Liberty Seminar   [Archived Catalog]
2016-2017 School of Law Bulletin (Archived Copy)

LAWS 668 - Liberty Seminar

Credits: 2

This seminar examines a difficulty at the heart of the Constitution's commitment to liberty: how can we reconcile majority rule with individual rights? That is to say, how can we curtail our ability to govern ourselves as part of a community or our right to be free of interference in how we choose to live our own lives without sacrificing an important part of our freedom? To see whether there is any principled basis for limiting either collective judgment or individual liberty, students will review some of the more prominent arguments of political philosophy, paying particularly close attention to the writings of two great champions of liberty, John Stuart Mill and Isaiah Berlin. They will then examine competing conceptions of liberty as they relate to a number of specific legal topics, which may include the following: whether a patient has a right to assisted suicide; the ability of the majority to regulate or forbid certain sexual practices; the arguments for and against campaign finance reform; and the role of the business corporation in a free society.

Prerequisites: None

Note: This course satisfies the perspective course requirement, but does not satisfy the graduation writing requirement.

Basis of Grade: Response papers, class participation, and final paper