Professor Brendon Swedlow Political Science (POLS) 495-P1
firstname.lastname@example.org 815.753.7061 NIU Fall 2005
Office: 418 Zulauf Hall Mondays
Hours: MW DuSable 464
Seminar in Current Problems:
What role do courts, regulatory agencies, and other legal
institutions play in the
Initial readings will educate us about the roles courts play in policymaking and in changing the way Americans live their lives. We will critically examine the policy and social impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that segregation in public schools violated the Constitution’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.” What role, if any, did Brown v. Board of Education play in such de-segregation of public schools as has occurred?
Additional readings will teach us about the roles law, litigation, and courts have played in equalizing the financing of public schools, enforcing civil rights laws in labor unions, protecting the Northern Spotted Owl, making tobacco companies liable for smoking-related diseases, reforming the welfare system, reducing racial disparities in earnings, collecting income taxes, banning public smoking, regulating paper mills, helping people with disabilities, providing social security, regulating poly-vinyl chloride, overseeing nursing homes, handling vagrants, and punishing drunk drivers.
Before we have read and discussed all of these case studies
we will pause to consider how such studies might be done in ways that could
teach us even more about the roles courts, regulatory agencies, and other legal
institutions play in the
We will read and discuss a research proposal I have written
describing my on-going research on risk regulation in
The balance of the seminar consists of readings that direct
our attention from the policy and social impacts courts, regulatory agencies,
and other legal institutions have in the
Is “adversarial legalism” the “American way of law,” as some
of our readings claim? If so, what explains why
Seminar Requirements: Weekly
Two books are
required and available for purchase at the
Gerald N. Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? (University of Chicago Press, 1991).
Robert A. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism: The
Additional readings are available on e-reserves at Founder’s Library. I will give you the url in seminar.
Each week before our Monday meeting please read the articles and book excerpts corresponding to the topic heading in this syllabus for that week. Each week please also write a short, 2-3 page “discussion paper” based on those readings. Your discussion paper should be synthetic and analytical, not just a synopsis or description of what you read, although you should be able to summarize the main points of readings for discussion. I will frequently provide some questions to guide your reading and writing of discussion papers.
You should post your discussion paper to the seminar Blackboard discussion board no later than the Sunday night before the Monday meeting at which we will discuss those readings.
As we think, write about, and discuss each week’s readings, trying to answer these questions for yourself may also prove helpful:
Discussion papers will receive letter grades and, together with class participation, will determine your participation grade – which will be 50% of your seminar grade. The remaining 50% of your grade will be based on a seminar paper. There is no final exam but you will be presenting the results of your research to each other and me during our final exam period.
Seminar Requirements: The Paper Proposal, Paper, and Presentation
Paper proposals should be 3-5 pages in length and have a preliminary bibliography. Paper proposals should pose a clearly defined question; give a preliminary review of sources (secondary if possible, primary if necessary) that will be used to address the question; and indicate what contribution an answer to the question will make to our knowledge in that area.
The seminar paper
should be an article-length (i.e., 20-30 page) paper on a course-related topic.
We can discuss paper ideas in seminar as they arise. If you have an idea, please
tell me at the beginning of our class meeting that you would like to raise it
in seminar, so that we can allow time for discussion. Students electing to
study risk regulation in
The timeline for submitting paper proposals and seminar paper is as follows:
October 10th Paper Proposal Due
December 5th Final Seminar Paper Due
December 5th Present Paper in Seminar during Final Exam Period
Seminar Requirements: Academic Conduct
“Academic misconduct” is defined by the NIU Student Judicial Code as the “receipt or transmission of unauthorized aid on assignments or examinations, plagiarism, unauthorized use of examination materials, or other forms of dishonesty in academic matters.” Academic misconduct is not expected. If it occurs, it is a serious matter and will be handled according to university guidelines.
Department of Political Science Announcements
The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.
Under Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable
accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with
disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they
may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability
Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the
Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu
WEEK 1 (No Discussion Paper)
Introductions, Seminar Overview, Presentation by Prof. Swedlow
“Reason for Hope? The Spotted Owl Injunctions and Policy and Social Change”
WEEK 2 (No Discussion Paper)
A. The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? (G. Rosenberg)
“The Dynamic and Constrained Court” 9-36
“Bound for Glory? Brown and the Civil Rights Revolution 42-71
“Constraints, Conditions, and the Courts” 72-106
WEEK 3 NO CLASS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH, LABOR DAY
WEEK 4 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
B. The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? (G. Rosenberg)
“Planting the Seeds of Progress?” 107-156
“The Current of History” 157-174
M. McCann, "Reform Litigation on Trial," 17 Law & Social Inquiry 715-43 (1993)
WEEK 5 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
C. Other Studies, Different Answers, to
D. Reed, "Twenty-Five Years after Rodriguez: School Finance Litigation and the
Impact of the New Judicial Federalism," 32 Law & Society Rev. 175-220 (1998)
P. Frymer, “Acting When Elected Officials Won’t: Federal Courts and Civil
Rights Enforcement in
B. Swedlow, “Reason for Hope? The Spotted Owl Injunctions and Policy and Social
Change,” Law and Society Association, 2005.
WEEK 6 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
II. SOCIO-LEGAL STUDIES: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
R. Kagan, "What Socio-Legal Scholars Should Do When There is Too Much Law to Study," J. of Law & Society 22: 140-146 (1995)
A. Wildavsky, “
A. NIU Project
on Risk Regulation Regimes in
B. Swedlow, “Risk Regulation
Proposal under Submission to the Smith
Please Note: This week we will also read one or more student research papers (from a
previous seminar) on
risk regulation in
in class; topics may include the regulation of air pollution, smoking, marijuana,
formaldehyde, hexachlorophene, ammonia, or poly-vinyl chloride.
