This course provides an introduction to the federal laws and governmental institutions that shape significant aspects of social and economic policy. The course addresses legislation, statutory interpretation, regulation and administrative agencies. Legislation and regulation play the dominant role in shaping law and governance in the modern American legal system. While numerous other law school courses involve statutes and regulations or legislatures and administrative agencies, this course considers the overarching questions about these laws and institutions: how statutes are enacted and agency regulations issued, what tools lawyers use to shape statutes and regulations, how judges interpret them, etc. The main goal of the course is practical. All lawyers, irrespective of the area of law—from securities law to criminal law, from environmental law to tax, from labor and employment law to contract drafting, from military law to bankruptcy, etc.—must understand statutes and regulation. This course is aimed at providing students with a deeper understanding of these forms of law and the institutions that make this law, and to help them better appreciate the role that lawyers play in the American legal system as it operates in practice. To think like a lawyer, and hence to represent or advise clients, requires an ability to do so in the context of the regulatory state.
This course meets the Legal Process graduation requirement.
(i) To understand the role of legislatures, administrative agencies, and courts in the legal process.
(ii) To understand the relationship between and among these institutions.
(iii) To understand the role that lawyers play in furthering their clients’ interests in each of these institutions.
(iv) To understand the differences in the forms of legal argument that occur in these different institutions.
(v) To understand how courts interpret statutes.
(vi) To understand how administrative agencies interpret and implement statutes.
(vii) To understand how courts oversee the interpretation and implementation of statutes by administrative agencies.