Section Description Provided by Instructor
Nearly every significant policy issue addressed by the President and his advisors implicates questions of administrative law. During rule-making by federal agencies, and in defending lawsuits filed against the federal government, decision-making in the White House necessarily involves substantial consideration of administrative law.
This seminar addresses major policy issues that have arisen in the last several years including racial profiling by airline screeners, federal funding for stem cell research, "roadless rule" protections for national forests, regulation of carbon dioxide by the EPA, federal policy on same-sex marriages, legal protections for enemy combatants, restrictions on off-shore oil and gas drilling, and federal preemption of state failure-to-warn cases by the FDA. The seminar will begin with a few introductory sessions: on the structure and operation of the White House, with particular focus on the varied legal units that advise the President, and on the scope of presidential rulemaking, regulatory authority, and separation of powers. Each of the next several sessions will focus on a different public policy debate, highlighting the relevant legal (and non-legal) issues that the President and his advisors had to consider in making a final decision. Students will review and consider a range of statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions as they consider the different factors that the President had to address in making his decisions.
For the remainder of the semester, students will each select one public policy issue that has not been discussed. Students will research the issue and assume the roles of Presidential legal advisors in drafting short briefing papers and making in-class presentations arguing their position. Possible topics include but are not limited to CIA interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, NSA terrorist surveillance program, immigration policy, mountaintop removal mining ban, same-sex marriage, FCC spectrum allocation, executive bonus tax, the military's don't ask/don't tell policy, ROTC on campus, FCC cable TV regulation and FDA tobacco regulation. Students will also be encouraged to select topics that are presently the subject of consideration and debate within the Obama Administration.
W 4:20 –6:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (automatic), Major (only upon consultation)
Learning Outcome Goals
No learning outcome goals have been provided.