Political Science 440

POSC 440
Law, Justice, and Public Policy

1. Catalog Entry

POSC 440
Law, Justice, and Public Policy

Credit hours (3)
Prerequisites: Junior/senior standing and either 1) POSC 120: Introduction to American Government or 2) Permission of instructor

Introduction to the interactions of ideas about justice and law in the formulation of public policy.  Uses contemporary societal problems to frame discussions about the nature of law and justice in American and other societies and the effect of understandings of law and justice on public policy.  

2. Detailed Description of Course

    1) A brief introduction to public policy
        a. Agenda setting and the role of policy entrepreneurs    
        b. Policy Formulation
        c. Policy Making
        d. Policy Implementation
        e. Policy Evaluation
        f. Policy Change
    2) An introduction to this semester’s policy
    3) What is law?
        a. The habitually obeyed values and customs of a community?
        b. The will of the sovereign habitually obeyed and backed by threats?
        c. The will of the sovereign habitually obeyed and backed by threats, which also is in accordance with the natural law or the law of
            God transferred to human life?
        d. What judges say it is?
        e. The combination of primary rules of obligation with secondary rules of recognition, adjudication, and change?
        f. The will of the sovereign habitually obeyed and backed by threats in order to foster the goal of wealth maximization?
        g. Not just the positive law but the principles that support and underlie positive law--legal obligation exists whenever the case
            supporting the obligation is stronger than the case against it?
        h. The will of the dominant group within society?
        i. The substance of order in all realms of being?
    4) Where does policy originate?
        a. The importance of social and political consciousness
        b. The translation of consciousness into values
        c. The translation of consciousness into understandings of justice
    5) Implications: Achieving justice through law and policy
        a. Our domestic policy example
        b. Examples of how that same policy issue is treated in other societies

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture, discussion, group work, student research and presentations

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Course Goals:
This class is an introduction to the interactions of ideas about justice and law in the formulation of public policy.  This class begins with contemporary social problems.  It will use those problems to frame discussions about the nature of law and justice in American society and the effect of our understandings of law and justice on public policy.  That social problem also will provide focus for student research on how another society integrates understandings of law, justice, and public policy.

Course Learning Objectives:
In this class we will consider four major questions: (1) What is law? (2) What is the relationship between law and the consciousness (or values) of a political society? (3) What is the connection between law and justice? and (4) How do societies attempt to integrate law, social values, and justice in the formulation of public policy.  In this class you will be asked to:
    1) Identify multiple understandings of law and justice;
    2) Describe the contemporary societal problem that is the focus of the course;
    3) Identify and describe the multiple competing understandings of law and justice present within that social problem;
    4) Describe how American society attempts to integrate law, social values, and justice in the formulation of public policy; and
    5) Compare and contrast treatment of the contemporary issues in American law and policy and the law and policy of another society.

5. Assessment Measures

Essays, individual and group projects, term papers, participation in class discussions.

6. Other Course Information

None

Review and Approval

April 23, 2014