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Course Listing


Law, Politics and the Media (3 cr)
Law 839
The American judicial system today operates in a complex environment of legal principle, political pressure, and media coverage. The separate elements of this complex environment are typically studied by different groups of individuals working from different perspectives. Law faculty tend to focus on legal principle; political scientists examine the influence of politics; and scholars of public communication assess the media. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the court system and its environment as a single, integrated subject of study. To this end, the course is taught by a team of faculty instructors drawn from law, journalism, and political science. Academic discussions are complemented by lectures from sitting judges, practicing lawyers, and working journalists. Topics to be covered in the course include: conventional understandings of judicial independence; contemporary public opinion of the courts; the ethics of good judging and good journalism; the politics of judicial elections and judicial appointments; the possibilities for judicial reform; the politics of judicial budgets; the media, tort reform, and the litigation crisis; “trials of the century;” the media treatment of wrongful convictions and cold cases; and the relationship between press coverage, the courts, and national security.

Taught By:
Keith J. Bybee, Lisa A. Dolak