Rule of Law and its Threats

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/16
Credits: 3
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • W
  • 1100-1300
  • WB129
08/31/2022 12/07/2022
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

These days one hears lots of talk about “the rule of law” – and threats to it – both in the popular press and in the legal academy. But what exactly is the rule of law? Why (if at all) is it valuable? And what legal or political practices does a commitment to it require and forbid? In this seminar we will take up such questions by examining the rule of law in theory and practice. We will first look to some of the philosophical literature on the rule of law. We will then examine several case studies arising in different legal contexts – from the Fugitive Slave Act to the Nuremberg Trials to the recent protests over policing – where questions about the rule of law (or its absence) have taken center stage. Works studied include those by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Frederick Douglass, Lon Fuller, Catharine MacKinnon, Joseph Raz, and Jeremy Waldron.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will be required to submit one 4-5 page paper (directly to instructors, not via EXPO), during the semester, as well as one 10-12 page paper (via EXPO) by noon on the last day of the finals period.

Other Work
Grades will be based on (1) one 4-5 pp. paper, (2) one 10-12 pp. paper (3) a class presentation, and (4) class participation.

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
ABA Seminar
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Wednesday, November 30, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM