Students in Legislative Process and Political Rhetoric: I’m delighted you’re looking into this Seminar! I strongly encourage all students in my spring Legislative Process and Political Rhetoric to find externships in the legislative arena. Students in the past have found this to be a great experience and one that definitely increases appreciation of the course material and enriches our class discussions. It has also led directly to jobs for several graduates. There are three places where students have worked in the past: 1. The Maryland General Assembly. This is an excellent place to work because the entire 90-day Session takes place within the spring Semester, which means that you will get to see literally hundreds of bills introduced, heard, debated, marked up, amended, voted up or down in committee, go to the floor for final passage, cross over to the other chamber, go to conference, and either be enacted or defeated, and signed into law—all before final exams! You will work for either me or another State Senator or a Delegate or a committee, like the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and I make sure that the placement is a good one and have several colleagues eager for a WCL extern. Students have generally loved this Externship, and there will be a number of hot topics this session, including marriage equality, a gas tax increase, and repeal of the death penalty. The only down-side is that it is an hour from school so you need a car or another way to travel back and forth. The General Assembly provides a stipend of $600 for the semester to cover travel and incidental costs. 2. Capitol Hill. Some students have loved working on Capitol Hill, especially for committee staffs, while others have been disappointed. As you know, there is not a lot of legislative progress being made right now in Washington and the Spring Semester will be in the heart of the primary election season, making it even less likely that significant legislation will pass or even be worked on. On the other hand, you will get to see the inner dynamics of a House or Senate office or committee and--depending on the placement--may get to participate in very interesting projects. Externships on the Hill have led to jobs. 3. Council of the District of Columbia. Several students have worked there in the past and enjoyed it a lot. It is a year-round institution so you don’t get the kind of compressed legislative activity that you would find in Maryland, but if you live in DC and care about it, this is a great way to get to know the city better while you are learning the mechanics of legislative process and the strange nature of the D.C.-federal relationship. Please come to a luncheon meeting at 12:15 in Room 515 on Tuesday, November 15 to discuss externship possibilities. RSVP to Diana Sawyer at email@example.com if you plan to come. And feel free to email me at Raskin@wcl.american.edu. Hope to see you there! yours, Jamie Raskin ps I will also distribute a copy of the syllabus so you can see what we’re studying.
Provides an overview of federal and state legislative processes. Topics include statutory interpretation, legislative organization, the appropriations process, legislative ethics, and exercises in legislative drafting and negotiation.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
Not available at this time.