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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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Second Edition
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Connected eBook + Hardcover
Connected eBook (Digital Only)
Civil Rights / Race and the Law
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