All VLS Courses
Climate Change: The Power of Taxes
This seminar explores the ways in which tax systems can effect change in the energy consumption behavior of business, industry, and consumers. The seminar addresses issues of theory, policy, politics, and law and --while focusing on climate change-- provides students with a framework for understanding how and when to use tax measures to address other environmental problems.
Commercial Law/Payment Systems
Survey of the law relating to payment systems, with a major focus on the checking system and Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code and applicable federal regulations. Topics include the laws and rules relating to electronic funds transfers, credit cards, debit cards, notes, letters of credit and similar payment devices. Also included are discussions of suretyship law and various credit enhancement devices.
Comparative Environmental Law Research Seminar
A research and writing seminar that provides a framework and faculty supervision for students to engage in comparative environmental law research. While the seminar is designed primarily to support VLS students participating in the US-China joint student research projects and will focus generally on China, the seminar is sufficiently broad to accommodate students interested in researching the environmental law systems of other countries.
Comparative Law: Comparative Legal Systems
Explores how different countries within the Western Legal Tradition understand sources of law, the relationship between codes and cases, and constitutional design, including questions of federalism, judicial review and balance of powers. The course will study selected aspects of legal systems, focusing on France and Germany, with some discussion of "mixed" common/civil law jurisdictions (e.g. Louisiana, South Africa), as well as some aspects of the European Union.
Comparative U.S.-China Environmental Law
An overview of the tremendous environmental challenges for the 1.3 billion people in China and the efforts to address them through law and regulation. After an introduction to the political and legal system and cultural background of the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, we will survey the basic regulatory schemes managing air quality, water resources and quality, natural resources, environmental impact assessments, and pending legislation concerning waste management and energy conservation. If there is sufficient interest, we may offer an additional, optional, one-credit session in China immediately following the class, to let students experience firsthand the environmental conditions and lectures and meetings with leading Chinese environmental scholars and activists.
Download 2013 Course Syllabus
Conflict of Laws
Considers the principles used to resolve legal problems when the conflicting laws of two or more jurisdictions might reasonably be applied. The course initially focuses upon the different rules and methodologies used to determine the appropriate choice of law. Constitutional limits on the use of such rules and methodologies are explored in some detail.
Constitutional Criminal Procedure
A basic course on Constitutional Criminal Procedure, with comprehensive consideration of topics under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Among the topics considered are search and seizure law including probable cause to search and arrest, the warrant requirement and its exceptions, and the exclusionary rule; custodial interrogation, confessions and the privilege against self-incrimination; double jeopardy; the right to counsel and effective assistance of counsel; the death penalty and the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments; lineups and other forms of pretrial identification.
Constitutional Law I:
This course focuses on the historical development of major constitutional doctrines, including the Commerce, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clauses. The course also studies the process of constitutional decision-making, and explores major techniques of constitutional interpretation.
Constitutional Law II:
Continues the studies major constitutional doctrines, including the First Amendment, and the processes of constitutional decision-making as well as major techniques of constitutional interpretation.
Constitutional Rights Litigation
Explores the procedural framework governing civil actions to enforce constitutional rights and the actionable elements of the individual rights protected by the Constitution, as well as defenses to constitutional tort liability, including Eleventh Amendment and common law immunities. Students are required to draft a federal court complaint and to write and orally defend a summary judgment motion brief.
This course examines in detail the requisite elements of a valid contract, while analyzing the effects of contracts on third parties and the impact of outside forces on contracting parties.