All VLS Courses
Civil Rights Seminar
Using PBS video series "Eyes on the Prize" and companion readings, this course examines the civil rights movement that began in the years before Brown v. Board of Education and continued throughout the 1950's and 1960's. Provides social, cultural, and historical perspectives on the civil rights movement and the legal developments that grew out of that movement.
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.
Indian Tribes as Governmental Stewards of the Environment
Examines the unique body of law governing "Indian country," the geographic areas recognized by the federal government as the homelands of sovereign American Indian tribes. Major topics include the history of federal-tribal relations, tribal property rights, tribal court systems, and the balance of governmental power between tribes, states, and the federal government.
Download the 2014 Summer Course Syllabus - updated 7/21/14
Native Americans and the Law
This course will focus on the constitutional, statutory and jurisprudential rules of law which make up the field of Federal Indian Law. Attention will be given to the historical framework from which the rules were derived. After tracing the development of the underlying legal doctrines which are prominent today, we will consider subject-specific areas of Indian Law like hunting and fishing rights, stewardship of natural resources, economic development and protection of religion and cultural lifestyles.
Race and the Law Seminar
Provides an introduction to race as it relates to and is reflected in the law. The seminar focuses on the role and experience of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latin-Americans, and Native-Americans in American society, with attention to questions concerning critical race theory, class, family, and feminism.
Sexual Orientation and the Law Seminar
A look at the way law and the legal systems affect the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The class will explore domestic and international laws that sanction discrimination against the LGBT community and the struggle for equality by this community.