The Georgetown Summer Institute in Law & Society is a 10-week, 12-credit, in-person undergraduate program. The Institute will take place from Monday, June 3 to Friday, August 9, 2024.
Students will choose one of two possible concentrations: Law & Practice or Law & Society. Within each concentration, students will enroll in three 3-credit courses as well as an Experiential Law Practicum course that will include invited guest speakers at federal, state, and local levels of government and legal practice, as well as visits to several off-campus locations to meet with attorneys, judges, and legal system officials.
Select your desired concentration, Law & Practice or Law & Society, fulfilling 3 courses (9 credits) total.
Law & Practice Concentration Courses:
GOVT 2231: Constitutional Law I (3 credits)Prof. Joseph Hartman
This course explores the ways in which judicial interpretation of the U.S. Constitution has created and allocated power to government actors. Much of the popular debate about the U.S. Supreme Court centers on claims of civil rights and liberties. The Framers of the Constitution, however, believed that the greatest protection of liberty could be found in the way government was structured, and that the promise of civil rights and liberties was of little use without decentralized government and an effective system of checks and balances.
Using a case law approach, we will build our understanding of judicial perspectives on the structure of American government by analyzing major decisions of the Supreme Court and examining basic Constitutional principles controlling the exercise of governmental power. Topics covered include the theory and practice of judicial review, approaches to Constitutional interpretation, federalism, separation of powers, executive prerogatives, the reserved powers of the states, and an introduction to the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection and due process guarantees. We will also explore ways that other political and governmental actors create alternative or rival Constitutional interpretations and the societal construction of judicial and legal authority.
Course meets June 3–July 5, Mon.–Thu., 10:50 a.m.–12:55 p.m.
GOVT 2603: International Law (3 credits)Prof. Catherine Lotrionte
This course explores the theory and practice of international law against the background of the realities of international relations. The course seeks to improve students’ ability to engage in critical thinking, analysis, and independent learning. To that end, reading, discussing, and writing about the assigned material will be the central activities of the course. The goal is to improve students’ analytical ability and capacity for effective oral presentation using a modified form of the “case method” followed in law schools and to prepare students for professional discussions of public international law that occur in the public, private, and non-profit sectors of international affairs.
Course meets June 3–July 5, Mon.–Thu., 8:30 a.m.–10:35 a.m.
GOVT 2232: Constitutional Law II (3 credits)Prof. Joseph Hartman
This course explores the ways that the Constitution limits governmental authority over individuals within the U.S. by examining four issues within civil rights and civil liberties, broadly conceived: (1) the right to privacy, including abortion, the right to die and intimate associations; (2) free exercise of religion and the establishment clause; (3) freedom of speech and expression; and (4) equal protection, focusing on racial, gender and LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Course meets July 10–August 11, Mon.–Thu., 10:50 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Law & Society Concentration Courses:
WGST 2252: Sex, Social Justice, and the Bill of Rights (3 credits)Prof. Tricia Hoefling
This seminar will explore the regulation of women’s reproductive lives in the United States through a social justice and constitutional law framework. We will examine the elements of the federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights that have been used by the courts to protect reproductive rights, sexual freedom and parenting rights. In this seminar, we will analyze public policies related to reproduction, contraception, forced sterilization, forced birth, abortion, fetal protectionism (including drug/ alcohol use and other pregnancy regulation), and welfare. Discussion will include issues of social justice, racial justice, health care access, and health care equity; gender, cultural, race and socioeconomic class issues; vulnerable populations such as incarcerated women, immigrants, minors, welfare recipients and persons with intellectual and mental disabilities. We will consider the evolution of relevant federal and state laws from a historical, ethical, social and religious framework. We may consider various international perspectives as well. Please note this seminar will not cover adoption, foster care, or IVF/assisted reproduction.
Course meets June 5–July 6, Mon.–Thu., 8:30 a.m.–10:45 p.m.
WGST 2222: Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault (3 credits)Prof. Jen Schweer
This course will examine intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking. We will examine theories about intimate partner violence, frequency and prevalence of rape, and social and cultural contributors to domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault on college campuses. We will also evaluate current systems and policies that exist to support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. We will then discuss what we can do individually and collectively as a community to end gender violence.
Course meets June 5–July 6, Mon.–Thu., 10:50 a.m.–12:55 p.m.
SOC 3592: Law & Society (3 credits)Prof. Carla Shedd
This course explores many of the major issues and debates in the sociology of law. Topics include theoretical perspectives on the connection between law and society; explanations for legal compliance, deviance, and resistance; the relationship between “law on the books” and “law in action”; and the relationship between law and social change. The class emphasizes a critical examination of the factors that influence who mobilizes the law (and who doesn’t), who benefits from the mobilization of law (and who doesn’t), and what it means to “use” law in contexts other than courtrooms, such as in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social movements, and mass media.
Course meets July 10–August 11, Mon.–Thurs., 10:50 a.m.–12:55 p.m.
Based on your desired concentration, Law & Practice or Law & Society, you will also complete an experiential course (3 credits). The Law Practicum course would meet at least once per week depending on which invited guests joined us in any given week. Some of the guest speakers and experiences would be common to both concentrations (e.g., visits to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Virginia Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court). This, of course, would enrich all students’ exposure to practicing attorneys, courts, agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other dimensions of legal practice in the greater metropolitan Washington area. Others might be tailored to the specific concentrations.
IDST 3260: Law & Society Practicum (3 credits)Prof. Carla Shedd
Students in the Law & Society concentration could attend local court hearings in the DMV area, meet with lawyers in high-profile local and state criminal cases such as the D.C. Sniper case, speak with violence interrupters working on preventing gun violence in DC, and visit local detention/jail facilities.
Course meets June 5–August 11, Mon.–Thu., 1:30–3:30 p.m.
IDST 3250: Law and Practice Practicum (3 credits)Prof. Joseph Hartman
Students in the Law & Practice concentration could meet with government lawyers at the federal level, attorneys serving as in-house corporate counsel, and current judicial clerks.
Course meets June 5–August 11, Mon.–Thurs., 1:30–3:30 p.m.
You must participate in all scheduled Institute programming. You may not partially participate in the Institute. Any outside commitments you may have—including but not limited to summer internships—cannot conflict with either class meetings or experiential components. Students who wish to take one of the courses à la carte may do so through the Georgetown School of Continuing Studies, space permitting.
If you’ve already taken one of the courses for this Institute, please reach out to the appropriate Summer Institute in Law Associate Director: for the Law & Practice Concentration, contact Prof. Joseph Hartman at email@example.com, or for the Law & Society Concentration contact Prof. Carla Shedd at firstname.lastname@example.org with your specific questions regarding courses and participation.