Legal Studies Courses Spring 2024

R1B.1: Topic TBD, Laura Ramirez, 4 units, Area N/A   

NOTE: R1B courses must be taken for a letter grade.
**This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.**

Description TBD  

39D: Current Political & Moral Conflicts & the Constitution Frosh/Soph Seminar, Pomerantz, 2 units, Area N/A

**This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.**

Recent Supreme Court decisions have addressed and modified numerous rights and liberties once thought to be protected by the Constitution. People differ on the effect of these decisions, which is fundamentally a debate regarding the basis for the Court to entertain and decide them, and what should be the role of the Court. Some have argued that the Court’s role includes finding and protecting fundamental, constitutional rights based on an evolving understanding of the meaning of individual freedom, liberty and equality. Others argue that the role of the Court is to apply the Constitution as written, and where the Constitution is silent, or "neutral," the resolution of any dispute or the extent of protection from governmental abridgment should be left to the people and their democratically elected representatives. This seminar will examine the role of the Supreme Court and the conflict between fundamental, individual, constitutional rights that should be immune from governmental interference, and the power of the people - the majority- to limit, modify and (perhaps) extinguish them. Topics we will address include individual sovereignty including abortion, LGBTQ+ rights (including marriage equality and gender identity), privacy and morality; the issues caused by acts of the secular government mandating equal treatment that abridged the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech- and what is speech; and limitations on expressions and opinions including "hate” speech and college speech codes. The class will be conducted primarily using the Socratic method. We will read important historical and current Supreme Court cases, as well as political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum. The prime focus of the seminar is to encourage students to develop and defend their own views and opinions regarding the relevant topics and to enhance their critical thinking skills.

100: Foundations of Legal Studies, Kyle Deland, 4 units, Core (H, SS)

This is a liberal arts course designed to introduce students to the foundational frameworks and cross-disciplinary perspectives from humanities and social sciences that distinguish legal studies as a scholarly field. It provides a comparative and historical intro to forms, ideas, institutions, and systems of law and sociological ordering. It highlights basic theoretical problems and scholarly methods for understanding questions of law and justice.

103: Theories of Law & Society, Tomlins, 4 units, Core (H, SS) or Area II

Surveys leading attempts to construct social theories of law and to use legal materials for systematic social theorizing, during the period from the mid-eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. The course considers major discussions of such themes as the relationships between law, politics, society and economy; the connection between historical change and legal change; the role of law in the processes of social integration and social discipline; and the distinctive elements of legal ordering in the modern west.

106:  Philosophy of Law, Kutz, 4 units, Area IV or V

This course explores philosophical themes bearing on the nature of the law and its relationship to morality: e.g., What is law—does its claim rest only on social processes or does law necessarily embody moral claims? Do we have an obligation to obey the law? What are the moral limits of legal punishment? The course will sharpen students’ skills in practical reasoning through the analysis of logical argument. The materials consist of readings from the assigned text and additional readings available on bCourses. The format will be a combination of lecture and classroom discussion, with a substantial number of ungraded group debates and simulations.

106WI:  Writing Intensive Discussion Section 101 for Philosophy of Law

This is one of the discussion sections for LS106. It is a writing intensive discussion section. LS106WI section differs from the other sections for LS106 in that it is more demanding, and will serve as a forum for intense and iterative development of analytical writing and speaking skills. The purpose of this Writing Intensive discussion section is to spend extra time working together to practice all stages of the writing process, including drafting, revising, and editing. Through additional writing assignments, workshops of your ideas and paper drafts, and structured in-section debates, you will confront not only the course materials but also yourself as thinker. You will be asked to offer reflections on the readings, on your own writing, and on your classmates’ writing. The aim of these exercises will be to develop your ability to articulate clear and compelling arguments—both in your own writing and speech, and in providing feedback to others.

One additional Legalst 199 independent study unit will be available to students in the section. 

The lecture component of the two courses is identical (same room, same time, same lectures). Only this LS106WI section differs. You should enroll in LS106WI if, and only if, you are willing to put in extra work (and reap corresponding benefits) in this course to develop your writing and speaking. Seats are limited and enrolment will be by application to the instructor. 

Students, after applying and being chosen by Prof. Kutz (see below), will be enrolled into LS 106WI and one unit of LS 199 and attend the same lecture as those enrolled in LS106.

Application instructions: Students interested in enrolling in LS106WI should send the instructor, Professor Kutz,, a short paragraph describing their interest in the course and in the writing-intensive section.  Please also submit a sample piece of essay/paper writing you have done in college (6 pages maximum length).  It does not need to have been graded.

