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Last updated: 4/28/2006 1:20:44 PM
California Western -- Marilyn Ireland
Courses Taught - Marilyn J. Ireland

Civil Procedure I & II

Constitutional Law I

Constitutional Law II

Evidence

First Amendment Seminar

 


CIVIL PROCEDURE I & II (3 units each)
The rules governing a lawsuit from its beginning to trial.  Topics covered include jurisdiction, pleadings, motions, joinder of claims and parties, discovery, and the effect of judgments.
  
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (3 units)
Constitutional Law is the law governing governments.  This course surveys the basic "structural" issues in constitutional law.  These are, primarily, 1) the structure and power of the federal government, including separation of powers between the legislature, executive, and judicial branches; and 2) federalism, including issues arising under the commerce clause.  There is a particular emphasis on the place of the Supreme Court and federal judiciary as a part of, and arbiter over, the distribution of political power in America.
  
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II (3 units)
Constitutional Law II focuses on Supreme Court cases that have defined individual liberties and equality.  Topics include 14th and 5th amendment discrimination law (civil rights), as well as particular civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights such as freedom of speech, press, and religion.  Also covered are the so-called "penumbral" rights of privacy, association, and reproduction.  The emphasis is on the evolution of precedent as the constitutional base, the relationship of judicial power to individual rights, and on the Supreme Court's role in defining the peculiar western concept of "freedom."
  
EVIDENCE (4 units)
Evidence is the study of facts and how those facts may be used in the adversary system in order to prove a case.  Unlike most law courses, the focus is therefore on factual, not legal analysis.  The law governing trials and the admission of evidence is explored through cases, most of which are used to illustrate problems of logical inference.  Particular emphasis is given to relevance, to character evidence, and to hearsay and its exceptions, as well as to the introduction of non-testimonial evidence such as documents, and things.  There is some theoretical exploration of the constitutional law that governs criminal trials, and a brief review of particular evidentiary problems, such as the use of expert witnesses.  There is a strong in-class emphasis on how we reason, and on articulation of the logic by which a piece of evidence leads to a mental conclusion.  Some "adversarial" in-class interaction between students is encouraged.
  
FIRST AMENDMENT SEMINAR (SWR, 3 units)
This seminar offers an opportunity for students interested in particular areas of First Amendment law to explore that interest, whether the interest is professional (e.g., representation of media, churches, or political parties), or philosophical (e.g., reproductive rights or rights of gay association).  Topics covered are freedom of expression, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom from establishment of religion, privacy, reproductive rights, rights of association, right to travel and other "penumbral" rights.  Following a rapid survey of major Supreme Court decisions in the field, the emphasis of the class shifts to particular problems selected by the students as the basis for their research papers.  The emphasis therefore varies from year to year depending on the interests of the students.


Full course descriptions are available in PDF format on the J.D. Curriculum page.

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