Intro. to Am. Law (099-2)

I.    Goal

  • To provide an overview of the American legal system.

II.    Textbook

  • Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction (2nd ed., 1998).

III.    References

  • Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law (3rd ed., 2005).
    Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law in the Twentieth Century (2004).
    William Burnham, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States (4th ed., 2006).
    Gary Minda, Postmodern Legal Movements: Law and Jurisprudence at Century’s End (1996).

IV.    Homepage & Mailing List

V.    Grading policy

  • Participation: 40%, in classes and on the mailing list. (Mere attendance or forwarding news articles DOES NOT count as participation.)
  • Presentations: 60%.

VI.    Schedule (tentative, subject to change)

  • 2-24    Course Introduction: What is a Legal System?
  • 3-03    The Background of American Law
  • 3-10    The Courts
  • 3-17    Statutes and Statute Makers
  • 3-24    The Executive Branch
  • 3-31    Federalism
  • 4-07    Elections and Political Parties
  • 4-14    Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties
  • 4-21    (midterm)
  • 4-28    The Fourth Estate
  • 5-05    Crimes and Punishments
  • 5-12    Legal Culture
  • 5-19    Legal Education & Legal Profession
  • 5-26    Law and Social Change
  • 6-02    (TBA)
  • 6-09    (TBA)
  • 6-16    Legal Scholarship
  • 6-23    (final)