WEEK 7 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
B. Risk Regulation Regimes in
C. Hood, H. Rothstein, and R. Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding
“What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? Why Do They Matter?” 3-19.
“The Comparative Anatomy of Risk Regulation Regimes,” 20-35.
“Nine Risk Regulation Regimes Compared,” 36-58.
WEEK 8 (Post Discussion Paper and Paper Proposal to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
A. Courts and Policymaking: Other Studies, Questions, and Answers
M. Heise, “The Courts, Educational Policy, and Unintended Consequences,” 11 Cornell J. of Law & Public Policy 633-63 (2002)
R. Rabin, “The Third Wave of Tobacco Tort Litigation,” in R. Rabin & S. Sugarman, eds., Regulating Tobacco (Oxford Univ Press, 2001) pp. 176-206
R. S. Melnick, "Federalism and the New Rights," Yale Policy Review/Yale J. on
Regulation (Symposium Issue, 1996), pp. 325-354
WEEK 9 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
B. Law, Litigation, and Social Change: Other Studies, Questions, and Answers
D. Gaiter, “Eating Crow: How Shoney’s, Belted by a Lawsuit, Found the Path to Diversity,”
Wall Street Journal,
P. Burstein & M. Edwards, “The Impact of Employment Discrimination Litigation on
Racial Disparity in Earnings,” 28 Law & Society Rev. 79-85, 90, 105-08 (1994)
Robert A. Kagan, “Visibility of Violations and Income Tax Law Noncompliance” in Jeffrey
Roth & John Scholz, eds., Taxpayer Compliance. Vol. 2, Social Science Perspectives. Univ.
Pennsylvania Press, 1989, pp. 76-102 (plus notes)
Robert A. Kagan & Jerome Skolnick, “Banning Smoking: Compliance without Coercion,”
in Robert Rabin & Stephen Sugarman, eds. Smoking Policy: Law, Policy and Politics.
WEEK 10 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
A. Adversarial Legalism: The
R. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism: The
“The Concept of Adversarial Legalism,” 3-17.
“The Two Faces of Adversarial Legalism,” 18-33.
“The Political Construction of Adversarial Legalism,” 34-58.
T. Burke, "On the Rights Track: The Americans With Disabilities Act, " in Pietro Nivola, ed., Comparative Disadvantages? Social Regulations and American Adversarial Legalism (Brookings Inst. 1997) pp. 242-92
WEEK 11 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
B. Bureaucratic Justice & Adversarial Legalism in Regulatory Settings
R. A. Kagan, “Inside Administrative Law: Review of Jerry L. Mashaw, Bureaucratic Justice, Columbia L. Rev. 84: 816-832
R. A. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism, pp. 22-32 (review), 207-224
J. Badaracco, Loading The Dice: A Five Country Study of Vinyl Chloride Regulation (Harv.Business School Press, 1985) pp. 5-18, 40-59, 70-81, 113-125.
WEEK 12 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
C. Rules, Ritualism, and Discretion in Administration and Regulation
R. A. Kagan, Regulatory Justice (Russell Sage Foundation, 1978) pp. 5, 37, 85-97.
J. Braithwaite, "The Nursing Home Industry," in Tonry & Reiss, eds, Crime and Justice (Univ. Chicago Press, 1993) 18: 11-54
Eugene Bardach & Robert A. Kagan, Going by The Book: The Problem of Regulatory Unreasonableness (Temple Univ. Press 1982) pp. 123-151
WEEK 13 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
C. Foote, "Vagrancy-Type Law and Its Administration" (1956),
M. Feeley, The Process is The Punishment: Handling Cases in a Lower Criminal Court (1979) pp. 3-4, 154-55, 178-85, 199-201, 235-43, 290-91
H.L. Ross & J. Foley, "Judicial Disobedience of the Mandate to Imprison Drunk Drivers," 21 Law & Soc. Rev. 315-22 (1987)
M. Levin, "Urban Politics and Judicial Behavior," [excerpted version, J. Robertson, ed., Rough Justice: Perspectives on Lower Criminal Courts (Little Brown, 1979) pp. 192-210
WEEK 14 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
E. Criminal Court Procedure in the
M. Damaska, “Structures of Authority and Comparative Criminal Procedure,’ 84 Yale L.J. 480 (1975), excerpted version from R. Cover & O. Fiss, The Structure of Procedure (Foundation Press, 1979) pp. 292-300
J. Langbein, "Land Without Plea Bargaining: How the Germans Do It." 78 Mich. L. Rev. 204-225 (1979)
G. Hughes, "English
Criminal Justice: Is It Better Than Ours?' 26
J. Langbein, "Money
Talks, Clients Walk," Newsweek,
D. Johnson, "The Organization of Prosecution and the Possibility of Order," 32 Law & Society Rev. 247-308 (1998)
WEEK 15 (Post Discussion Paper to Seminar Blackboard Discussion Board)
F. Civil Litigation
R. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism (2001) pp. 99-125, 135-141
D. Bok, "A Flawed System of Law Practice and Training." Harvard Magazine (May/June 1983) pp. 38-44
O. Fiss, "Against Settlement" 93 Yale L.J. 1073 (1984) [from Cover et al, Procedure (1988) pp. 719-728]
WEEK 16 (Final Paper Due, Paper Presentations, Monday, December 5th)