Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teaching Materials: A Model Legislation Exercise

Photo via Jason Hargrove. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Legislation is not a required course at many law schools. Yet it would be shame for students to graduate without ever understanding the power and possibilities legislative advocacy (as opposed to litigation) can achieve.

In my immigration course, I have students complete two legislative exercises. This post is about the first.

I split my class into groups of four. I give them a copy of H.R. 4080 (2007), and I ask them to read it. I also give them the following questions:

  • Consider how the bill changes current law from a technical standpoint. Does it insert new provisions? Move provisions?
  • Consider how the bill changes current law from a substantive standpoint. Does it create new rights? Alter existing rights?
  • Now consider the law from a policy standpoint. Is it a good idea? Why or why not? Be prepared to make arguments on both sides.

I use H.R. 4080 for several reasons. For one, it is short. It's just about five pages. It's also sexy. Literally. It's about foreign fashion models.

As a result, it's a bit like adding grape flavor to medecine. Students have to do the hard work of reading a bill, but they get the tasty sugary goodness of fashion. It's been a hit.

This in-class exercise ended up prompting me to write an entire law review article about nonimmigrant visas for foreign fashion models. If you're interested, it's Importing the Flawless Girl, 12 NEV. L. J. 831 (2012).


Law Review Articles & Essays, Teaching Resources | Permalink


Post a comment