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This course will focus on the mechanics of judicial decision making and opinion writing. Each week, students will read the lower court opinion and merits and selected amicus briefs of selected cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The class will focus on these cases and deliberate the merits of each side’s arguments, much like the Supreme Court does during its conferences. We will also explore theories of judicial decision making, interpretation and policy. At the end of each class, we will “vote” as to how we think the decision should come out. Students will be expected to write majority and dissenting opinions in one of the cases we discuss, which must include substantial original thought and research. The grade will be based primarily on these judicial opinions. This course may be used to satisfy the College of Law’s Professional Skills Requirement OR Substantial Writing Requirement (but not both).

PREREQUISITE: Constitutional Law II (Law 822)