Elements of Law orients students to legal research and reasoning through caselaw, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions. The course covers topics across many substantive areas of law, and addresses legal methodology as it arises in the legal profession. Penn State Law, Course Descriptions.
1. What is Law
A. Introduction: The cast of characters, institutions and forms --LLEWELLYN, THE BRAMBLE BUSH.
B. Law Articulated by Courts: The Common Law & Equity
--LAW: Arthur R. Hogue, Origins of the Common Law (Indianapolis, LibertyFund 1986 (1966)); Chapter 1 (3-29) and Chapter 8 (185-190). --EQUITY: Kristin A. Collins, “A Considerable Surgical Operation”: Article III,
Equity, And Judge-Made Law In The Federal Courts, 60 Duke L.J. 249 (2010) READ PP. 1-9 of the Westlaw Version (249-271 of the original).
C. Law Articulated by Legislatures: Statutory Law
--JUSTINIAN, INSTITUTES (c. 570 A.D.) READ J.1.1-1.2
--John Henry Merrymen et al., The Civil Law Tradition: Europe, Latin America, and East Asia. Michie 1994. READ pp. 447-454; 476-485.
--The U.S.—where statute and custom meet:
Montana Code Annotated 1999
(1-2-103. Statutes in derogation of the common law -- liberal construction. The rule of the common law that statutes in derogation thereof are to be strictly construed has no application to the statutes of the state of Montana. The statutes establish the law of this state respecting the subjects to which they relate, and their provisions and all proceedings under them are to be liberally construed with a view to effect their objects and to promote justice. ) http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/1/2/1-2-103.htmOptional Text:
--HANS KELSON, PURE THEORY OF LAW (University of California Press, 1967); pp. 3-54;
(http://books.google.com/books?id=9mY4nYPu59kC&dq=%22what+is+law%22&printsec=frontcover&source =in&hl=en&ei=4VrrS6ThGY_98AayuNi_BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=13&ved=0CFEQ6AEwDA ).
--James G. Apple & Robert P. Deyling, A Primer on the Civil Law System (1994- 95). Available http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/civillaw.pdf/$file/civillaw.pdf.
D. Law Articulated by Regulatory Agencies: The Administrative function.
--Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Schleifer, The Rise of the Regulatory State Journal of Economic Literature XLI:401-425 (2003). READ ALL BUT SECTION 3. Available http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/shleifer/files/rise_reg_state.pdf. --Larry Catá Backer, Surveillance and Control: Privatizing and Nationalizing Corporate Monitoring after Sarbanes-Oxley. Law Review of Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law, 2004(2) Michigan State Law Review 327. READ PARTS II and V.B. (pp. 333-353; 432-37 of published version). Available http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=508802.
E. Law Beyond Law: Social Norms; Surveillance, Monitoring, Disclosure.
--Melvin Eisenberg, Corporate Law and Social Norms, 99 Colum. L. Rev. 1252 (1999). READ Section I--PP. 2-7 of the WESTLAW VERSION, or 1257-1264
-- Backer, Larry Catá, Global Panopticism: States, Corporations and the Governance Effects of Monitoring Regimes. INDIANA JOURNAL OF GLOBAL
LEGAL STUDIES, Vol. 15, 2008. READ PARTS I-V (pp. 101-138 in SSRN version); Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1081242
--Michael Reed, From the ‘Cage’ to the ‘Gaze’? The Dynamics of
Organizational Control in Late Modernity, in REGULATION AND ORGANIZATIONS: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES 17 (Glenn Morgan & Lars Engwall eds., 1999). READ 28-31.
II. Hierarchies of Law and Governance: Sources and Uses.
A. The State and its Apparatus.
-- Foucault, Michel. 2007. Security, Territory, Population, Lectures at the Collège de France 1977-1978. . Graham Burchell, trans. New York: Picador Palgrove Macmillan. READ pp. 87-110; 115-120.
B. Ordering Government Through Law: Constitutions, Statutes, Treaties, Regulations, Judicial Decisions, other sources.
--EDWARD S. CORWIN, THE “HIGHER LAW” BACKGROUND OF AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Cornell U. Press 1955). READ pp. 72-89. --CHARLES MCILWAIN, CONSTITUTIONALISM, ANCIENT AND MODERN
(Cornell U. Press, rev. ed. 1947).
-- U.S. Constitution, Art. VI. Cl. 2. Available at
http://www.usconstitution.net/const.pdf. --German Basic Law, arts.20-25; 31. Available
http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/GG.htm. --Constitution of South Africa, arts. 2, 39, 146-150. Available
C. Hierarchies of Law Within the Domestic Legal Order and Between National and International Law Reflecting Governmental Order
--Larry Catá Backer, Inter-Systemic Harmonization and Its Challenges for the Legal- State, in FICHL Publication Series No. 11 (2011): The Law of the Future and the Future of the Law 427-437 (Editors: Sam Muller, Stavros Zouridis, Morly Frishman and Laura Kistemaker; Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Oslo, 2011). Available http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1789190.
