The course is a survey of the theories of law and adjudication that have been most important in this country since the Civil War, concluding with an introduction to significant contemporary schools of legal thought. We will consider Formalist (Langdellian) Legal Science, Sociological Jurisprudence, American Legal Realism, the Legal Process School, Law and Moral Philosophy, Law and Economics, Feminist Jurisprudence, Public Choice Theory, and Neo-formalism. The readings are drawn principally from primary materials – the important contemporary manifestos and critiques of the schools of thought studied, along with writings that involve their application to concrete legal problems or reveal their influence on others. Among the recurring issues treated are: How political is law? How objective? How much do and should courts legislate? Is law mostly rules? Principles? Policies? Decisions? How much should law be bound up with other intellectual disciplines? What should legal education be like? Special Instructions: If any student would like to write a research paper in lieu of the final exam, he or she should consult the instructor before the start of the course. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Final Exam or Final Paper.
Modern American Legal Thought LAW 500 Section 01 Class #29682
Notes: Extended Take-Home Exam. Open to First-Year JD Students.