904 SP Con Law: Making of Brown v Board of Education - §004, Spring 2010

Categories: Constitutional Law

Instructor(s) Snyder, Brad

Making of Brown
v. Board of Education
  If you like role playing, would enjoy re-arguing
and re-writing a landmark Supreme Court decision, and want to understand the
different ways that Brown could have
and should have been written, then this seminar is for you.  Students will play Thurgood Marshall on
behalf of the NAACP, John W. Davis for the state of

South Carolina
, and each of the nine justices, writing and arguing
briefs as Marshall and Davis and asking questions and writing opinions in the
voices of those justices.  The briefs,
questions, and opinions will be based in part on primary sources I have culled
from conference notes, draft opinions, and memos from the justices’ personal
papers as well as interviews gathered from other archival sources.  They will be based on readings from important
secondary sources such as Richard Kluger’s Simple
and Michael Klarman’s From
Jim Crow to Civil Rights
.  And they
will be based on close readings of Supreme Court cases leading up to Brown. After we have re-argued, re-decided, and re-written Brown, the seminar will explore the implications of how Brown was actually written on modern
equal protection law.  We will read
subsequent cases and focus on Brown’s
impact on the modern affirmative action debate as well as other areas.  The class will involve a combination of
reading, appellate advocacy (written and oral), and writing.  In addition to writing an opinion or brief,
students will write short papers each week instead of a final exam. 

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