--Medellín v. Texas, 128 S.Ct. 1346 (2008) READ MAJORITY OPINION and skim concurring and dissenting opinions). Available http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/06-984.ZS.html.
--Pruneyard Shopping Ctr. V. Robins, 447 U. S. 74 (1980). Read pp 74-81. Available http://supreme.justia.com/us/447/74/case.html.
D. The Relationship of Law and the Government of the State—Role of Law: What Roles Does Law Serve: Class Exercise
—law as an instrument of the state/government with authority to enact it; Law as the product of the national will.
--law as autonomous of government either as (1) a reflection of the common beliefs and traditions of the people (custom), or (2) the implementation of higher moral norms (natural, religious, rationalist or international customary norms)
--Larry Catá Backer, Reifying Law: Understanding Law Beyond the State, 26(3) Penn State International Law Review 521 (2008). READ PARTS I & II (pp. 521-46 of the publishedversion); Available
--John Locke, Second Treatise on Government (Thomas P. Pearson, ed.,
New York: MacMillan 1952) Chapter XI (Of the Extent of the Legislative
--CARL SCHMITT, LEGALITY AND LEGITIMACY 18 (Jeffrey Seitzer trans., Duke U. Press 2004) (1932). READ pp. 17-26.
E. CLASS EXERCISE—Regulating liability for medical innovation; applying concepts of Parts I & II in a law and policy context.
--Teams assigned to represent a number of clients; presentations exercise details and team assignments on Angel.
III. Institutional Architecture of Law and Governance: The United States and Law Making
A. The General Government 1. Division of Power: (a) Executive; (b) Legislative; (c) Judicial 2. Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
--Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (The Steel Seizure Case), 343 U.S. 579 (1952).
B. The Administrative Branches: The Non-Delegation Doctrine, An Introduction
--Mistretta v. U.S., 488 U.S. 361 (1988).
--Peter Strauss, The Place of Agencies in Government: Separation of Powers and the Fourth Branch, 84 COLUM.L.REV. 573 (1984)
C. The States and the People; Popular referendums:
--K.K. DuVivier, Out of the Bottle: The Genie of Direct Democracy, 70 ALB. L. REV. 1045 (2007).
--Clayton Gillette, Is Direct Democracy Anti-Democratic?, 34 WILLAMETTE L. REV. 609 (1998). READ 620-636.
D. Constitution, 9th & 10th Amendments
--Gonzales v. Raich, 5454 U.S. 1 (2005) (medical marijuana). Full version available http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-1454.ZS.html.
A. How Courts Engage With Law: Custom versus Statute: The Norm, The Social Order, The Legal Order
--Larry Catá Backer, Chroniclers in the Field of Cultural Production: Interpretive Conversations Between Courts and Culture, 20 BOSTON COLLEGE THIRD WORLD LAW
JOURNAL 291 (2000). READ pp. 291-305. Available in “pdf” format at
--Berreman v. West Pub. Co., 615 N.W.2d 362, Minn.App., 2000 (edited).--Marvin v. Marvin, 8 Cal.3d 660, 557 P.2d 106, 134 Cal.Rptr. 815, 1976 (edited).
B. The Doctrine of Judicial Review: Judicial Authority to “say what the law is” --Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803)
--McColloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819)
--Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958)
--Edwin Meese III, The Law of the Constitution, 61 TUL. L. REV. 979 (1987).
C. CLASS EXERCISE—Are Officials required to follow Supreme Court
Interpretation Beyond the Law of the Case?
D. How Courts Engage With Law: Theories of Judicial Interpretation
--Richard Posner, Statutory Interpretation—In the Classroom and in the Courtroom, 50 U. CHI. L. REV. 800 (1983) (READ pp. 817-22)
1. Theories of statutory interpretation
WILLIAM N. ESKRIDGE, JR., PHILIP P. FRICKEY AND ELIZABETH GARRETT, LEGISLATION AND STATUTORY INTERPRETATION (2nd ed., Foundation Press, 2006). READ Chapter 6.
2. The Role of Text and Precedent
WILLIAM N. ESKRIDGE, JR., PHILIP P. FRICKEY AND ELIZABETH GARRETT, LEGISLATION AND STATUTORY INTERPRETATION (2nd ed., Foundation Press, 2006). READ Chapter 7.
--John F. Manning, Textualism and the Equity of the Statute, 101 COLUM. L. REV. 1 (2001) (READ pp. 1, 3-7, 16-22).
3. The Controversy Over Resort to Extrinsic Sources
WILLIAM N. ESKRIDGE, JR., PHILIP P. FRICKEY AND ELIZABETH GARRETT, LEGISLATION AND STATUTORY INTERPRETATION (2nd ed., Foundation Press, 2006). READ Chapter 8.
Stephen Breyer, On the Uses of Legislative History in Interpreting
Statutes, 65 S. CAL. L. REV. 845 (1992).
E. Stare Decisis in Constitutional Cases and Under State Law
--Planned Parenthood of SE PA v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) (federal) --Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court, 57 Cal. 2d 450 (1962) (state).
