This course will examine the role of the U.S. civil rights movement in the development of U.S. constitutional law. Conventional theories of judicial independence do not define a legitimate role for social movements in the transformation of U.S. constitutional law, but recent advances in legal scholarship have underscored the co-constitutive relationship between law and social movements. Accordingly, this course will explore how movement participants engaged the U.S. Constitution and how these encounters shaped constitutional doctrine, social institutions, public discourse, and movement participants themselves. We will investigate the processes of mobilization and counter-mobilization and reflect on how the U.S. civil rights movement often spurred constitutional change through means other than constitutionally specified procedures. We will also consider how and why movements fail and will critically analyze rights-based approaches to reform. 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