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Voting Rights Seminar (Ross)
Fall 2020   LAW 941-001  

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Meeting Times/Location
M 6:40PM - 8:40PM

Faculty
Deuel Ross

Lecturer in Law

deuel@pennlaw.upenn.edu
Additional Information

Skills Training
Oral Presentations
Team Projects
Drafting Legal Documents

Grading
25% Participation,
50% Paper,
25% Other (Final paper will be 50% of your grade; 25% of your grade will be smaller paper; and 25% will be classroom discussion assignments. )

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

Yes

Location

Class meets online.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- If you are absent, due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can ask for volunteers among your classmates to share their notes with you.

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

- If you are absent due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can make PowerPoint slides or other class materials available to you.

- When you are better, please make an appointment to meet with me and I will review/answer questions about what you missed.

- If you anticipate being absent due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I will record the class.

Category
Seminar

Credits
3.0

For over a century, the United States Supreme Court has recognized the right to vote as the “fundamental political right,” emphasizing that “the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of [all] other basic civil and political rights.” Unfortunately, for most of American history, the courts, the states, the federal government, and the law have failed to adequately protect the voting rights of Black, Latinx, Native American, and other voters of color. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is an important exception to that general rule. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the legal, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of the Voting Rights Act from 1965 to today. Students will examine the grassroots activism, politics, and litigation that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the the Act’s undoing in 2013 in the Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder decision. Students will also study ongoing controversies in voting rights litigation, including voting in the COVID-19 era, racially discriminatory voter identification laws, restrictions on early voting, voter purges and other practices that have limited the ability of voters of color to freely exercise the right to vote. The course may include guest lectures by practicing voting rights litigators. Students are expected to attend all classes, however, some classes may be canceled by the instructor due to litigation-related scheduling conflicts.

Course Concentrations

Constitutional Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of constitutional law; Perform legal analysis in the context of constitutional law; Communicate effectively on topics related to constitutional law; Demonstrate an understanding of constitutional law affects other areas of law.

Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.

Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.

Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.

Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.