Ethical Challnges for Governmnt Attys (LAW-876-001)
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Historical and contemporary exploration of development and application of ethical standards for government attorneys, from Watergate (1972+) to Torture (2004+) to Drones (2008+). Using cases involving Presidents Nixon, Clinton, Bush and Obama, VP Agnew, Deputy AG’s Kleindienst & Comey, Congressional members & staff, Judges & Justices, other high Cabinet Department officials and line lawyers, we will study the ethical issues and attorneys’ role in both articulating legal standards and assisting in policy creation. The Seminar examines the effectiveness -- and impact on public confidence -- of existing ethical constraints on government lawyers, and surveys available guidance and remedies from state & national bar rules, federal rules, regulations, statutes, Congressional ethics processes, Office of Government Ethics, Inspectors General, DOJ Professional Responsibility Offices, Judicial Conference, Circuit Councils, and international agencies.
Purpose and Objectives: To introduce students considering becoming government lawyers to both the formal and practical ethical environments surrounding their professional work. Classes will include background readings, discussions from a variety of perspectives, including class conversations with actual players in cases with serious ethical issues, and examinations of sometimes startling primary case materials underlying noteworthy ethics cases. A major part of the learning process will be role-playing exercises and simulated proceedings relating to difficult ethical cases, and in-class analysis of assigned issues and questions by individual students or student teams.
Credit Hours: 3. Class will meet at 6 PM Wednesdays. All students will participate in a variety of supervised and critiqued practical skills activities, including class presentations, role play exercises, student introductions and questioning of guest speakers, and other special written and oral projects. All students will propose and submit a substantial term paper on a subject within the scope of the seminar, and eligible students may fulfill their Upper Level Writing Requirement by writing, under faculty supervision, a paper of at least 30 pages. Student assessments will be based on class preparation, participation and performance, as well as the term paper, and scheduled individual or small-group meetings with the Professor.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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The preliminary syllabus for the Seminar is linked to the course website. No textbook purchases are required.
First Class Readings
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