Constitutional Litigation

Quick Info
(3630.03)  Seminar
H. Schwartz; Adjunct Professor
3 credit(s)  2 hour(s);
Seminar, discussion, presentation of oral and written argument
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

This is a fun course with equal emphasis on both oral and written advocacy. Debate, questions, brainstorming and discourse are encouraged.  

Students will be involved in almost all of the steps of a constitutional case, from the initial claim, to cross-examinations, to arguing a preliminary motion and culminating in a final factum and moot before a panel of judges with students receiving both oral and written feedback throughout.

We will focus on a substantive area of constitutional law (ex., freedom of expression, equality or division of powers) as well as questions of procedure, evidence (adjudicative and legislative, privilege) and judicial notice. A key focus is on the importance of remedies as an initial consideration, not as an afterthought.  

The seminar also involves working through problems in small groups and presenting positions in class.
Seminar topics are designed to be in service of the final moot and factum. Topics typically include: the role of the courts in constitutional litigation; commencing a constitutional case; drafting pleadings; government action under s.32 of the Charter; standing; selecting the appropriate court and procedure; mootness, interventions; role of the Attorney General; evidence in constitutional cases, proving constitutional facts, the role of experts and drafting effective affidavits, examination of government witnesses, presentation and assessment of social science data in the adversarial system; drafting constitutional arguments and presenting them effectively; oral advocacy; the importance of remedies for constitutional infringements; litigation strategies for public interest groups and case studies.