109: Aims & Limits of Criminal Law, Perry, 4 units, Area I

This course focuses on the analysis of the capacity of criminal law to fulfill its aims. What are the aims of criminal Law? How are they assigned relative priority? What principles can be identified for evaluating the effort to control disapproved activities through criminal law?

123: Data, Prediction & Law, Marshall, 4 units, Area I or V

Data, Prediction, and Law allows students to explore different data sources that scholars and government officials use to make generalizations and predictions in the realm of law. The course will also introduce critiques of predictive techniques in law. Students will apply the statistical and Python programming skills from Foundations of Data Science to examine a traditional social science dataset, “big data” related to law, and legal text data.
***Note: students should complete Foundations of Data Science, or complete equivalent preparation in Python and statistics, before enrolling in this course.

131:  Forced Migration, Tilman Jacobs, 4 units, Area IV, V
This course will introduce you to key concepts, issues, and legal frameworks around forced migration from legal, sociological, and normative perspectives. Using historical and contemporary examples, interdisciplinary scholarship, legal cases, media depictions of forced migration, and the voices of persons experiencing displacement, we will critically examine narratives about and responses to population displacement in international and domestic contexts.

In the past century, increasing numbers of people around the world have been forced from their homes by interlinked factors, including persecution, armed conflict, human rights violations, natural disasters, development, and socio-economic deprivation. Are states obligated to provide protection to these “forced
migrants” and, if so, what exactly are they obligated to do and are there any limits? Forced migration places into sharp relief the question of how to balance the rights of sovereign states and their citizens against the claims of foreigners in need of support and safety. In 1951, the enactment of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees ushered in a new era of international protection for refugees, and, together with a constellation of other treaties formed what is known as the “International Refugee Protection Regime.” With the number of refugees, internally displaced persons, and other forced migrants worldwide reaching over 100 million for the first time in the post-World War II era, the international refugee protection regime is proving inadequate to protect the rights of displaced people. With the exception of the recent response to refugees from Ukraine, states are increasingly exercising their sovereignty to close their borders and detain or deport forced migrants, rather than offer them protection. This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts, narratives, and legal frameworks around the phenomenon of forced migration. We will critically examine legal and policy responses to population displacement in the international and domestic spheres, and explore some important aspects of forced migration, through both topical and geopolitical lenses.

132AC: Immigration and Citizenship, Instructor TBD, 4 units, Area II or IV   

We often hear that America is a “nation of immigrants.” This representation of the U.S. does not explain why some are presumed to belong and others are not. We will examine both historical and contemporary law of immigration and citizenship to see how law has shaped national identity and the identity of immigrant communities . In addition to scholarly texts, we will learn to read and analyze excerpts of cases and the statute that governs immigration and citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

******CANCELLED******135: Law, Judicial Politics, and Rights in Latin America, Monica Castillejos-Aragon, 4 units, Area IV or V ******CANCELLED******

This course introduces the study of comparative constitutional law in Latin America and will prepare students to acquire substantial training on the existing legal traditions in the world: the common law and the civil law systems.
We will study how political, social, and historical dynamics shape the work of state actors, such as the executive, legislative, judicial powers, as well as the legal profession, and civil society groups to mobilize legal and social change.  ******CANCELLED******

138:  The Supreme Court & Public Policy, Kyle Deland,  4 units, Core (SS) or Area IV or V

This course examines a number of leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions in terms of what policy alternatives were available to the Court and which ones it chose. Prospective costs and benefits of these alternatives and who will pay the costs and who gets the benefits of them are considered. Among the areas considered are economic development, government regulation of business, national security, freedom of speech and discrimination. Readings are solely of Supreme Court decisions.

147: Law & Economics II, Bruno Meyehof Salama, 4 units, Area III

Microeconomic theory will be applied to government and regulation. Topics include the economic analysis of constitutional law, administrative law, regulation, corporations, and environmental law.  To illustrate, the behavior of legislators who want to maximize the votes that they receive will be described and predicted.  Similarly, the behavior of regulatory agencies who seek to maximize their own budgets will be predicted. The best forms of regulation will be identified assuming that parties subject to it minimize the cost of compliance, as when corporations try to satisfy environmental controls at least cost.  Law &  Economics I (LS 145) is not a prerequisite.

154: Human Rights Research & Practice, Koenig/Stover/Rohini Haar, 4 units, Area IV

This course provides an overview of international human rights, including the field’s historical and theoretical foundations; the jurisprudence of international human rights; empirical insights from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, history, and anthropology; and emerging trends in human rights practice.

158: Law and Development, Bruno Meyehof Salama, 4 units, Area III or IV

Focusing on developing countries, this course considers the relationship between legal institutions and rules – including informal and traditional ones – and develpment – defined by different actors by economic growth, education, health, or a wide spectrum of freedoms. It examines efforts by national leaders, international organizations, foreign aid agencies, and NGOs to “reform” law to promote development , along with the resistance and unplanned consequences that often ensue.

