Environmental Law, Policy, and Decision-making (EESC BC 3040x)
“The Problem We All Live With” by Norman Rockwell (1963)
Teach the origins, history, and structure of the U.S. legal system; the ecological and ethical bases of environmental law, its use in environmental policy and decision- making, and its role in cost-benefit analysis and risk management.
Develop legal literacy and teach how to read opinions of important cases that elucidate how courts create common law and especially environmental law through the interpretation and application of environmental statutes and regulations.
Teach how to use legal research tools to find “good law” by analyzing precedent; teach how citations work; teach how to locate statutes and their associated rules and regulations, and how to find cases that determine the meaning of statutes.
Teach how to brief cases.
Teach how case law determines the meaning of a statute.
Ruby Bridges escorted by three U.S. Marshals from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, 1960.
Instructors Name/Phone/ E-Mail: Dana Neacsu / 854-1345/ firstname.lastname@example.org Dana's Office hours:Wed. 5-8 (3rd fl in the law school building, inside the law library), and as needed Classroom: 530 Altschul / Tu & Th 8:40-9:55am Teaching Assistant:Alissa Lampert / email@example.com (office hours as needed)
Required Textbooks: 1. Bower/Neacsu Introduction to U.S. Law, Policy, and Research – An Environmental Perspective (available in the Columbia Univ. bookstore or online from the publisher’s site) 2. A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr (there should be a few copies available at the library, available on Amazon as an e-book or paper copy)
Companion Website: This course has an associated website which has many resources you may find helpful, such as copies and links to cases we will read, additional sources that are helpful to our understanding of the US legal system, and sidebars and comments that are referenced in the textbook for further reading.
Grading: Grades will be assigned according to performance: a. on a midterm exam (20%); b. on a final research paper (20%); c. on two exercises (20%); d. on three quizzes (25%); e. on classroom participation (5%), and e. classroom attendance (10%)
“Two Lawyers” by Honore Daumier (1837).
Exams and Deadlines No make-up exams or quizzes will be given except for bonafide emergencies or illness. Except in the most unusual circumstances advance notification is required. A letter from your Academic Dean or your doctor is required for the scheduling of a make-up exam or quiz. Deadlines for assignments will be strictly observed. Grades for late work are subject to a maximum 30% reduction at the instructor’s discretion.
Definition of Grades: All grades will be based on a scale of 100 with A+ = 98.00-100, A = 94.00-97.99, A- = 90.00-93.99, B+ = 88.00-89.99, B= 84.00-87.99, B- = 80.00-83.99, C+ = 78.00-79.99, C = 74.00-77.99, C- = 70.00-73.99, D = 60.00-69.99, and F = 59.99 or less. A+ = Rare performance. Reserved for exceptional achievement. A = Excellent work. Outstanding achievement. A- = Excellent work that exceeds course expectations. B+ = Very good work. Solid achievement (expected of Barnard/Columbia undergraduates) that meets all course expectations. B = Good work. Acceptable achievement that meets almost all course expectations. B- = Satisfactory work. Acceptable achievement that meets major course expectations. C+ = Fair achievement just above that which is minimally acceptable. C = Fair achievement but only minimally acceptable. C- = Barely acceptable achievement. D = Very low performance. Unsatisfactory work. Lowest achievement to still allow for a passing grade. This grade may not be counted toward the major or minor option. F = Failure See http://barnard.edu/catalogue/policies/grades or the Barnard or Columbia College Catalogs or the Registrar’s Office for other information about grading, including: the definitions of other letter grades, pass/D/fail option, incompletes, and calculation of GPA.
“The Opposing Attorneys” by Honore Daumier (1837).
Procedure for Handling Questions and Complaints About the Grading of Tests, Quizzes, and Other Assignments: If you have a question or complaint concerning the grading of your work, you must detail the question or complaint in writing. Attach this written question or complaint to the test, quiz or other assignment and give it to Prof. Neacsu directly or leave it in her mailbox in the Environmental Science Department. Once your question or complaint has been reviewed, your work will be returned to you with an explanation of the action taken. At this time if there are still questions, the issues may be discussed. Under no circumstances will a discussion about grading take place prior to above-mentioned review, and no review will take place unless the problem or complaint is put in writing.
Remember! Put it in writing!
