The goal of the Jurisprudence, Law, and Justice Studies Program is to provide students with the analytical and empirical foundation to understand how the theory, practice, and meaning of law stimulates civic engagement.
About the Minor
In Hamilton’s Jurisprudence, Law, and Justice Studies Program, students engage in the study of the law through interdisciplinary coursework that emphasizes writing, speaking, and logical reasoning. They engage with the law through studying the Constitution, exploring free-speech issues, examining the psychological formation of attitudes toward lawbreakers, arguing legal cases, reading the writing of imprisoned people, understanding court procedures, and more.
A Sampling of Courses
Law and Justice Laboratory: Internship and Observation
This course must be taken with GOVT 273. Students will select two 3 hour, half-day periods each week on Thursdays or Fridays. One half-day will be spent in an internship in the local criminal justice system (e.g., public defender, legal services, mental health court, district attorney) which will be arranged with the assistance of Judge Ralph Eannace, Utica Municipal Court. The other half-day will be spent observing courtroom proceedings. The course also requires one evening meeting each week, which will focus on shaping student work into a publishable report. Anechiarico and Eannace.
Explore these select courses:
A survey of the American judicial system. An examination of federal and state courts, and the structure of the American judicial system. Analysis of how courts interact with the public and other government institutions, and the influences on judicial decision-making. Topics also include judicial federalism, criminal and civil procedure, judicial activism, and judicial policy-making.
Analysis of constitutional doctrines through major cases. Function of the Supreme Court as an instrument of government and arbiter of public policy. Doctrines include judicial review, federalism, interstate commerce, due process and questions of individual rights.
Analysis of competing theories of the liberty of expression in the American context. Focuses primarily on contemporary political and legal disputes over such morally divisive issues as "hate speech," campus speech codes, pornography, media and Internet censorship, and the proper role of free speech in a democracy. Examination of the evolution of American constitutional law concerning freedom of expression.
Federal administrative activity gains the most attention when the federal government seemingly fails to meet the public’s expectations of good and efficient governance. Examples include the failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FEMA’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina, and the various crises facing the Department of Veterans Affairs. This course examines the politics of agency design, delegation, political oversight, and internal agency processes. We will discuss the structure and practices of the federal executive branch and potential reforms to help government work effectively
A general introduction to international law. Topics include the law of treaties, customary international law, human rights, international criminal law, the law of war, and the use of force. Focus on issues pertaining to the formation, interpretation, application, compliance with, and at times even enforcement of, international legal norms and rules.
An internship at Civitas Maxima, a nonprofit in Switzerland that provides legal counsel for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, helped Jonina Mignon ’21 weave her multiple interests into an academic plan.
Tatum Barclay ’22, a soon-to-be Georgetown Law student, has been inspired by the field of law since childhood. “I found my voice through oral speaking,” she recalled, “My passion for advocacy, conversation, and litigation stems from the hardships and triumphs of having dyslexia.”
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who minored in jurisprudence, law and justice studies courses are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
Government Affairs Assistant, Direct Marketing Association
Paralegal, Federal Trade Commission
The Justice Lab
Formally started in 2020-21, The Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center Justice Lab Program, seeks to pair the theoretical study of the legal system with the practical application of these concepts to dynamic, real world issues.