Course Description

470.617 - The Courts and Public Policy

Americans traditionally have viewed the courts as-in the words of a constitutional scholar-"the least dangerous branch of government." They are seen as reflectors, not agents, of change. But in an age of government downsizing, the role of the courts bears renewed examination. Students explore the historical and philosophical roots for the notion that American courts, and whether the lawyers who appear before them, can and should make law and policy, and the alternatives to this function. Students consider prominent areas of public policy that have been shaped by the courts, such as civil rights, family and domestic law, environmental and safety regulation, and the regulation of business and commerce. This course counts towards the Legal Studies Concentration.