Spring 2022  |  PA 5122 Section 001: Law and Public Affairs (58995)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Enrollment Requirements:
Graduate Student
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/18/2022 - 05/02/2022
Tue 06:00PM - 08:45PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 25
Enrollment Status:
Open (20 of 30 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Overview of evolution of American legal system. Role of courts, legislatures, and political actors in changing law. How law is used to change public policy. prereq: Grad or instr consent
Class Notes:
Devin Driscoll spent nearly a decade working for progressive candidates and issues. A veteran of both Obama campaigns, Devin served as Rhode Island state director for the 2012 reelect. He later managed a governor's race and was senior advisor to Congressman David Cicilline's campaign. Devin spent the bulk of 2013 working on marriage-equality campaigns across the country, first as communications director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, and then as northeast regional director of President Obama's nonprofit, Organizing for Action. After trading in the campaign trail for law school, Devin was elected editor-in-chief of Minnesota Law Review. He also served as president of both the Asylum Law Project, a student-led immigration service project, and the law-student chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He has been a judicial law clerk for Justice David L. Lillehaug of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Chief Judge John R. Tunheim of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Devin holds a bachelor's degree from Providence College, a Master of Public Policy degree from the Humphrey School, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Katie, and son, Jack.
Class Description:

"What is law, and how do we use it to address public problems?" This is the central question that Law and Public Affairs will seek to answer. We will approach the question in three phases; first we'll consider the major sources of law - constitutions, statutes, and the common law - and the institutions that develop those sources - the people, the legislature, and the courts. Next we'll consider several substantive areas of law, including constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, and immigration law. Finally, we'll consider the lawmaking process, and how individuals and organizations can impact the law through lobbying the legislature and bringing lawsuits.

We will review American law from a historical perspective, but primarily focus upon comprehending how political, judicial, legislative, and administrative actions change and frame public affairs. We will not learn how to "practice" law; instead we will learn how to use the law to accomplish our public-policy goals.

Other non-Humphrey graduate students, law school students who want a breath of fresh air, and mature upper-class undergraduates are welcome to contact the instructor about joining us. Other such students have enjoyed this course in the past.

Who Should Take This Class?:
Those interested in learning more about how public policy shapes the law and how the law can shape public policy.
Grade will be based on a mixture of class participation - which includes both the submission weekly of a news story relevant to the class and engagement in class discussion - experiential learning opportunities, short writing assignment, and objective assessment (quiz/test).
Class Format:
Our weekly meetings will focus on assigned reading (mostly judicial decisions, along with some scholarship/criticism) and discussions with guest field experts: lawyers, judges, legislators, staffers, and lobbyists.
As a graduate-level course that meets once a week, there will be appropriately sized reading assignments.
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
9 November 2021

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2022 Public Affairs Classes

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