Faculty Profiles

Seana Shiffrin

Seana Shiffrin

Professor of Philosophy
Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice
B.A. UC Berkeley, 1988
B. Phil. Oxford, 1990
D. Phil Oxford, 1993
J.D. Harvard, 1996
UCLA Faculty Since 1993

LAW 561A/B - The Cutting Edge of Legal Scholarship: New Books on Constitutional Law and Legal Theory

This course will be co-taught by Professor Shiffrin and Visiting Professor Larry Sager.  We will read five new books on legal theory and/or constitutional law, published in 2016 or forthcoming.  We will begin with Judge Posner’s recent book about the distance between the concerns of academics and the judiciary.  We will then proceed to examine a set of four academic works by leading legal academics to see what we can glean from them and to test whether Posner’s skepticism is warranted.  The reading list is deliberately eclectic and includes writing about abortion rights, animal rights, religious freedom, private law and institutional theory.

Although we ask students to read the entire book, about two weeks before each session, we will identify about 3-4 chapters (approximately 150-200 pages) on which discussion will focus.  Students will be asked to submit two developed questions or comments to an on-line discussion board the week before each session.

Copies of the book will be made available on reserve in the library and electronic copies on a password-protected course website.

Reading List:  

Meeting #1 (October 12th) Richard Posner, Divergent Paths — The Academy and the Judiciary (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Meeting #2  (November 9th)  Sherry Colb & Michael Dorf, Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Meeting #3  (January 25th)  Cecile LaBorde, Liberalism’s Religion  (ms)

Meeting #4  (February 22nd) Jeremy Waldron, Political Political Theory (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Meeting #5  (March 22nd)  Arthur Ripstein, Private Wrongs  (Harvard University Press, 2016).
Dates, Times, and Expected Locations:   

Twice in fall on Wednesday evening (7-9:30) in Santa Monica: once on October 12th, once on November 9th.

Three times in spring on Wednesday evening (7-9:30) in Santa Monica or in Westwood: once on January 25th, once on February 22d, once on March 22nd.

The Santa Monica location is easily accessible by bus from UCLA and also by car.  It’s in walking distance from the Expo Line.  At the relevant hour, plan for 35-45 minutes for transport from UCLA.

Food will be vegetarian and often vegan.  Let us know if you have special dietary restrictions.