160: Punishment, Culture, & Society, Jonathan Simon, 4 units, Core (H,SS) or Area I or II

This course surveys the development of Western penal practices, institutions, and ideas (what David Garland calls “penality”) from the eighteenth-century period to the present. Our primary focus will be on penal practices and discourses in United States in the early 21st century. In particular we will examine the extraordinary growth of US penal sanctions in the last quarter century and the sources and consequences of what some have called “mass imprisonment.” To gain some comparative perspective the course will also take up contemporary penality (or penalities) in Europe, South Africa, Central America, and Asia, as well as US penality and society at some earlier conjunctures.
In our analysis of penality, we will draw upon a range of social science theories with general relevance but with particularly rich application to the study of punishment. These theories provide the “tool kits” we will use to interpret and analyze multiplex implications of punishment and its relationship to changes in economic, social, and political relations associated with modernization and more recently the globalization of modern capitalism. The course will examine many examples of penal practices and the ideas associated with them including mass imprisonment, the death penalty, and restorative justice. In the last portion of the class we will examine the recent crisis in California’s juvenile prisons through the lenses both of different social theories and the examples of different national and historical penal patterns.

161: Law in Chinese Society, Kristin Sangren, 4 units, Area II

This course examines the legal system of China, from its cultural basis to the implications for modernization and China’s participation in the international community. Philosophy, drama, and art will be used to understand the culture and major historical periods which influenced China’s legal traditions and key concepts. The 20th century will be reviewed in some detail, including the Republic both on the mainland and on Taiwan, and the People’s Republic in both the Maoist and current eras, leading to examination of current legal practices in both Taiwan and mainland China.

165:  Truth, Justice & Reconciliation, Julie Shackford-Bradley, 4 units, Area Area I or IV

How do people and communities envision and enact justice in response to state-sponsored and state-sanctioned violence? How have TRCs (Truth and Reconciliation Commissions) and analogous approaches taken shape in the United States, in response to state-sponsored violence, including “legal violence”? With South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a foundational model, this course will examine an array of community- based strategies for surfacing truths about historical harms, pursuing accountability through apologies and reparations, and restoring relationships, communities, artefacts, and lands. We will also address the many challenges that arise in establishing official commissions, reaching out to communities, and following through with recommendations, especially when working with the same governmental and political structures that perpetrated or enabled the violence, and when the violence is ongoing. The course will “think globally and act locally” by presenting examples of TRCs around the world and in the US, and engaging students in research on the possibilities of TRC approaches for the Berkeley campus and Bay Area.

174: Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel, Masua Sagiv, 4 units, Area IV or V

The seminar will provide an introduction to the comparative study of constitutional law through the lens of Israeli constitutional jurisprudence – a jurisprudence built explicitly on the foundations of a variety of other constitutional systems, reflecting the diversity of approaches to constitutionalism. Through this comparative framework students will learn basic constitutional theory as well as explore some of the major constitutional debates in Israeli contemporary law. The constitutional theory part of the course will discuss the formation of Israeli constitution in comparison with the structure of other constitutions such as the U.S. Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This framework will introduce the central notions of constitutionalism – the ideas that that constitutions can (and should) limit government; the role of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing the constitution; and the importance of constitutional rights. Among the constitutional debates that the class will explore are topics such as freedom of expression and freedom of association, equality, the right of human dignity, due process, social rights, freedom of occupation, freedom of religion etc. These topics will also be looked at from a comparative perspective drawing upon different constitutional regimes such as the Canadian Charter and the constitution of South Africa.

184: Sociology of Law, Kristin Sangren, 4 units, Core (SS) or Area IV

This introductory course explores major issues and debates in the sociology of law. Topics include theoretical perspectives on the relationship between law and society, theories of why people obey (and disobey) the law, the relationship between law and social norms, the “law in action” in litigation and dispute resolution, the roles of lawyers, judges, and juries in the legal system and in society, and the role of law in social change. The course will examine these issues from an empirical perspective.

190.1: Liberty, Equality, Privilege & the Constitution, Alan Pomerantz, 4 units, Area IV

The course will examine current Supreme Court decisions that address the conflict between individual liberty and governmental mandated equality as informed by privilege. Specifically, recent Supreme Court decisions have addressed and modified numerous rights and liberties once thought to be protected by the Constitution, based on the Court’s current reasoning that when the Constitution is silent, or "neutral," the extent of protection from governmental abridgment of personal liberty and individual sovereignty should be left to the people and their democratically elected representatives. Recent topics have included woman’s equality including abortion; LGBTQ+ rights including marriage equality and gender identity; the conflict between privacy and collective morality; religious exercise and state sponsorship of religious institutions; speech and expression; racial profiling; affirmative action; and voting. The class will be conducted primarily using the Socratic method. We will read important historical and current Supreme Court cases, as well as political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum. The prime focus of the seminar is to encourage students to develop and defend their own views and opinions regarding the relevant topics and to enhance their critical thinking skills.

