PUBLISHED:July 19, 2013

D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy wraps successful first session; register now for second

Duke Law School’s D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy wrapped a successful inaugural session of short evening courses relating to public law on July 18.  Students, faculty, and D.C.-area alumni will celebrate this milestone with a Friday evening reception at the National Press Club featuring a conversation with Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

“There has been a high level of energy and enthusiasm among faculty and students alike,” said Institute Director Neil Siegel, the David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science.  “I was sad to close my constitutional structure course on Thursday, but am eager to begin my constitutional equality class next week.”  Excitement is high among the students, he said, for his Friday evening conversation with Justice Ginsburg for whom he clerked during the 2003-2004 Supreme Court term.  (Registration for this event is full.)

Open to upper-level college students, current and prospective graduate and professional students, and professionals working in the nation’s capital, Institute courses are taught by members of Duke Law School’s top-notch public law faculty.  In addition to Siegel’s course focused on congressional power and the Affordable Care Act, the first session included courses on the factors underlying wrongful convictions, and an introduction to environmental and economic issues arising from Shale Gas Development, or “fracking,” hot topics in national and international security law, and an inside look at the process of federal policymaking taught by veterans of the executive branch and a former U.S. Senator.

Professor Charles Dunlap, executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, thoroughly enjoyed engaging with his students on such topics as drones, cyberwar, and ‘lawfare.’ 

“Teaching at the Duke Law Summer Institute provided a wonderful opportunity to interact with a truly awesome group of young D.C. professionals, Hill staff, and undergraduates from a number of universities,” said Dunlap, the former deputy judge advocate of the U.S. Air Force.  “It’s a great place for students to connect with other young people with similar interests.  The seminars are also a perfect way for those considering their career options to sample the law school experience, and to get an idea of what Duke Law might offer.”

Students similarly enjoyed the classes that blended depth of content with informality in execution.  “I took National Security Law with Gen. Dunlap. It was a phenomenal experience — could not recommend it enough,” one student wrote in response to a survey.  “He was a phenomenal teacher who interacted with his students on a personal level. For such an accomplished lawyer, [he] is as humble as they come. The subject matter was very interesting as well. I especially enjoyed Gen. Dunlap's take on current events.”

Registration remains open for courses in the two-week long second session which begins on July 22.  Course offerings include The Changing Landscape of Health Law & Policy, which will offer an overview of the central legal and economic forces that shape the national market for healthcare services; Big Finance: How Big is Too Big?, in which students will examine whether banks and other large-scale financial institutions should be subject to size limitations; and American Constitutional Equality: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, which will include analysis of the Court's recent rulings relating to the constitutionality of affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas), the federal Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor), and prohibitions on same-sex marriage (Hollingsworth v. Perry).

The Institute will host a mid-session reception on July 26 featuring a panel discussion on the historic Supreme Court term that recently ended.  Panelists include Siegel, who co-directs Duke’s Program in Public Law, the Charles S. Rhyne Professor of Law Guy-Uriel Charles, director of the Center on Law, Race and Politics, and Walter E. Dellinger III, the Douglas B. Maggs Professor Emeritus of Law and a leading Supreme Court advocate. (Registration for that event, at Duke University’s Washington, D.C., facility where Institute classes are held, is closed.)