This course is cross listed with Law 225.1
This seminar is designed to introduce students to the study of public law-- a subfield of political science that focuses on the relationships between law and politics, and between politics and the design, behavior, and impact of legal institutions. Readings for the Spring Semester 2012, drawing on comparative as well as American studies, focus on the political sources of the rule of law, judicial independence and constitutional courts; typologies of legal systems and legal institutions; explaining variation in the role of courts in governance; studies of decisionmaking by judges and other legal decision-makers; and studies of the capacity of law and courts to affect policy and social change. In the course of addressing these topics, the seminar will familiarize students with prominent approaches to research and explanation in public law. A paper of at least 30 pages on a topic relating to the themes of the course and discussed with the instructor is required.