Civil Rights Litigation

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Spring 2015 Course
Meets: Th 3:15pm - 6:30pm in Pound Hall Room 100
3 classroom credits

In developing rules for constitutional and statutory civil rights litigation, the Supreme Court is continually balancing the need to enforce the Constitution and civil rights laws with countervailing interests such as state sovereignty and the goal of preventing litigation from exerting a chilling effect on government officials in the performance of their duties. With that balancing act as backdrop, this course will trace the evolution of the legal tools available to civil rights plaintiffs and the legal obstacles they must overcome to obtain relief, including immunities, justiciability, and limitations on the enforceability of statutory rights. We will analyze the applicable legal principles both in terms of their theoretical and policy underpinnings and their practical effects, in order to provide students considering careers involving civil rights litigation with a solid doctrinal foundation and to consider more broadly how procedural rules can dictate substantive outcomes and how gaps develop between rights and remedies.

Subject Areas: Constitutional Law & Civil Rights .