This course introduces students to governing frameworks at the intersection of law and science, with a focus on public health, environmental sustainability and environmental justice. We explore regulatory techniques for dealing with uncertain risk and opposing market forces and the tension between public health regulation and individual civil liberties, trade secrets, property rights, commercial free speech.
We discuss the historic context and delve into recent events related to the new Trump Administration, climate change, the Flint Water Crisis, GMO’s, Monsanto’s weed killer, BPA and dangerous substitutes, fracking chemical nondisclosure, water supply, atrazine and other hormone disrupting chemicals, hazardous air pollution and childhood leukemia, industry challenges to calorie disclosure and warnings on sugary drinks, and potentially dangerous health claims.
Readings include standard casebook excerpts, law review articles, recent news reporting, and documentary film. We will also read A Civil Action by Johnathon Harr, an award winning national bestseller, a true story of a courtroom showdown where two of the nation's largest corporations were accused of causing the deaths of children from water contamination.
Method of Evaluation:
- Class Participation: class discussion, presentation of cases and readings. (20%)
- Journal: outline of notes, reflection, and weekly review of a related news article or case (20%)
- Quizzes on rules of law (questions distributed in advance) (two, 20% each)
- Final Quiz (in class) with policy questions(s) (20%)