This course will examine the role of social movements in the development of U.S. constitutional law. Conventional theories of judicial independence do not define a legitimate role for social movements, but recent advances in legal scholarship have underscored the co-constitutive relationship between law and social movements. Accordingly, this course will explore how participants in social movements engage the Constitution and how these encounters shape constitutional doctrine, social institutions, public discourse, and movements themselves. We will investigate the processes of mobilization and counter-mobilization and reflect on how movements often spur constitutional change through means other than constitutionally specified procedures. We will also consider why movements fail and will critically analyze rights-based approaches to reform. The course will place particular emphasis on the involvement of social movement actors in the transformation of civil rights law. Course readings will draw from a wide range of historical, sociological, and legal sources.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law