The Duke Law master of Judicial Studies degree program consists of 22 credits, four of which are earned through the writing of a thesis based on original research. Each summer features four weeks of courses comprising nine credits, taken at Duke Law School. Courses will vary depending on faculty and current events. Below is a list of the courses that are likely to be offered over a two-summer period.
Advanced Topics in Federalism
This course will explore the history and political theory of federalism, divergent models of federalism (e.g., dual federalism, process federalism, cooperative federalism), the relationship between federalism and political identity, and the role of courts in enforcing federalism, with some attention to comparisons with other federal systems in Europe, Canada, and Australia.
Professor Margaret H. Lemos
Robert G. Seaks LL.B. ’34 Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Research
Professor Ernest A. Young
Alston & Bird Professor of Law
American Constitutional Interpretation
This course examines enduring and recent issues in American constitutional interpretation. Topics include: (1) the basic forms of constitutional argument; (2) originalism and living constitutionalism; (3) originalism as living constitutionalism; (4) the legitimacy and meaning of Brown v. Board of Education; (5) the influence of political forces on judicial interpretations of the Constitution; (6) the dynamics of constitutional change; and (7) the importance (and limitations) of restraint in both the judiciary and the political branches. Case studies consider historic or current controversies over the national bank, gun rights, school desegregation, health care reform, and same-sex marriage.
Professor Neil S. Siegel
David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, and Director of the DC Summer Institute on Law and Policy
This course will focus on developing literacy in quantitative and formal analysis in the social sciences, including statistics, empirical evidence, and game theory. The course is designed for students without social science backgrounds and will provide a foundation for reading and interpreting statistics, studies, and other quantitative methods or evidence judges may encounter.
Professor John de Figueiredo
Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law, Strategy, and Economics
This seminar will examine important constitutional issues that have arisen in recent Supreme Court cases and will use those cases as a vehicle for considering broader questions of constitutional interpretation and Supreme Court practice, such as theories of interpretation and the role of Stare Decisis.
The Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
United States Supreme Court
Finance for Judges
The purpose of this course is to familiarize sitting judges with the latest developments in finance in general and corporate finance in particular. The goal is to provide judges with information that will allow them to better understand the reports and testimony of financial experts and to assess their credentials and evidence in judicial proceedings.
Elisabeth de Fontenay
Professor of Law
The purpose of this seminar is to examine how judicial institutions and individual judges approach particularly complex and interesting problems. The sessions also will present the opportunity to expand on judicial treatment of these problems in order to advance and expand conceptions and principles for the improvement of the judicial profession. This course includes guest speakers.
David F. Levi
Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute
Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
This course will examine what history has to teach us about law and about the practice of judging through a close reading of the writings of Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Benjamin N. Cardozo. Holmes is usually seen as one of the most consequential judges ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court, and Cardozo (who was Chief Judge of New York’s highest court before being appointed to succeed Holmes) is regularly called the greatest common law judge in American history. What sort of people were they, what sort of judges, and if in fact they deserve all the praise, in what did their greatness as judges lie?
H. Jefferson (Jeff) Powell
Professor of Law
Through this seminar, students will have the opportunity to study the opinion writing among today’s best judicial writers. Faculty who have taught this workshop:
The Honorable Antonin Scalia
United States Supreme Court
Judge Edward Carnes
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Bryan A. Garner
Qualitative Research and the Judiciary
This course will provide an overview of qualitative methods of research, with a focus on conducting interviews. The course will begin by providing a general background of the strengths and limitations of qualitative methods, and then will survey various articles that rely on interviews and, to a lesser extent, ethnography to gather information. During each class students will meet with a different scholar who relies on qualitative methods in their work and discuss how the author came to undertake a particular study, their methodology, and their findings.
Professor of Law
Study of the Judiciary
Frederic Cleaveland Professor of Law and Political Science
Administrative Law and the Courts
This course will examine how judges review administrative agencies. It will focus on the major doctrines that courts apply and consider empirical evidence regarding how those doctrines are applied in practice. The course will pay particular attention to regulation focusing on science, technology, and economics.
Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law
FinTech Law & Policy
Financial services have been dramatically impacted by the deep technology revolution. Transactions have become almost instantaneous thanks to new technologies like blockchain; we can apply for a mortgage on our smartphone and be approved within 48 hours; and cryptocurrency has become the latest investment trend. These new technologies and the companies that bring them to market are pushing the traditional boundaries of what it means to be a “bank.” Regulatory agencies have struggled to keep up with the pace of change, and there are significant regulatory and legal issues that remain unsettled. This course will inform you of the critical legal, regulatory, and policy issues associated with cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, peer-to-peer lending and more. In addition, you will learn how regulatory agencies in the U.S. are continually adjusting to the emergence of new financial technologies.
Lecturing Fellow and Executive Director, Global Financial Markets Center
Genetics, Neuroscience & the Law
This course will examine cutting-edge legal and policy issues arising from new discoveries in genetics and neuroscience. New gene editing technologies, behavioral genetics, and reproductive genetics challenge existing legal norms, create new concerns for regulatory oversight, and require new approaches to addressing novel conflicts that arise from these discoveries. Advances in neuroscience have led to fundamental challenges to the criminal justice system and undermine and require reorientation of many preexisting doctrines in law. The course is designed for students without a science background and will provide a foundation in the scientific advances and their implications for US law.
Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy
Problems in Self-Regulation
This course will examine areas of law that explore the benefits and problems with self-regulating professions. Particular attention will be paid to the medical profession, but emphasis will be on the general theme of how and when the state should delegate regulatory authority to private parties.
Katharine T. Bartlett Professor of Law and Professor of Business Administration
Race and Civil Rights
This course will look at the intersection of race and the law from a theoretical, historical and practical point of view, with specific attention to the way constitutional norms respecting race, rights, and equality are enforced by courts against governmental and non governmental actors.
Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law
Melvin G. Shimm Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Intellectual Life
Strengths Become Vulnerabilities: The Downsides of Digitalization for the U.S.
This course will examine some elements of the way that digitalization is impacting law. The first session will explain the challenge of digitalization and analyze its impact on Constitutional law. The second session will explore how digitalization is impacting the United States in international law and policy, and how the U.S. law and norms render the United States unusually susceptible to damaging operations inside the United States by our adversaries.
Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law, Harvard Law School