159A | CCN: 30924

Great Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory

How to Read a Supreme Court Opinion

Instructor: Marianne Constable,

4 Units

 T/Th 5:00-6:30pm, Dwinelle 209

 

The end of the 2017-18 U.S. Supreme Court term ended with a bang and a whimper. In several notable and divided opinions, the nine Justices decided major cases on immigration and Presidential powers, on the religion of businesses and gay rights, on redistricting and voting rights, and on union dues by public employees. Various responses have followed.
This course will focus around these opinions to learn about legal vocabulary, legal speech acts (and how they matter), and the legal system. Although the rhetoric and decisions of the Supreme Court often receive the greatest attention, it is important to understand that much law happens in other places, venues, and genres - which we will also consider - as we inquire into Supreme Court jurisprudence [and whether it can be considered "great theory"].


Requirements include attendance, participation, weekly reading and writing assignments, and a final paper. Attendance during the first 2 weeks is required: enrolled students who do not attend will be dropped in favor of those who do.

Readings: S Ct opinions; Burns, A Theory of the Trial; J.L.Austin, How to Do Things with Words; other articles and materials to be posted on B-space