Legal Education Community Grapples with Implications of Recent Supreme Court Rulings | The News God (2024)

These days, teaching law is difficult due to the Supreme Court.

Just two years after Roe v. Wade was overturned after 50 years on the books, the court upended the 40-year-old Chevron deference last week and sent law curricula into yet another big loop with their seismic verdict on presidential immunity on Monday.

Professors at law schools have begun gathering to talk about the upcoming modifications to their curricula and to attempt to grasp the new legal environment that the conservative-leaning court is establishing.

“Administrative law has periods of rapid change and periods during which it changes glacially, if at all. There has been a lot of change throughout the New Deal era, the Nixon administration and the years immediately after, and there is now a lot of change right now, according to Georgetown Law professor David Super. Thus, I believe that if you were to compare a syllabus from three or four years ago with one from the next year, you would find that different situations as well as distinct themes were covered.

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The Supreme Court handed former President Trump a significant victory in the federal courts by holding that presidents have wide protection from prosecution while performing official acts of office.

It truly isn’t consistent with a great deal of the earlier examples. Claire Finkelstein, a law and philosophy professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “It’s also inconsistent with the line of cases regarding presidential immunity in which the court has been really clear that presidents are not above the law, but this decision says, in important ways, that they are.”

“Consequently, it will be challenging to understand how to instruct this, as it necessitates a reevaluation of what we have been teaching our students,” she continued.

The court’s decision to rewrite the books also occurred the day after it overturned Chevron, which permitted judges to depend on government organizations in cases involving unclear laws that are challenged on the basis of interpretation. It will now be considerably simpler for rules to be overturned since judges will be required to apply their own best reading of the law when rendering a decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “We do not call into question prior cases that relied on the Chevron framework.” “Despite our shift in interpretative process, the holdings of those instances that particular agency acts are lawful—including the Clean Air Act ruling of Chevron itself—are nonetheless subject to statutory stare decisis.”

Law professors believe they are fortunate that these verdicts usually take place during the summer, since it allows them to discuss with colleagues how best to instruct their students for the next academic year.

We take some time to process the opinion, after which we discuss it extensively with our colleagues to try and determine whether it will truly have the impact we anticipate. If the opinion is the kind that should be included in an introductory course, you will need to carefully consider how it fits into the curriculum; if it is appropriate for a more advanced class, you may be able to slip it in under the table.

Experts predict that in the upcoming years, lower courts will assist in limiting the application of new case law, and textbooks will undergo revisions.

Professor Sam Erman of the University of Michigan Law School stated, “We don’t know where they’re headed because we’re in a period of rapid constitutional change.”

Some professors are accustomed to the law changing constantly, depending on their areas of specialization, but even in such fields, the last few years may be unusual.

Erman stated, “We’re watching that unfold—a conservative super majority is erecting a new vision of constitutional law.” He said, “And so I also have to decide what topics to cover,” because earlier topics that didn’t seem quite.

Professors claim that dealing with laws that are always changing is a common occurrence for attorneys. And occasionally, as was the case when conservatives gradually undermined Roe v. Wade in the years leading up to its complete reversal in 2022, it was simple to tell which way the wind was blowing.

However, they also admit that when precedent-shifting rulings are overturned, their students—especially those getting ready for the bar exam—may also be mistreated.

Constitutional law may be taught to students in year one, but by the time they reach year four or the end of year three, they are taking the bar exam, which presents a challenge for law schools that truly have to worry about whether their students will pass the bar. “And if there have been significant changes since they studied constitutional law, they will need to unlearn previous material and acquire new material in order to pass the bar.”

Legal Education Community Grapples with Implications of Recent Supreme Court Rulings | The News God (2024)
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