Two-Week Courses

The Duke D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy curriculum will focus on topics important to current and aspiring practitioners in fields that require mastery of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law and policymaking.  Courses will meet in the evenings, at the close of the workday, at the Duke in Washington office located near Metro Center at 1201 New York Ave., NW, Suite 1110, in Washington.

Classes will be limited in size in order to facilitate interaction between faculty members and students.  Registration and tuition will include weekly special events for program participants and written and other course materials.  Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be awarded a certificate endorsed by the Dean of Duke Law School, David Levi, and Faculty Director of the Institute, Neil Siegel.

The 2014 program will take place over the weeknights of two, two-week sessions: July 7-17, 2014, and July 21-July 31, 2014; classes will meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, with Wednesday evenings reserved for special programs, including an event with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Wednesday, July 30.  Courses will introduce participants to US constitutional law, with a focus on timely subjects such as the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education and state bans on same-sex marriage, current topics in national security law, international human rights, and law and economics.

Tuition for a single course is $600; for each additional course, tuition is $400.

Courses offered

Session One: July 7 - July 17, 2014

American Constitutional Structure: Congressional Power and the Constitutionality of Obamacare (5:45-7:15 p.m.)
  • Professor Neil Siegel
    • This course will introduce judicial doctrines, historical understandings, and theoretical perspectives on the scope of Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce, tax and spend, and pass laws that are necessary and proper for executing its other enumerated powers. After studying the seminal decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, the course will analyze the constitutionality of key parts of the federal health care law, popularly known as Obamacare.
American Constitutional Equality: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (7:30-9:00 p.m.)
  • Professor Neil Siegel
    • The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits “any State” from “deny[ing] to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This course will introduce the significant changes over time in how the U.S. Supreme Court has understood the Equal Protection Clause to police discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. The course will include analysis of the Court’s recent responses to cases involving the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and state bans on same-sex marriage.
Hot Topics in National and International Security Law: Drones, Cyberwar, Lawfare, Surveillance and More (7:30-9:00 p.m.)
  • Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Dunlap, Jr., USAF
    • This course will introduce the hottest topics in national and international security law, including the issues of drones, cyberwar, lawfare, and surveillance. In addition, the course will address civil-military relations and the U.S. military justice system, which is now involved in high-profile cases such as the prosecution of Bradley Manning, Major Nidal Hassan, and SSgt Robert Bales, as well as sexual assault cases.  Students will also analyze the constitutional and statutory architecture of the American defense establishment, consider the international phenomena of “lawfare,” and discuss the ethical issues that national security law must confront.  This course is aimed at students, policy analysts, legislative staffers, concerned citizens, and others wanting to understand the legal aspects of the security-related issues that dominate today’s headlines.
    • Session Two: July 21 - July 31, 2014

      From Rabbis to Running Backs: Introduction to Law & Economics (5:45-7:15 p.m.)
    • Professor Barak Richman
      • Over the last fifty years, economic concepts have increasingly been used to explain the effects of laws, to assess the economic efficiency of legislation and regulations, and to support specific policy positions and prescriptions. This course will introduce students to the field of “law and economics,” including a basic overview of the microeconomic principles at play and how they are applied to the analysis of law during the first year of law school and beyond.  Students will examine examples from current events, such as hiring practices in organizations as varied as the NFL and synagogues, and the distribution of costs and benefits under the Affordable Care Act.  By working through these examples, students will gain a better understanding of what the field of economics teaches us about how both private and public actors are, and should be, regulated.
International Human Rights Advocacy (7:30-9:00 p.m.)
  • Professor Jayne Huckerby
    • This course will introduce the field of international human rights law and advocacy, including its institutions, strategies, and key actors. Students will be introduced to key human rights standards; analyze the core human rights advocacy strategies and tactics used by advocates to set human rights agendas (e.g., fact-finding and litigation); and consider a range of advocacy targets, such as governments, international organizations, and private entities.  Drawing on case studies within the United States and abroad, students will consider these questions while examining key issues in contemporary human rights, such as national security, corporate accountability, and human trafficking.


Daniel Strunk "I couldn't recommend the program more to anyone considering law school in the future."

Daniel Strunk, Duke University