Mitchell N. Berman

Mitchell N. Berman
  • Leon Meltzer Professor of Law

Contact Information

Teaching

All Courses

  • LAW5010 - Constitutional Law

  • LAW5740 - Law and Philosophy

    This graduate seminar explores recent work at the forefront of legal philosophy and adjacent fields, particularly moral, social, and political philosophy. In two-week units, seminar participants will discuss a recently published paper (in the first week) and in the second week, participants (along with other faculty) will meet with the paper's author for further discussion in which students will be given priority. The goal is to explore new work in the field in great depth, and in so doing develop students' analytic skills and their knowledge of the present state of the literature.

  • LAW7140 - Law and Social Movements

    Law and Social Movements

  • LAW9460 - Law and Philosophy

    Law and Philosophy Topics Course

  • LAW9990 - Independent Study Project

    Independent Study Project

  • PHIL4360 - Sports As Legal Systems

    Formal organized sports - from the NFL to NASCAR to the LPGA - are either genuine legal systems of a specialized kind or close analogues to legal systems. Like ordinary legal systems, they use general rules, promulgated by rule-making bodies and enforced by impartial adjudicators, to facilitate or incentivize desired behaviors and to prevent or deter undesired behaviors. As such, sports are proper subjects of study by legal scholars and philosophers. A standard course on "sports law" examines the regulation of sports by law. This course, in contrast, examines sports as legal systems in their own right. A small sample of the topics to be addressed includes: (1) What are sports, and what is their relationship to games? (The IOC has determined that bridge and chess are sports. Is this correct? Does it matter?) (2) What form should the rules take? (For example, should sports rules contain "mens rea" terms? Should they be more "rule-like" or more "standard-like"?) (3) How much discretion do and should officials have? (Chief Justice Roberts said that "judges are like umpires." Is this true? In what ways?) (4) Should on-field decisions be appealable and, if so, what should the procedures and standards of appellate review be? (For example, is the "indisputable visual evidence standard" of review in the NFL and NCAA football justified?) (5) What is cheating? (Did the badminton players at the London Olympics who tried to lose "cheat"? Do baseball players cheat when they falsely claim to be hit by a pitch?) (6) What should the rules of eligibility be? (Should women be allowed to compete against men? Should MTF transgender athletes be allowed to compete against cisgender women? Should double amputees like the South African Oscar Pistorius be allowed to compete against non-disabled runners?) In exploring questions like these, the course will, where appropriate, draw upon, and examine possible lessons for, ordinary law. The course is therefore both an in-depth and rigorous investigation into sports and a vehicle for deepening one's understanding of law. It is appropriate for law students and for non-law students seeking an engaging and accessible introduction to legal systems and legal analysis.

  • PHIL5450 - Phil of Law

    This seminar will examine leading academic theories of constitutional interpretation, starting with classic texts by (for illustration) Thayer, Wechsler, Ely, Bobbitt, Dworkin, and Scalia, and emphasizing current debates within originalism and between originalists and their critics. While the focus will be on American constitutional interpretation, we will also see how that literature relates to more "philosophical" or "jurisprudential" accounts of the contents of law.

  • PHIL5455 - Law and Philosophy

    This graduate seminar explores recent work at the forefront of legal philosophyand adjacent fields, particularly moral, social, and political philosophy. In two-week units, seminar participants will discuss a recently published paper (in the first week) and in the second week, participants (along with other faculty) will meet with the paper's author for further discussion in which students will be given priority. The goal is to explore new work in the field in great depth, and in so doing develop students' analytic skills and their knowledge of the present state of the literature.

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