Luminarias Research Seminar on Latina | Hispanic Female Civil Rights Litigators, Judges and PAS Appointees |

The Luminarias de la Ley | Luminaries of the Law™ is a national history project requiring original research to 1) identify the first Latina | Hispanic female who earned law degrees from 1880-1980) "Luminarias," and 2) document their career paths. Among these Luminarias are the country's first Latina | Hispanic female judges, civil rights litigators, district attorneys and public defenders, law firm associates and partners, law school Deans and law professors. Seminar Objective: to research and analyze the work of the 16 Luminarias who became federal judges at the trial court and appellate levels, including: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at each of her federal judgeships; select civil rights litigators; and select Presidential Appointees requiring U.S. Senate confirmation ("PAS"). Students will compile all decisions and, for writing purposes, focus on outcomes of litigated cases, judicial opinions of first impression and significant administrative decisions and policies that influenced or shaped U.S. jurisprudence and legislation. Work assignments include individual papers on assigned judges, as well as, a class project linking the individual papers. While individual Luminarias such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor have prompted numerous writings, the collective contributions of these Luminarias is unwritten history. Students will have a first-time opportunity to document history and create a compendium of the collective work of select Luminarias which the Visiting Scholar may use in future publications. During this Seminar, students will be tasked with:

1. Researching and compiling the decisions, significant orders and policies ("Decisions") of assigned Luminarias as identified in the Seminar Objective. Students will receive training on legal research and how to read/interpret legal cases.

2. Where possible, conduct interviews of Luminaria about their significant Decisions. The Visiting Scholar initially will contact and obtain the approval of these Luminarias and make the introductions, as well as provide guidance on conducting the interviews.

3. Write a paper summarizing and analyzing the Decisions of Assigned Luminarias, with special discussion about cases and decisions that set precedent. Papers will include a discussion of the legal, policy and legislative ramifications of their legal work; the societal and practical impact, if any, on specific industries or professions; and the political impact, e.g. did the Decision(s) result in legislation?

4. Produce a collaborative piece. Working with classmates the individual papers will be linked to produce a holistic piece about the collective work of Assigned Luminarias. Additional editing and narrative discussion connecting the work may be required, starting chronologically and building on subject matter and impact.

5. During the second part of the semester, law students enrolled in the Seminar will conduct the same type of research and analysis at the state court level of select Luminarias who served/are serving as state court justices and judges.

Prerequisites: N/A
Credit Hours: 3
ULW: This course does not satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement (ULW)


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