KAMENAR , PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION I

 

PAUL D KAMENAR., DIRECTOR; 703-993-8000/202-588-0302

CREDITS: 3 (also satisfies as a writing course for writing requirement)

CLASS SCHEDULE: DAY DIVISION: TUE/THUR: 10:30AM - 11:45AM EVENING DIV.: TUE/THUR: 6:00PM - 7:15PM

COURSE OVERVIEW:

This new clinic, formally known as the Washington Legal Foundation Economic Freedom Law Clinic at George Mason University School of Law, is being sponsored by the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), a nonprofit public interest law and policy center based in Washington, D.C. The course will be directed and taught by Clinical Professor of Law, Paul D. Kamenar, who is also WLF's Executive Legal Director. Students will be exposed to a broad area of public interest law and public policy issues, including the development of the public interest law movement and the shaping of public policy through litigation, regulatory, and advocacy strategies primarily from a pro-free enterprise, limited government, and economic freedom perspective. Students will have an opportunity to participate in "hands-on" legal activities in conjunction with WLF.

The clinic will be offered again as Public Interest Litigation II in the Spring Semester, 2000. While the fall semester is not a prerequisite for the spring course, it is highly recommended. The clinic will seek to draw on other courses that students may have taken or may be enrolled in, and include a broad range of constitutional, statutory, and administrative law.

Topics covered will vary depending on class size, interest, and selected clinic activities. The range of topics for both fall and spring semesters include the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and property rights; Commerce Clause jurisdiction; Due Process Clause; Separation of Powers (including Tenth Amendment issues, non-delegation doctrine, and jurisdictional issues such as standing and justiciability); First Amendment and commercial free speech; regulation of business; administrative law and procedure, including rulemaking and judicial review of agency action; environmental law and regulation; product liability law, punitive damages, and other civil justice and criminal law topics. Students will have the opportunity to participate in federal agency rulemaking proceedings, investigate questionable agency practices and policies through research and use of the Freedom of Information Act, and challenge agency action on substantive and procedural grounds. Students will also have the opportunity to write one or more short legal policy papers or analyses on cutting-edge legal issues or recent court decisions (2-4 pages). Other activities will include legal research and drafting legal memoranda, and/or briefs for original litigation or as amicus curiae in conjunction with WLF sponsored or supported litigation.

Students will attend and critique at least one Supreme Court oral argument of their choice in a case relevant to the clinic's subject matter, as well as read the briefs in that case (2-4 pages). Currently, there are four such arguments for the fall, and there may be more scheduled within the coming weeks:

1. Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services Issue: Standing/mootness in citizen suit seeking civil penalties for Clean Water Act violation. Date: October 12, 1999, 11:00AM

2. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin v. Southworth Issue: First Amendment right of objecting students to pay student fees to subsidize campus student groups Date: TBA (November calendar)

3. Reno v. Condon Issue: Tenth Amendment implication of federal law regulating use by states of information on state-issued driver's license. Date: TBA

4. Mitchell v. Helms Issue: Establishment Clause implication of use of federal funds to provide computer equipment and books for nonpublic schools. Date: TBA

Students are expected to complete a minimum of 15-pages of substantive legal writing in the form of memoranda, briefs, Supreme Court oral argument critiques, legal policy papers, regulatory comments, other legal documents such as Freedom of Information requests and appeals, or a combination thereof per semester.

GRADING: There is no final exam. Grading will be based on the quality of the student's written work, research activity, and class participation.