Environmental Law & Politics

Law and Politics: Prospects for Environmental Policy Change.
Higher Education Opportunity Program
Barnard College, Summer 2018
Wednesday, 9:00 – 11:15 AM & Thursday, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
July 2 – August 3, 2018
Jason Leggett, J.D., jasonmleggettkbcc@gmail.com

Course Website: https://jasonmleggett.commons.gc.cuny.edu/environmental-politics-outline/

Youtube Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU0eNxQq8hHHSwPI9REzan4BEs2LcbnpP

Must environmental policy in the U.S be a struggle between two extreme poles? This course will examine the role of law in shaping environmental policy and the politics that foster change. Students will be introduced to a policy process model and examine how legal cases interact with political mobilization using environmental case studies. Students will analyze the historical process related to environmental law and policy and will make policy proposals.

The course material is appropriate for entering Freshman students. We begin by introducing classical and contemporary theories of law and politics and then proceed to various themes of “law in action” as opposed to “law on the books”. We will emphasize the social, political, cultural, and historical contexts of law rather than solely legal doctrines, statutes, or judicial decisions. This course will will introduce major theories and empirical studies in agenda setting, environmental problems, and policy change to show how law and politics interrelate. In this context this course serves as a good introduction to political science, pre-law, environmental studies, and administration policy majors.

The course is designed as a combination of lectures, small group work, and discussion/dialogue. Careful reading before lectures and active participation in class meetings are both important. Please communicate with me and/or the teaching assistant if you become ill or emergencies arise so that we will be aware of your situation and intervene if necessary. Reading and class participation account for 25% of your final grade.

You will evidence your understanding of the readings and class discussion through two thought papers, a first draft environmental policy proposal, a presentation, and a final policy proposal paper. The thought papers and presentation account for 25% of your final grade and the draft and final policy proposal account for the remaining 50% of your final grade.

Grading Scale (See end of Document for further Grading details)
A = 92-100 C = 70-77
A/B = 88-91 D = 60-69
B = 82-87 F = 0-59
BC = 78-81

Book Required: (Kingdon,John) Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, Updated Edition, with an Epilogue on Health Care, 2nd Edition.

Reading Excerpts: Will be made available online at the course website.

Thought Papers One and Two Guidelines
Thought papers are short response papers (less than 2 pages) that show me how you are making sense of the readings. For thought paper one you need to select one of the readings from the first two sessions of class. You should briefly summarize the reading in 1-2 paragraphs and then provide your reaction and/or thoughts about the reading. For thought paper two you can select any reading through July 18th. Please see the outline for due dates; late submission will result in an automatic 50% point reduction.

Final Proposal Presentation and Paper Guidelines

After considering the readings and an environmental problem you would like to study, write a 1 paragraph proposal. In the first sentence, introduce the topic you are thinking about broadly. In the second sentence, clearly and carefully articulate the political problem that applies to your topic. In the third sentence develop your proposal or main argument for reform. In the final sentence, identify how your proposal would proceed through the policy stream of ideas, media, and government. Please identify your initial sources and references by providing a citation using APA format. Turn in this proposal in hand on Thursday, July 19, and send a copy in PDF or Google Doc to my email at jasonmleggettkbcc@gmail.com

Prepare an informal overview of your proposal and include all four sentences into your presentation in conversational style. You should provide a brief 1-2 page handout for the rest of the class (include citations) and solicit feedback, questions, and suggestions for further research. Your presentation should be limited to 5 minutes and question and answer time for 5 minutes. We will be grading each other using a common peer review form and grading rubric. Details can be found on the course website. Powerpoint or other digital tools will be subject to classroom media capabilities; however, the use of digital or other audio/visual aids is not required. Demonstration of the ability to generate discussion and thoughtful research is preferred. Presentations will begin Wednesday, July 25 and will proceed in reverse alphabetical order (Z-A).

You will submit a working draft of your final policy proposal along with your presentation handout to me. You need not worry about the length of the paper, formatting, or other grammar related issues but please include citations even if not yet in APA format. This draft should show me you are working to apply the theories you have learned in class to the topic you selected. The draft is due Thursday, July 19.

Revise your first draft with the feedback given to you in your presentation session and additional feedback from me. Your final paper should be between 1000 and 1500 words (not more than 1500 words) which represents approximately 5 pages, double spaced. You will need to bring a printed copy to the last day of class (Thursday, August 2) and email me a PDF or Google Document as well to jasonmleggettkbcc@gmail.com. Late papers will not be accepted.

You should cite to multiple sources from our class readings. You may cite to lecture by writing: “Leggett, J, Lecture, Date.” You may also cite to in class discussion by referring directly to the topic of the discussion according to the Syllabus. You should also include outside sources but limit yourself to 1-3 additional academic sources due to the constraints of the summer session.

FINAL GRADING: Total Points Possible
Thought Paper 1: 5 points
Thought Paper 2: 5 points
Presentation: 15 points
Draft Proposal: 5 points
Final Proposal: 45 points
Reading/Participation: 25 points