190.2:  Comparative Constitutional Law, Shapiro, 4 units, Area V
An examination of constitutional decision making in a number of countries based on selected high court opinions.

190.3:  Feminist Social Movements, Abrams, 4 units, Area IV 

This course will survey recurrent dynamics of feminist social movements in the United States, while exploring in depth two contemporary social movements with ostensibly feminist agendas: the #MeToo Movement, and the movement to restore reproductive rights and advance reproductive justice after Dobbs. The course will begin with a brief unit on feminist legal theories, emphasizing liberal feminist theories that have emphasized equal opportunity and bodily and decisional autonomy, and dominance theories that have described sexualized injury as a vehicle for the assertion and preservation of male power. It will then turn to the #MeToo movement, examining its use of online storytelliing as a vehicle for exposure and solidarity, the largely extra-legal trajectory of its immediate consequences, and two challenges that it has encountered over the long run: a "tactical freeze," reflecting difficulty in translating the momentum of exposure into more systematic solutions; and a failure to reach from the comparatively elite contexts of entertainment and the professions to low-wage work in which problems of sexualized injury are also pervasive, and barriers to reporting or resistance are far higher. Finally the course will study the movement for reproductive rights and justice that has emerged since the fall of Roe, particularly in abortion-restrictive states. It will examine the marginalization of women of color and low income women that dates back to the abortion funding cases, and ask whether and how efforts to restore the abortion right can be build on a more inclusive foundation. Consistent with this goal, it will ask how the current laser-focus on the question of abortion may fuel or detract from a broader agenda of reproductive justice -- which connects reproductive oppression to larger structures of racism,  income inequality, and re-emergent anti-LGBT politics. 
The course will also have an "applied" component. Students will be required to write a paper that asks them to investigate how these ideas play out actual social movement organizations. Each student will select a particular Bay Area organization that has played a role in in reproductive rights or justice, or sexual violence, and analyze its structure and operation, its agenda, and the strategies and campaigns through which it advances that agenda. In preparation for that assignment, there will be separate supplemental readings and discussions (on which we will focus in the final hour of class) that focus on the functioning, resources, strategies/tactics, challenges and assessment of social movement organizations.

190.4: Family Policing & Defense, Meredith Wallis, 4 units, Area I, II

This class is on the law, practice and history of State removal of children to foster care, with family defense in California dependency serving as a case study. The course focus is not whether the system is good or bad, but what type of assumptions, familiar notions, and ways of thinking have contributed to family separation as an accepted practice for the protection of children and promotion of their well-being. Child welfare courts are considered non-adversarial—in fact they are called “collaborative”—and are technically civil (or at least quasi-civil), but the closest analog to the actual process is criminal law, i.e. adults receive charges from the State which, after adjudication, could result in the indefinite removal of a family member. Given this, the class would probably be primarily interesting to those looking to learn more about criminal defense in a parallel system, one which deals in managing risks, mostly those posed by poverty, substance use, and intimate partner violence.

190.8: Ethical AI, Talia Swartz, 4 units, Area III, IV

The deployment of Artificial Intelligence systems in multiple domains of society raises fundamental challenges and concerns, such as accountability, liability, fairness, transparency and privacy. The dynamic nature of AI systems requires a new set of skills informed by ethics, law, and policy to be applied throughout the life cycle of such systems: design, development and deployment. It also involves ongoing collaboration among data scientists, computer scientists,
lawyers and ethicists. Tackling these challenges calls for an interdisciplinary approach: deconstructing these issues by discipline and reconstructing with an integrated mindset, principles and practices between data science, ethics and law. This course aims to do so by bringing together students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds into teams that work together on joint tasks in an intensive series of in-class sessions. These sessions will include lectures,
discussions, and group work.

H195B: Legal Studies Honors Thesis, Your Supervising Professor, 3 units, can be counted towards the Area in which two courses are taken.

Study of an advanced topic under the supervision of a faculty member leading to the completion of a senior honors thesis. These units are designed for students who began the Honors Program in the Fall.

H195C: Legal Studies Honors Research and Writing Seminar, Morrill, 2 units, Areas not applicable.

The goal of the seminar is to provide Honors students additional support as they conduct the research for and write their senior honors theses, and prepare presentations for the Spring Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. Honors students enroll in the two unit LS H195C seminar during the second semester of the Honors Program along with the three units of LS H195B.