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Civil Rights Enforcement, Second Edition

  • Scott Michelman
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Described as “superb” and “inspiring” in a foreword by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Civil Rights Enforcement, Second Edition dives deeply into doctrines concerning the enforcement of civil rights via private civil actions and the aspects of those doctrines of most importance to those litigating in the field. Organized as a litigator might think through a case, the book provides students with rich, detailed hypothetical problems to which they can apply what they are learning. Alongside these practice-focused elements, the book’s notes, questions, and topic transitions push students to grapple with strategic questions about impact litigation and the role of civil rights litigation in constitutional enforcement, as well as with theoretical questions about tradeoffs between the values of federalism and judicial review and the relationship between rights and remedies. 

New to the 2nd Edition:  

  • Up-to-date coverage of major developments—including the national reckoning on race and policing after George Floyd’s murder, COVID-19 prison conditions litigation, laws like Texas S.B. 8 designed to evade pre-enforcement challenges, new Bivens decisions, limitations on damages under Titles VI and IX, and the momentous Supreme Court term ending June 2022 
  • Two new chapters on constitutional claims often brought against police or in custodial settings—including under the 4th and 8th Amendments and substantive and procedural due process—to explore how enforcement documents shape constitutional law and vice versa, and to facilitate coverage of topics that often fall through the cracks in constitutional law curricula 
  • Expanded coverage of major topics, including: 
    • Standing (organizational standing; defining an injury; policing and injunctive relief; pre-enforcement challenges) 
    • Qualified immunity (the reform movement; sources of “clearly established law”; the obviousness exception; private-actor applications) 
    • Municipal liability (custom; failure to supervise; applications of the “final policymaker” theory; the interaction of qualified immunity and failure to train) 
    • Statutory causes of action (42 U.S.C. § 1985; Title VII; ADA; Rehabilitation Act) 
    • And more! (COVID-19 conditions; modern school district boundary fights; applications of the Heck bar; expansion of sovereign immunity; the evolution of supervisory liability) 
  • New and expanded Applications sections exploring recent trends in appellate courts 
  • 10 new hypothetical problems 

Benefits for instructors and students: 

  • Detailed hypothetical problems with multi-layered fact patterns, including hypothetical statutes, precedents, and litigation documents (many based on actual cases) 
  • Application notes focusing on how civil rights enforcement doctrines work in practice, what incentives they create, prominent appeals court decisions, and areas of the current controversy 
  • Prologue (and follow-up notes throughout) grounding the material in the history of the civil rights movement and the practice of impact litigation 
  • Commentary and questions situating the doctrines covered within broader theoretical debates about the role of the federal courts and the gap between rights and remedies 
  • Detailed coverage of statutory civil rights enforcement, including comparisons to constitutional enforcement 
  • A focus on doctrines most relevant to practice 
  • Consideration of the role (or, in many instances, critical absence) of racial justice in the development and implications of civil rights laws and enforcement doctrines  
  • Rigorous case editing to highlight key issues and avoid unnecessarily sprawling excerpts 
  • Charts and illustrations of the more complex doctrines 
  • A consistent focus on doctrines of rights enforcement (as opposed to the content of various rights)—providing the book with a unifying theme and marking out a field of study distinct from Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and Employment Discrimination 
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About the authors
Scott Michelman
Harvard Law School

Scott Michelman is Legal Director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia and has taught Civil Rights Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2015. He has litigated a broad range of civil rights and civil liberties issues, including access to the courts, disability rights, discrimination and selective enforcement, freedom of speech and press, habeas corpus, immigrants’ rights, judicial secrecy, LGBTQ+ rights, political protest, post-September 11 abuse of executive power, prisoners' rights, privacy rights, religious freedom, reproductive freedom, the rights of medical marijuana patients, sentencing law, and unreasonable search and seizure. He has also litigated cases about class action law, consumers’ rights, and workers’ rights. Before joining the ACLU of the District of Columbia in 2016, Mr. Michelman was an attorney with Public Citizen Litigation Group and before that the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. Mr. Michelman has argued before the United States Supreme Court, the highest courts of the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, seven federal courts of appeals, and numerous other federal and state courts around the country. In connection with his practice, Mr. Michelman has been quoted by national radio, television, print, and online media outlets, including NPR, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera,&emDemocracy Nowem, the&emNew York Timesem,&emWashington Postem,&emWall Street Journalem,&emLos Angeles Timesem,&emUSA Todayem,&emU.S. News and World Reportem,&emThe Independentem&(U.K.),&emThe New Yorkerem, Associated Press, Reuters, Politico,&emBuzzfeedem,&emNewsweekem&and&emNational Law Journalem, and his commentary and opinion have appeared in the&emWall Street Journalem,&emSCOTUSblogem,&emSlateem&and the&emHuffington Postem. In addition to his Harvard course, Mr. Michelman has taught as adjunct faculty at American University Washington College of Law, Santa Clara Law School, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and he has guest-lectured or appeared on panels at Yale Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, the University of California at Berkeley, and the American Bar Association, among others. In addition to his textbook&emCivil Rights Enforcementem, published in 2020, his legal scholarship includes&emThe Branch Best Qualified To Abolish Immunityem, 93 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1999 (2018);&emDoing Kimbrough Justice: Implementing Policy Disagreements With the Federal Sentencing Guidelinesem, 45 Suffolk L. Rev. 1083 (2012) (with Jay Rorty); and&emWho Can Sue Over Government Surveillance?em&57 UCLA L. Rev. 71 (2009), reprinted in 26 Saltzman & Wolvovitz,&emCivil Rights Litigation & Attorney Fees Annual Handbookem&79 (2010). Mr. Michelman is a 2004 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the&emHarvard Law Reviewem&and a member of the winning team for the 2003 Ames Moot Court Competition. He went on to clerk for the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Following his clerkship, Mr. Michelman was the 2005-06 William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellow at the ACLU, and then a clinical teaching fellow at the Seton Hall Law School Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic. Before law school, Mr. Michelman designed and taught courses on American politics and government as the 2000-01 Annenberg Fellow to Eton College in Windsor, England. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science magna cum laude from Duke University in 2000.

Product Information
Second Edition
Publication date
Copyright Year
Connected eBook + Hardcover
Connected eBook (Digital Only)
Civil Rights / Race and the Law
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