Skip to content

Public Interest Law

  • Administrative Law

    This course examines the law of the administrative state. In the contemporary United States, government is carried out through hundreds, if not thousands, of governmental agencies, wielding power not only over the economy at large but over the lives of every American. Administrative agencies have broad regulatory powers to make rules having the force of law, to adjudicate, to empower individuals as well as to prosecute them. This course is concerned with the law that defines, shapes, and legitimates these powers. The course reflects on how the law manages the tension between “rule of law” values (e.g., procedural regularity, accountability, and substantive limits on arbitrary action) and the desire for flexible, effective administrative governance. The course explores the place of agencies in the U.S. constitutional structure, the source and authority of agency power, the procedures necessary for agency policymaking, and judicial review of agency decision-making.

  • Chinese Judicial Reform from a Comparative Perspective

    Instructor: Susan Finder

    STL, as a law school in Shenzhen, has a unique vantage point from which to consider and monitor the implementation of China’s judicial reforms, because Shenzhen has been selected as the location of one of the Supreme People’s Court’s Circuit Courts as well as for many judicial pilot projects.

    This course will consider Chinese judicial reforms in the wider context of judicial reforms of developing economies as well as the context of China’s history, political system, and society. It will give students an overview of the issues involved chance to learn more about the judicial reforms from a variety of viewpoints, including from some of the Shenzhen-based participants themselves. Some of the topics to be covered include the role of the circuit courts, splitting jurisdiction from administrative areas, and judicial autonomy/independence.

  • Comparative Constitutional Law

    Based on the idea that comparison broadens the perspective and inspires fresh thinking, this class looks at a variety of important constitutional problems through the prism of different countries’ constitutional orders. What is the purpose of constitutional law? How do revolutions make constitutional law? How does constitutional law work in times of crises? How do different constitutional orders deal with problems of gender discrimination or poverty? These are some of the questions that we approach from the perspective of the U.S., Germany, France, China, Canada, and South Africa, among others. The class includes a strong emphasis on philosophical, political, and legal writings by authors such as Hannah Arendt, Bruce Ackerman, Cass Sunstein, Qianfan Zhang, and some of Professor Jaggi’s own writings on revolutionary constitutional lawmaking in Germany.

  • Criminal Procedure

    The course will survey the entire American criminal process from investigation and arrest to sentencing. The course will cover the Bill of Rights and a comparison of adversarial vs. inquisitorial systems and will present a broad overview of criminal procedure, including arraignment, pretrial detention and release, discovery, right to counsel, right to trial by jury, pretrial motions, trial, and the roles of judge and jury. The course will also concentrate on search and seizure, interrogation and confession, and suppression of evidence under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, following the case of a single defendant from arrest to conviction and sentencing.

  • Discrimination and the Law

    Instructor: Stephen Yandle

    American law has a peculiar history in regard to discrimination on the basis of an individual’s characteristics (e.g., race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation). This course will examine the history of American law and discrimination from the founding to the current day, looking at discrimination/anti-discrimination in legislative actions (including citizen initiatives), administrative interpretations and judicial decisions. Since the breadth and depth of issues are too great for comprehensive coverage in a single course, the course will focus on discrimination in education as an illustrative microcosm.

  • Equal Protection Law

    Instructor: Mark Rosenbaum

    This course explores U.S. Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence in the area of equal rights and liberty. Questions examined include: the meaning of constitutionalism and rule of law; do rights exist and how are they to be determined?; can rights change based on contemporary values?; the relationship between the majority and racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation minorities; do protections exist against discrimination?; what is the meaning of liberty and how can liberty be protected and nurtured?; do rights exist if they’re not specified in a constitution?

  • Evidence

    Professor: Thomas Man

    This course focuses on the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence governing the admissibility of evidence, including problems of relevancy, remoteness, and undue prejudice; the hearsay rule and its exceptions; the offer of evidence and objection; examination of witnesses; competency and privilege of witnesses; expert opinion evidence; judicial notice; burden of proof; and presumptions. Where applicable and as appropriate, the course also introduces students to the ongoing effort in China to develop evidence as an independent discipline of legal study and to codify rules of evidence for Chinese judicial proceedings.

  • First Amendment Law

    Professor: Mark Rosenbaum

    This course examines contemporary issues of free speech in the context of U.S. Constitution First Amendment law: the uses and values of free speech; whether certain categories of speech deserve more or less protection; political speech; censorship and discrimination based on content; hate speech and racist speech; obscenity and pornography and feminism; symbolic speech. Students are asked to develop a coherent theory of speech protection and regulation.

