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Law 561A - The Cutting Edge of Legal Scholarship (Shiffrin/Sager): Home

The Cutting Edge of Legal Scholarship: New Books on Constitutional Law and Legal Theory

Course Description

This course will be co-taught by Professor Shiffrin and Visiting Professor Larry Sager. 

We will read four new books on theoretical and practical issues concerning equality, a fundamental concept in our legal system.  All the works we will read will be published in 2017 or forthcoming.  

In the fall, we will begin with Jeremy Waldron’s forthcoming book On Another’s Equals: The Basis for Equality.  The book attempts to ground the judgment that all humans are moral equals and to explain that truth in light of our evident differences as individuals, while also interpreting how our moral status relates to that of animals.  We will then turn to an analysis of the implications of equality for economic distribution, labor policy, and democracy, by reading Elizabeth Anderson’s new book Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It). In the spring, we will read Catherine MacKinnon’s new collection, Butterfly Politics, advancing a feminist interpretation of equality and its implications for the legal system. We will end the course with a more in-depth examination of Thomas Scanlon’s Why Does Inequality Matter?, culminating in a discussion with Tim Scanlon, the author.

 Although we ask students to read the entire book, about two weeks before each session, we will identify about 3-4 chapters (approximately 100-200 pages) on which discussion will focus.  Students will be asked to submit two developed questions or comments to an on-line discussion board the week before each session.

Copies of the book will be made available on reserve in the library and electronic copies on a password-protected course website.