Topics in Appellate Law and Policy (2 credits)

This course focuses on a broad range of special topics involving appellate law and policy of current or ongoing interest in the legal, academic and political communities. The focus will be on topics that are of great interest to appellate lawyers and judges, but which are not traditionally touched upon in law school appellate advocacy courses. The course will provide overviews and discussion of many such topics. First, the course will provide students with an overview of the federal and state appellate systems with emphasis on their structure, performance and potential reform including topics such as dividing large appellate courts, adding judges and altering jurisdiction. Second, issues of current debate, such as judicial independence, judicial selection methods, judicial free speech, and judicial ethics will be presented. Third, an overview of the judicial decision-making process, opinions and opinion writing, and the role of appellate advocates will be presented. Finally, a number of other topics, such as technology in appellate courts and the media, will be presented. Prerequisites: None