F. Class Exercise: Statutory Interpretation
-- William Eskridge, Dynamic Statutory Interpretation 135 U. PA. L. REV. 1479 (1987) READ Part II (pp. 1497-1538 of the published text; Pages 8-23 of the Westlaw version provided).
V. Application: An Introduction to Constitutional Interpretation.
A. Constitutional Interpretation; A Special Case?
Readings: The section applies Eskridge, et al. Chaps 6-8 to constitutional context, with the addition of other readings identified below
--Larry Catá Backer, Retaining Judicial Authority: A Preliminary Inquiry on the Dominion of Judges, 12 WILLIAM & MARY BILL OF RIGHTS JOURNAL 117 (2003). READ INTRODUCTION AND PART II (pp. 117-28; 152-72). Available http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=379460
1. Originalist Theories: Textualism a. Word textualism
b. Clause bounded textualism2. Originalist Theories: Original Understanding
c. Holistic textualism (the document)
d. Structural textualism (text in light of overarching principles)
--James Bradley Thayer, The Origin and Scope of the American Doctrine of Constitutional Law, 7 HARV. L. REV. 129 (1893).
-- William H. Rehnquist, The Notion of a Living Constitution, 54 TEX. L. REV. 693 (1976)
--Poe v. Ulman (Harlan)
a. Social-cultural plain meaning—Intention of the Founders
b. Original Purpose (interpretation the best reflects Framers’ original purposes)--Antonin Scalia, A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION: FEDERAL COURTS AND THE LAW (The University Center for Human Values Series; Princeton University Press (July 27, 1998) (ISBN-9780691004006)) READ pp. 3-18 and 23-47.
3. Legal Process Theories
--John Hart Ely, Democracy and Judicial Review, 28 STANFORD LAWYER 3-9 (Spr./Sum. 1982) (printed as Vol. 17(1)).
4. Evolutive Theories
a. Republican Theoriesb. Anti-Subordination Theories (Feminist and Critical Race Theories) c. Customary Law Theories
--Gary Minda, The Jurisprudential Movements of the 1980s, 50
OHIO ST. L.J. 599 (1989)
--Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497 (1961) (Harlan dissent)
--Optional: DAVID STRAUSS, THE LIVING CONSTITUTION (New York: Oxford University Press 2010).
B. The 14th Amendment—From idea to law Historical background materials
--14th Amendment, text
--Robert Kaczorowski, Revolutionary Constitutionalism in the Era of the Civil
War and Reconstruction, 61 NYU L. Rev. 863 (1986) READ HANDOUT VERSION PAGES 1-11, 19-22, 24-30.
--Eric Foner, The Strange Career of the Reconstruction Amendments, 108 Yale
L.J. 2003 (1999). READ ALL 4 PAGES.
--Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497 (1961) (Harlan dissent)
C. Developing 14th Amendment Frameworks--Initial Meaning: --The Slaughter House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873) --Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303 (1879)
--The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883)
D. Constitutionalizing Race Discrimination
--Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) --Thomas Zimmerman, Background to Plessy --The Separate Car Act:
“all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this state, shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations. . . “ The penalty for violation was $25 or 20 days in jail.
E. Reconstructing the meaning of “separate but equal.”
--McCabe v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, 235 U.S. 151 (1914) --Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938)
--Sipuel v. Board of Regents, 332 U.S. 631 (1948)
--Fisher v. Hurst, 333 U.S. 147 (1948)
--Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950)
--McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950)
F. Abandoning “Separate but Equal” as Constitutional Doctrine --Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) --Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)
G. Aftermath—From Desegregation to Integration; Race and Education --Griffin v. County School Board, 377 U.S. 218 (1964)
--Green v. New Kent County School Board, 391 U.S. 430 (1968) --Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Educ., 402 U.S. 1 (1971) --Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974)
--Freeman v. Pitts, 503 U.S. 467 (1992)
H. The limits of Judicial Remedial Power
--Missouri v. Jenkins (Jenkins II), 495 U.S. 33 (1977) --Missouri v. Jenkins (Jenkins III) 515 U.S. 70 (1995)
VI. Application: An Introduction to Statutory Interpretation
A. What is race? Applying statutes defining race to solve an issue of inheritance.
B. The Saga of Bush v. Gore: litigation over the outcome of the 2000 Presidential Election and the interpretation of Florida’s Election Law.
Problem—the limits of court authority to interpret statutes: when does (lawful) interpretation become (illegitimate) legislation?
--Backer, Larry Catá, Using Law Against Itself: Bush v. Gore Applied in the Courts. RUTGERS LAW REVIEW, Vol. 55(4):1119 (2003) READ PART III )pp. 1125- 1170). Available http://ssrn.com/abstract=410242.
--Backer, Larry Catá , Race, 'the Race', and the Republic: Re-Conceiving Judicial Authority After Bush v. Gore, 51 CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1057 (2002) READ pp. 1066-1076.
--The Cases: Bush v.Gore 531 U.S. 98 (2000). Available http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-949.ZPC.html.