Exercise #1: Writing a Brief Using the Textbook Format (the case will be delivered in class)
Exercise #2: Legal Research: Briefing a precedential case and its subsequent application The exercise requires you to create a word document which should include a cover page with the title, Exercise #2: Legal Research: Briefing a precedential case and its subsequent application, your name, date, course, and professor’s name. The document will also contain the following section sections: 1. Section 1: Choose a case – either Wilsonville or Del Webb; copy and paste its heading in Section 1. 2. Section 2: Brief your case (either Wilsonville or Del Webb) using the format provided to you and discussed in class, focusing on the issue which becomes the rule or the precedent for the subsequent case you will brief. 3. Section 3: Chose a subsequent case from the Shepards list; copy and paste its heading in Section 3. 4. Section 4: Brief the case chosen in Section 3, pointing out how it references the case chosen in Section 1 (Wilsonville or Del Webb).
“Apres l’Audience” (“after the hearing”) by Honore Daumier (1838).
Final Research Paper: How Case Law Defines Statutory Law The exercise requires you to create a word document which should include a cover page with the title, Final Research Paper: How Case Law Defines Statutory Law, your name, date, course, and professor’s name. The document will also contain the following sections: 1. Section 1: A relevant federal codification, copied and pasted in Section 1 (By way of example, let’s say, you find section 42 U.S.C. §7401, through govinfo.gov. You copy and paste the body of that statutory section in the first section of your paper). 2. Section 2. A general discussion of the federal statute (Public Law), whose relevant section you included in Section 1 (500 words maximum, double-spaced, 1" margins all-around). (By way of example, for instance, if you chose 42 U.S.C. §7401, then you summarize the meaning of the Clean Air Act). 3. Section 3: Copy and paste a case discussing the chosen statutory provision and federal regulation. (In class, you learn the most efficient method to find such a relevant case) 4. Section 4: Brief the case copied and pasted in Section 3, making sure that the issue discusses a question about the statute identified in Section 1, and the rationale explains the court’s reasoning for the holding regarding the issue chosen in your brief.
The Honor Code and Academic Integrity The Barnard Honor Code (established in 1912) reads:
We, the students of Barnard College, do hereby resolve to uphold the honor of the College by refraining from every form of dishonesty in our academic life. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations, quizzes, or to use in them any papers or books in any manner not authorized by the instructor, or to present oral or written work that is not entirely our own, except in such way as may be approved by the instructor. We pledge to do all that is in our power to create a spirit of honesty and honor for its own sake.
The Honor Code governs all aspects of academic work. If a violation should arise, it will be reported to the Dean of Studies for appropriate action. Honor Board Guidelines on the procedures for implementing the Honor System and acting on charges of dishonesty can be found in the Student Handbook. Remember that Barnard students reaffirm their acceptance of the Honor Code by signing their registration form. Columbia students commit themselves to the Honor Code upon registering for a Barnard course. Because the Honor Code is not entirely specific and contains qualifications and exceptions, such as “authorized by the instructor” or “approved by the instructor”, please read the following summary of “What behaviors constitute academic dishonesty?”
What behaviors constitute academic dishonesty?
Cheating on examinations, quizzes, tests, or other assignments: the giving of assistance to another or the receiving of assistance from another person, another examination paper, other written material, or any source not explicitly permitted by the instructor, is cheating. Thus, you may not look at another’s paper or answers; you may not show your paper or answers to another or leave your paper or answers around for others to look at; and, you may not verbally read or reveal your answers to another. It is also cheating to have access, without the instructor’s approval, to examination, quiz, or test questions prior to the administration of the examination, quiz, or test.
Plagiarism: the submission or presentation of ideas or work in any form that are not one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement of the source(s). Even with the acknowledgement, close paraphrasing can constitute plagiarism. You may quote the work of others if properly attributed. Close paraphrasing also requires attribution; close paraphrasing is, however, a gray area on a slippery slope, and the slope tends to become steeper and more slippery with the length of the paraphrase.
Submission of the same work for more than one course without the explicit permission of the instructors involved.
Falsification or misrepresentation of data in any coursework.
Altering, defacing, or concealing library materials.
Participating in the academic dishonesty of another student by offering assistance or advice that encourages such behavior.
Misrepresentation of one’s sate of health or personal situation to gain deferrals of examinations or extensions of academic deadlines.
Forgery of a signature on any document or form related to a student’s academic life, including the adviser’s signature on a program, drop/withdrawal slip, or petition.
Except for the above I encourage and expect students to share and work together, to ask questions, and to receive help from instructors and other students. Admittedly, there are gray areas but these gray areas will not be an issue if the intent of the foregoing is understood. Of course, it is prudent to ask if you have any questions on any matter related to the foregoing.