471 Amicus Lab

The purpose of the Amicus Lab is to teach students about the use of emerging science and technology in the courts and regulatory agencies through the drafting and submission of amicus briefs and comments to rule-makings. The amicus briefs will be submitted to the federal courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court, as well as state appellate courts, as appropriate; the comments will be submitted in federal notice-and-comment rulemakings. The briefs will be unaligned with any party and both the briefs and comments are intended to provide the courts and regulatory agencies with unbiased, current, accurate and coherent information on the science underlying the pending decision or proposed rule. The course is cross-listed in the Graduate School. PhD students in the sciences and MA students in bioethics or other relevant disciplines will be encouraged to enroll. The course will begin with a brief overview of appellate court practice and the role of amicus briefs in the process; notice-and-comment rulemaking; how to translate scientific information into the language of the courts and agencies; and the standards for consideration of expert scientific information in the court process. The ethical issues presented in each phase of this process will be an important component of the class content. The students will then, in conjunction with Science & Society’s Science Policy Tracking Program (“SciPol”), prepare a series of briefs on recently proposed rules and court decisions, which will analyze the purpose of the rule or the decision of the court, and the science underlying the rule or decision. The students will be divided into interdisciplinary teams and, with the assistance of the faculty, will select a pending rulemaking or appellate court case and draft a comment or amicus brief to be submitted in the proceeding. A science background is recommended, but not required.

 

Course Areas of Practice
Course Type
Simulation
Learning Outcomes
(d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession
2017
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

471.01 2 Nita A. Farahany, Michael B. Waitzkin Th 3:45-6:15 PM 3171

The purpose of the Amicus Lab is to teach students about the use of emerging science and technology in the courts and regulatory agencies through the drafting and submission of amicus briefs and comments to rule-makings. The amicus briefs will be submitted to the federal courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court, as well as state appellate courts, as appropriate; the comments will be submitted in federal notice-and-comment rulemakings. The briefs will be unaligned with any party and both the briefs and comments are intended to provide the courts and regulatory agencies with unbiased, current, accurate and coherent information on the science underlying the pending decision or proposed rule. The course is cross-listed in the Graduate School. PhD students in the sciences and MA students in bioethics or other relevant disciplines will be encouraged to enroll. The course will begin with a brief overview of appellate court practice and the role of amicus briefs in the process; notice-and-comment rulemaking; how to translate scientific information into the language of the courts and agencies; and the standards for consideration of expert scientific information in the court process. The ethical issues presented in each phase of this process will be an important component of the class content. The students will then, in conjunction with Science & Society’s Science Policy Tracking Program (“SciPol”), prepare a series of briefs on recently proposed rules and court decisions, which will analyze the purpose of the rule or the decision of the court, and the science underlying the rule or decision. The students will be divided into interdisciplinary teams and, with the assistance of the faculty, will select a pending rulemaking or appellate court case and draft a comment or amicus brief to be submitted in the proceeding. A science background is recommended, but not required.

 

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2015
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

471.01 2 Michael B. Waitzkin W 3:45-6:15 PM Room 3171
The purpose of the Amicus Lab is to teach students about the use of emerging science and technology in the courts through the drafting and submission of amicus briefs. The amicus briefs will be submitted to the federal courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court, as well as state appellate courts, as appropriate. The amicus briefs will be unaligned with any party and are intended to provide the courts with unbiased, current, accurate and coherent information on the reliability and utility of the technology.Because of the very short timeline for submission of an amicus brief, the course will initially focus upon the preparation of draft briefs or "White Papers" on the selected technologies. At the same time, cases in the trial courts utilizing such technologies will be tracked to identify appropriate opportunities for the filing of the briefs. In such cases, the White Papers will be modified to conform to the facts and specific issues presented and submitted to the court.The course will begin with a series of classes: an overview of appellate court practice and the role of amicus briefs in the process; how to translate scientific information into the language of the courts; the standards for consideration of expert scientific information in the court process; and dealing with expert witnesses. The ethical issues presented in each phase of this process will be an important component of the class content.The remainder of the semester will be devoted to preparation of draft amicus briefs/White Papers on the use of new technologies in the judicial process. The students will work in teams of two to three and will select from a list of evolving technologies, such as the increasing use of neuroscience, genetics and genomics in court. Preparation of the briefs would include: developing a comprehensive history of use of the technology in courts and elsewhere; identifying appropriate experts at Duke and elsewhere; collecting and analyzing the scientific and legal literature (peer reviewed and other); working with experts; developing a comprehensive understanding of the science, its current state of development and how it applies to the proposed use; translating the scientific issues into a language and structure useful for the court; and the drafting of the "White Paper". With the approval of the professor, the final White Papers may be submitted for consideration of publication in the Journal of Law and Biosciences.A science background is recommended, but not required.With permission of professor, graduate-level students outside of the law school may enroll subject to the enrollment limitations and policies of the Law School. Interested students should prepare a one-page statement explaining their interest in the course and meet with the professor to discuss the content and requirements prior to enrollment.2 Credits

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.