  • International Criminal Justice

    Instructor: Michael Greco

    The rapid development of a body of international criminal law that imposes responsibilities directly on individuals and punishes violations through international mechanisms is relatively recent; the body of law is not yet uniform, and its courts are not yet universal. The course provides explanation and appraisal of international law and procedure, and focuses on crimes that are within the jurisdiction of international tribunals: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. The course also briefly consider terrorist offenses, torture and other crimes not yet within international court or tribunal jurisdiction.

  • International Refugee and Migration Law

    Instructor: Christian Pangilinan

    Around the world, increasing numbers of people are crossing borders for migration or to seek refuge. Whether because of war, politics, economic hardship, or climate change, internal humanitarian crises push families and individuals across national borders in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Asia, and other parts of the world. This course aims to provide students with a working understanding of the fundamentals of refugee and international migration law as well as current challenges or controversies faced in these fields. The course focuses on refugee and migration law from the perspectives of national sovereignty and its limits in light of human rights standards and international conventions such as the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol and international or regional agreements on human smuggling, trafficking, statelessness, and internally displaced persons. Students are exposed to jurisprudence from a range of both national and international courts and tribunals.

  • Statutory Interpretation

    Instructor: Matthew Stephenson

    This course provides a theoretical and practical introduction to statutory interpretation, focusing on the jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court. The course considers the main schools of thought in statutory interpretation (textualism, intentionalism, and purposivism), issues related to the application of important and controversial interpretive tools (such as legislative history and canons of construction), and general questions about the proper role of courts in interpreting legal texts enacted by legislatures.

  • 中国宪法专题(Chinese Constitutional Law Seminar)

    Instructor: 黄卉 Huang Hui

    本研讨课的主题为宪法基本权利。本研讨课的主要目的有三,一是通过阅读了解我国宪法学者关于基本权利的研究情况,包括研究主题、内容、方法及其发展;二是了解基本权利的法教义学建构,鉴于我国宪法法教义学建构工作基本参照德国宪法学教研模式,学生需要阅读德国基本权利法教义学的文献(Christian Bumke/Andreas Voßkuhle: German Constitutional Law : Introduction, Cases, and Principles, Oxfold Presse 2019),在此基础上对比我国宪法学者相关主题的写作;三是训练学生以基本权利为题目的论文写作,侧重题目的选择、文献检索和提纲写作。选课同学需选择从给定的或者与授课老师商定的题目中认领一题目,撰写6000字以上论文,论文质量将作为确定研讨课最终成绩的基础。


    写作具体要求:写作原则上需要以相关基本权利的法律适用为内容,论文基本结构为:问题的提出(可以以具体的案例展开);相关基本权利的法理基础(讨论权利的正当性问题);宪法具体规定(必要时可延伸到部门法的保护);相关学术研究的发展和现状(查看我国宪法学者是如何处理相关基本权利适用的问题的,有无提出权利保护的审查基准);相关司法判决;在阅读文献和司法判决的基础上,就如何切实保障基本权利提出自己的意见。【注意:以上结构主要针对单个基本权利适用问题,其中任何一点都可以深入为独立的论文,但需要建立在对以上内容的了解基础上。如果论文偏向体系或教义学建构或其他非适用问题,则需要根据具体问题和文献结构。】

  • 比较证据法(Comparative Evidence Law)

    Instructor: 满云龙 Thomas Man

    This course explores the central concept of judicial proof in comparative perspective. Through extensive reading, viewing and class discussion of related materials in both Chinese and English languages relating to facts, truth and evidence, judicial process, evidentiary proof from both continental law and common law jurisdictions, mainly the United States, China and selected European countries, this course intends to enhance students’ understanding of the principal concepts of judicial proof and the working process of judicial trials in the United States and China in which evidence plays a central role.

    本课程以司法证明为核心,探讨和比较世界两大法律体系(大陆法与普通法)之下,司法审判事实认定过程的异同。主要阅读和讨论材料来自欧、美和中国司法证明的法律和实践,探讨事实与证据、证据法、司法证明等基本概念,认识司法证明原则与具体进程和程序在不同法律体系之下的异同。通过阅读、课堂讨论和课后作业,学生可以了解司法证明的原理、规则以及在不同司法制度框架内的运作方式,加深对证据法理解和对司法证明操作层面的掌握。