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Spring 2022 Seminar

Federalism and States as Public Law Actors

Prerequisites: Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment

Exam Type: No Exam.  Grading will be based on class participation, including leading discussion in 3 classes over the course of the semester, and one 12-15 page paper.

In recent years, states have become vital agents in shaping public law across the political spectrum and often pursue litigation to advance their policy priorities. Examples include challenges to immigration and environmental policies of both Republican and Democratic administrations; litigation regarding same-sex marriage; and the use of state securities and consumer protection laws to advance agendas that diverge from federal regulatory priorities, including privacy protections and antitrust enforcement against tech companies. This advanced litigation seminar will critically examine this practice. We will study relevant statutes and legal doctrines, as well as political and practical concerns that shape litigation options and strategic and tactical decisions by states in this arena. In addition to case law and scholarship, students will read briefs, complaints, and other court filings in recent and pending litigation around the country, and discuss these issues with guest speakers from various State Attorney General offices.