This course is designed to deepen understandings of the ways that law intersects with policy, with politics, and with issues of governance through the exploration of some of the hot-button property topics of our time—topics that can’t get addressed in the doctrine-saturated 1L introductory course. We will derive some of our work from issues that are blazing nearby, using Texas as our living laboratory. This year’s course will include a unit on wildfire management (that’s blazing, all right!); a unit on local businesses versus internet sales; and a unit on public beach access involving a conflict that is currently pending in the Texas Supreme Court and in federal court. For the past two years, class members have selected one of our units of study; that is likely to happen again. Our focus will be on practical, on-the-ground conflicts in which community and/or individual welfare is at stake. Several will also focus on the role of lawyers in shaping these conflicts and in forging new law.
We will use an eclectic mix of materials that will include standard legal sources plus popular accounts, film, and guest-participants who are lawyers, interested parties, or political decision-makers.
1L class members will write two brief analytic papers, the first on a topic of the instructors’ choice, the second on a self-selected topic with the instructor’s approval. Papers written for this class have often morphed into published law review Notes and topics will be culled for that potential, if students so wish.
There is no prerequisite. Students may take the 1L Property course concurrently. This course will meet together with the upper-level seminar of the same name. The 1L group and the upper-level group will be graded separately.