2014 J-Term Courses and Faculty Profiles

LAW 546C The Law of Democracy

LAW 546E Race and the Law in the Civil Rights Movement

LAW 546F Refugee and Asylum Law

LAW 546G Strategic Ocean Litigation

LAW 546J Construing the Hawai'i Constitution


LAW 546C: The Law of Democracy 

Instructor: Richard H. Pildes, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

This course covers the law that structures democratic politics and the processes of democracy, with a primary focus on constitutional law.  Subjects covered will be selected from a list that includes the individual right to vote and participate; redistricting; campaign finance regulation and reform; resolution of disputed elections; the role of groups and associations such as political parties in democratic politics; the tension between majorities and minorities in the design of representative institutions; and the role of courts in overseeing democratic processes.  The course will include a good deal of material about contemporary legal issues in this area, including issues from the 2012 presidential election, the Supreme Court's decision last Term to hold unconstitutional part of the Voting Rights Act, the current cases on campaign finance before the Court, and the extreme partisan polarization of American government – its causes, consequences, and possible cures.

  • About the Instructor - Richard Pildes is one of the nation’s leading scholars of public law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received recognition as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Carnegie Scholar.

    Pildes is an expert on such topics as the Voting Rights Act, alternative voting systems (such as cumulative voting), the history of disfranchisement in the United States, and the general relationship between constitutional law and democratic politics in the design of democratic institutions themselves. Respect for his expertise in these areas is reflected in frequent citations of his work in U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the publication of his work in several languages, and his frequent public lectures and appearances, including his nomination with the NBC News Team for an Emmy Award for coverage of the 2000 Presidential election litigation.  Pildes has also written on other theoretical and practical aspects of public policy. This work includes analysis of how to improve design of risk regulation the health, safety, and environmental fields.

    He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The American Prospect, and similar journals. Apart from his academic work, Pildes has also served as counsel to a group of former chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission in litigation challenging the constitutionality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; as counsel in election litigation to the Puerto Rico Electoral Commission; as counsel to the government of Puerto Rico; as a federal court-appointed independent expert on voting rights litigation; and as counsel in successful Supreme Court litigation that challenged the way the United States Tax Court operated.

    Pildes received his A.B. in physical chemistry summa cum laude from Princeton, and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard. He was Supreme Court Note Editor on the Harvard Law Review. He clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, after which he practiced law in Boston. He began his academic career at the University of Michigan Law School and joined the NYU School of Law faculty in 2000.  In addition to his course on The Law of Democracy, Pildes also teaches courses in legislation, constitutional law, and administrative law.




LAW 546E: Race and the Law in the Civil Rights Movement

Instructor: Kenneth Mack, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

* Frank Boas Harvard Visiting Professor

This seminar will consider the ways that the civil rights movement in the United States was fundamentally a struggle over law and the role of lawyers.  It will do so by stepping out of the familiar narrative of the litigation campaign that resulted in Brown v. Board of Education, as well as narratives that focus on familiar guidepost such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Instead, the seminar will focus on how the civil rights movement prompted an overlapping set of debates concerning, among other topics:  (1) the role of lawyers, and what it means to be a public interest lawyer, (2) the relationship between civil rights lawyers and the communities they claim to represent, (3) the relationship between law and the construction of racial identity, and (4) the appropriateness of the civil rights movement as a model for other movements struggling for equality.

  • About the Instructor - Kenneth W. Mack is the inaugural Lawrence Biele Professor of Law at Harvard University, and the co-faculty leader of the Harvard Law School Program on Law and History.  His research and writing have focused on the legal and constitutional history of American race relations. His 2012 book, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (Harvard University Press), was selected as a Top 50 Non-fiction Book of the Year by the Washington Post, was awarded honorable mention for the J. Willard Hurst Award by the Law and Society Association, and was a finalist for the Julia Ward Howe Book Award.  His is also the co-editor of The New Black: What Has Changed – And What Has Not – With Race in America (New Press, 2013).  He has written opinion pieces for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, The Root, Baltimore Sun, and other popular media.  In 2007, he was named as an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellow by the Fletcher Foundation.  During the 2008 and 2012 Presidential election cycles, he offered commentary on number of national television and print media outlets. He began his professional career as an electrical engineer at Bell Laboratories before turning to law, and history.  Before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and practiced law in the Washington, D.C. office of the firm, Covington & Burling.



