New Interdisciplinary Summer Courses

You should be aware of two new interdisciplinary courses the law school is offering for Summer 2013. They are Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy: Emerging Legal Issues and Public Health Law & Bioethics.

We provide the descriptions below. Note certain limitations in each case:

Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy: Emerging Legal Issues – 9200:684-486

Summer Intersession I 2013
1:00-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, May 14-24, with take-home exam on Saturday, May 25.
Professor Kalyani Robbins

What do lawmakers, real estate developers, energy companies, urban planners, land managers, and industrial regulated parties all have in common? They all face a major turning point in our relationship with the planet – changes in the climate, sea level rise, rapidly evolving biodiversity needs, and a boom in renewable energy and natural gas extraction, both of which face conflicts with endangered species protection. This is a turning point that is beginning to alter the options available to each within their respective fields. This course will cover biodiversity law, climate change, and the emerging relationship between the two. We will then proceed to review the various areas of renewable energy development (which, of course, is a favored avenue toward climate mitigation), as well as the newly revamped hydraulic fracturing technology, all through the lens of conflicts with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that are hindering development in these areas. We will discuss ways in which the move toward renewable energy can be accomplished without butting heads with the rather fierce ESA. The text for the course is THE LAW OF BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT (Foundation Press University Casebook Series, Third Edition, John Copeland Nagle, J.B. Ruhl & Kalyani Robbins, eds.). All material will be taught at an introductory level, with no prior experience in any facet expected.

This course is available to all students, both Full-Time and Part-Time, including first year students, whether full or part time, as there are no law school prerequisites (the course has also been made available to non-law graduate students).

Note, however, that the grade in this course will not be considered in determining whether a first-year Part-Time student has met the minimum Law GPA as of the end of summer semester.


Public Health Law & Bioethics – 9200-684-487 – Synchronous Online Format

Professor Katherine Van Tassel
Summer 2013 – 10-Week Session – 6:30-8:30 p.m. – May 28 – August 2, 2013

This course examines the many ways in which the law impacts the public health. Among the questions explored are: What authority does the government have to regulate in the interest of public health? How are individual rights balanced against this authority? What are the promises and pitfalls of using laws and litigation to achieve public health goals? The course investigates these issues as they operate a range of specific contexts in public health and medical care, including the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, tobacco regulation, rights to have and refuse medical care, reproductive health, and lawsuits against tobacco and gun companies. The course emphasizes constitutional law, but also touches on criminal law, tort law and intellectual property law. Instruction is through interactive lectures with a significant amount of class discussion. Most classes will revolve around two to three legal cases. No previous background in law is needed.

Students must have finished 28 credits of law school classes to take any online course.

This course is offered on a credit/no credit basis.

Note that the ABA limits students are limited to 4 credits of online instruction in any semester and a total of 12 credits toward the J.D. degree.