(LAWC-4090) - 2 UNITS

Section 1983, which was enacted by Congress during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, was designed to give individuals a federal right of action for violations of their federal constitutional rights by persons acting under color of state law. The impetus for creating that right of action was the concerted effort by Southern communities to deny newly freed slaves a wide array of civil rights. In this seminar, we will examine the history of section 1983, from its noble inception as a tool to vindicate civil rights, to the Supreme Court's initial efforts to render that statute ineffective, to section 1983's rediscovery during the modern civil rights era, and on to more recent efforts by the Supreme Court to hobble section 1983 litigation, seemingly in deference to state and local government exercises of power. Along with reading historical materials and relevant cases, we will do a case study of a section 1983 litigation that reflects both the difficulties and the potentially positive outcomes of such an action.

Satisfies Writing Requirement  


Civil Procedure (LAWJ-1001)