LAW 546F: Refugee and Asylum Law

Instructor: Michelle McKinley, Professor of Law, University of Oregon School of Law

This course is designed to teach students the fundamental doctrines of refugee and asylum law—i.e. the way nation-states receive and care for innocent victims of larger man-made or natural disasters that cause millions of people to seek refuge in other states. The course will introduce students to basic concepts in Humanitarian law, Public International Law, and the Law of Human Rights. Students will also be exposed to contemporary issues of governance through studying the work of international institutions such as the U.N.H.C.R. and non-governmental humanitarian/relief organizations that have made a transition from crisis management to longer-term community development and social empowerment. While not absolutely required, it is helpful for students to have taken at least an introductory course in Public International Law, International Human Rights Law or Immigration Law, or exposure to upper-level courses in International Politics at the undergraduate level.

  • About the Instructor - Michelle McKinley is the Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law. Previously she served as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. McKinley has published extensively on public international law, globalization, and legal history, particularly the law of slavery.  Her articles appear in the Law and History Review; Slavery & Abolition; Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice; Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power; Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, and Unbound: Harvard Law Journal of the Legal Leftamong others. She has been awarded fellowships for her research from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Newberry Library. She was awarded the Surrency Prize in 2011 for her article, “Fractional Freedoms:Legal Activism & Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1700.



LAW 546G: Strategic Ocean Litigation

Instructor: Steve Roady, Earthjustice

This course explores how the law can be deployed to help ensure the sustainability of ocean and coastal ecosystems.  We examine cases and materials that reflect the manner in which governments use, manage, and protect these ecosystems.  We cover particular challenges that threaten ocean and coastal ecosystems, including pollution, land development, overfishing and climate change.   We address a wide range of regulatory and judicial approaches to such resources as estuaries, wetlands, beaches, reefs, fisheries, endangered species, and specially managed areas.

It is important to study and understand various methods for managing and protecting these vital ecosystems. They are central to the balanced functioning of our planet; yet over the course of the past two decades, it has become apparent that they are increasingly threatened. Accordingly, this course endeavors to familiarize students with legal and policy approaches that can prove useful in efforts to ensure that these ecosystems will continue to produce the services needed to sustain life as we know it.


  • About the Instructor - Steve Roady is Managing Attorney for Oceans at Earthjustice, a public interest law firm with nine offices across the United States, where he focuses on ocean conservation, ecosystem protection, and other environmental issues.  He has worked on ocean policy and litigation since 1998, when he launched the Ocean Law Project at Earthjustice.  During 2001-2002, Mr. Roady was the first president of Oceana, a non-profit, international ocean conservation organization initiated by the Pew Charitable Trusts.  At Earthjustice, Mr. Roady oversees a docket of federal cases designed to protect the ocean ecosystem from overfishing, excessive bycatch, and various forms of pollution (including noise).  In addition, he assists with a range of advocacy efforts to conserve international ocean resources such as highly migratory species.  For the past several years, he also has worked to protect small island nations from the effects of climate change, including ocean acidification. Mr. Roady served as a Visiting Professor with the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii in 2002.  He is an Adjunct Professor with the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, where he has taught ocean and coastal law and policy since 2003.  In addition, he has been teaching a course on ocean law and policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies since 2010.  He has received a Professor of the Year Award from the Duke School of the Environment and has been named a Public Interest Fellow by Harvard Law School.  His most recent published writings focus on the ocean stewardship duties imposed upon governments by the Public Trust Doctrine.   

LAW 546J: Construing the Hawai'i Constitution

Instructor: Hon. Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawai'i

  • About the Instructor - Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. was sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawai`i on May 19, 2000. Justice Acoba served as a judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai`i from May 26, 1994 to May 18, 2000. Following completion of law school, Justice Acoba served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice, in 1970 he joined the University of Hawai`i as special assistant to President Harlan Cleveland, and in 1971 he served as a deputy attorney general.Justice Acoba was in private practice from 1973 to 1980. From 1975 to 1977, he served as special counsel to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health for Hawai`i.  In addition, he was special counsel to the Campaign Spending Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.

    In 1979, Justice Acoba was appointed by Chief Justice Richardson as a per diem judge in the District Court of the First Circuit. In 1980, he was elevated to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, where he served until his appointment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in 1994.Justice Acoba is a 1962 graduate of Farrington High School. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Hawai`i in 1966 and his law degree from Northwestern University Law School in 1969.