Course - Law


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Over the past twenty years sustainability (or sustainable development) has emerged as a central goal of environmental policy making. Sustainability has moved from the work of scholars and activists to laws and administrative regulations. The language of sustainability has extended to the world of business and commerce. This class examines the meaning, application and value of the concept of sustainability from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; primarily law, political science and ecology. Many courses in law school and in various graduate programs might be said to touch on issues of sustainability. This course is intended to wrestle head-on with the concept and its evolving meanings and uses. The close study of one central concept will hopefully reveal general insights about environmental law, science and policy, and indeed about the interplay of law, science and policy in other areas. The study of a concept rather than the law of the concept produces a set of materials that only occasionally look like those typical to law school course (i.e., case law and statutes) and will lead us to reflect regularly on institutions other than courts and the role of lawyers as policy makers and citizens more often than advocates and counselors. This focus also makes this course especially appropriate for graduate students from a wide range of backgrounds: no prior exposure to legal materials or legal reasoning, and no detailed understanding of the operation of the modern administrative state is necessary to participate in, learn from or contribute to this course. 


Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac; selected materials 

Course Format

Seminar-style discussion

Written Assignments

Analytic paper

Type of Exam


Basis for grading

Grading in this course will be based on a set of two projects. The first and principal project is an analytic paper that should run at least 10 single spaced pages, and that must be presented to the class at the end of the semester. This paper will account for 90 percent of the total grade. The second is a short creative project addressing some issue related to this course. This may take almost any form you want, and will account for 10 percent of the total grade. Attendance and prepared participation are essential to the course. Attendance and participation will not be graded; they will be required.

Additional Comments

Feel free to contact Professor Miller ( / 626-2414) with any questions. 

This course is limited to 10 law students and 10 non-law graduate students.

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