Social Justice Impact Litigation: Issues and Strategies
This seminar will explore strategic and legal issues related to using law reform and social justice litigation to advance constitutional and civil rights of vulnerable communities. The course will be informed by the instructor's three decades of experience litigating class action and appellate cases, including in the Supreme Court, on behalf of immigrants and civil rights plaintiffs as the founder and former director of the ACLU national Immigrants' Rights Project. We will consider some background legal doctrine and practical problems. Among the issues that may be included are selecting and using test cases; strategic pleading; class action problems; the role of amicus briefs; suits for damages versus injunctive relief; standing and mootness; ethical problems; settlement strategies; coalition litigation; use of public advocacy and media; the effect of lawsuits on policymakers and government officials; and litigation to achieve legislative change. Guest speakers may be invited. The seminar is not open to 1L students. Enrollment is limited. Grading will be based on class participation and written work of at least 18 pages. In consultation with the instructor at the beginning of the course, students will have the option of choosing either to submit a final paper or a series of reflection or analytical pieces responding to seminar issues or guests. All students enrolled in the course are eligible for Writing (W) credit. With the instructor's prior consent, a limited number of students may be approved for Research (R) credit for writing a substantial research paper on an approved topic. After the term begins, students approved for R credit will transfer from section (01) into section (02). Consent Application: To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students) to the instructor. See Consent Application Form for submission deadline. Elements used in grading: Class participation (50%) and written submissions (50%).