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Law Courses Catalog

Legal Regulation of the Political Process

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2016-2017

Description: This course analyzes the legal regulation of the American political system. The class will concentrate on two issues: first, the equal protection concept of “One Person, One Vote” within the context of partisan and racial gerrymandering, as well as the Voting Rights Act; second, federal campaign finance regulation. Additional topics will include the constitutional rights of political parties and the law relating to ballot propositions. The class is both descriptive, in that we will discuss current legislation and case law, as well as normative, in that we also will discuss what the law in these areas should be. The class will have an interdisciplinary flavor, as it will include a few upperclass political science students.

Final:  Unscheduled final, worth 100% of grade.  HOWEVER,

Class participation:  I reserve the right to adjust the final class grade for any student either up one grade (e.g., B to B+) or down one grade (e.g., B- to C+) depending on class participation. Exceptions are made for either extremely strong or deficient participation, respectively. When evaluating class participation, the following rules are used:

  A.  You must have completed the assigned readings prior to their respective lecture so as to be ready for class discussion.

B.  I “cold call.”  If you are unprepared, your class participation grade may be affected.

C.  Each student gets three “free passes” for the course.  If you are not prepared, give me one of your passes at the beginning of class prior to discussion and you will not be called on.

D.  Attendance is expected of all students, and I randomly take attendance throughout the semester.  An absence counts as using a free pass.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

Description: This course analyzes the legal regulation of the American political system. The class will concentrate on two issues: first, the equal protection concept of “One Person, One Vote” within the context of partisan and racial gerrymandering, as well as the Voting Rights Act; second, federal campaign finance regulation. Additional topics will include the constitutional rights of political parties and the law relating to ballot propositions. The class is both descriptive, in that we will discuss current legislation and case law, as well as normative, in that we also will discuss what the law in these areas should be. The class will have an interdisciplinary flavor, as it will include a few upperclass political science students. The class will be evaluated as follows - by final exam 90% and class participation 10%.