Spring 2016 Course Schedule

LegisltvPrcss&PolitRhetoric (LAW-821B-001)
Raskin, Blattner

Meets: 09:00 AM - 10:50 AM (M) - Capital - Room C217

Enrolled: 9 / Limit: 25

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Legislative Process and Political Rhetoric Seminar
Professor Jamie Raskin and Professor Jeff Blattner

Law school education tends to be organized around the image of a lawyer arguing before a judge.  But what if we replaced this image with a lawyer organizing a protest movement, running for office, making a speech, drafting legislation, or casting a vote in Congress?

The subject of this Class is the dynamic interaction of democratic process, individual leadership, political rhetoric, legislative institutions, the Constitution and the law governing elections.  It is organized around a series of problems and inquiries designed to develop and sharpen your skills as a lawyer engaged in public things and as an effective political organizer, leader or legislator if you choose to follow a path of public service.   

The Class has two parts.  The first examines the politics of law: the legislative process and the complex dialectics of social movement, personal leadership and public rhetoric that interact with that process to bring, or stifle, political change in America.     The second reverses the focus and examines the law of politics, specifically significant historical and contemporary problems in the arrangement of American political democracy, elections and citizenship.  The constant factor in our deliberations is the inextricable relationship between law and politics.

There will be between 50 and 100 pages of reading on average per week; please do your readings thoroughly in advance.  Most of the readings are available on-line through our class site.  Others are available through the hyperlinks contained in this syllabus.

Students should prepare to answer the most important problems and questions raised in the syllabus and by the readings; on many class days, we ask you to prepare with a partner or to deliver a written response.   We will occasionally bring guests to class who will speak about their work as legislative lawyers or public officials. 

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

First Class Readings

For the first class, please do all of the readings for Class 1 on the syllabus. We’ll see you on Monday, January 11.


Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):