Civil Rights Litigation

Civil Rights Litigation

Mr. Scott Michelman
Spring 2020 course
Th 3:15pm - 6:30pm in WCC Room 1019
3 classroom credits

Prerequisite: Civil Procedure

Exam Type: One Day Take-Home

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.

Note: The textbook is Michelman, Civil Rights Enforcement ("CRE"), 1st ed. 2020. The book's formal publication is scheduled for February 1, 2020, but the book will be available for purchase in electronic form only no later than January 25, 2020, at, where you can search by the book's ISBN (9781543813661) to find it. Unfortunately, because the book is brand new and hard copies will not yet be available for sale, you'll have to print for yourself any hard copies you need.

Subject Areas: Constitutional Law & Civil Rights