The Center for Law and Social Justice promotes research and teaching in areas of public policy and law relating to civil rights, civil liberties, international human rights, and equal access to justice. In particular, the Center addresses the continuing effort to preserve and define the fundamental values of liberty and equality in a constantly changing world.
The Center runs two important programs. First, it provides a platform for bringing to the law school distinguished speakers whose own work relates to social justice concerns. Speakers have addressed a wide array of topics in recent years from the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to workers’ fragile right of association in a post-9/11 world to the social justice implications of the federal sentencing guidelines.
Also within the Center’s jurisdiction is a program that leads to granting a Certificate in Law and Social Justice to those students interested in specializing in the area. Students must fulfill a number of requirements including: completing an enrollment form; CLSJ Enrollment; participating and documenting their attendance at the Center’s events; Event Attendance Log; rendering 10 hours of pro bono service to individuals or organizations of limited means; completing 12 elective units; and maintaining the Center’s required GPA. The Center’s certificate requirements, along with supporting documents, are available below.
The Center's Certificate Program endeavors to educate students in the fundamental values of the American legal system to prepare them to counsel and represent clients in the full range of settings in which questions relating to the cause of social justice arise. Such settings may include, for example, criminal defense, allegations of employment discrimination, claims for equal treatment by gays, lesbians and intersexuals, or environmental litigation.
Current or recent faculty research relating to the work of the Center for Law and Social Justice includes topics such as:
- intersexuals and the definition of gender
- the location of environmental hazards in minority communities
- constitutional defenses for alternative lifestyles
- the conflict between religious freedom and open housing laws
- the use of litigation prevention measures in employment discrimination cases
- same sex marriages and free speech
- religious defenses to allegations of terrorism
- feminist perspectives on the law