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American University Washington College of Law    
  Feb 19, 2018
2017-2018 Catalog

LAW - 983 Presidential Strategies on Rights

(2 hrs.)

Most constitutional law is made outside of the courts. Presidents are especially well placed to make constitutional law within their sphere of action, as well as to influence the development of rights in others’ spheres of influence. Students will examine the opportunities available to modern presidents to advance or erode constitutional and statutory rights. They also will explore the social conditions-within bureaucracies and society as a whole-that must prevail for an administration to make the transformation of existing rights a priority. Finally, assuming the perspective of an executive branch actor, they will assess the tactics available when a president is committed to altering dominant conceptions of rights: when each strategy is most tempting, what the historical or legal precedents are for each tactic, how effective it is, and how we make such judgments.