Legal Theory

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Georgetown Law has a long tradition of scholarship and teaching in jurisprudence and legal theory, and many faculty work in the area. Although faculty scholarship ranges across a broad range of questions, students will find special expertise in three areas.

Many Georgetown Law faculty write in the areas critical legal theory, critical race studies, feminism, and gender studies. Though there are differences among them, these approaches generally examine the way that law works to reinforce existing distribution of power and wealth in society. First-year students interested in such approaches can apply to participate for Curriculum B, the alternative first-year curriculum. 

Students interested in these approaches may consider working on the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law or on the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspectives.

Georgetown Law also has a large number of faculty who write on the theory of legal interpretation. The Georgetown Center for the Constitution focuses on methods of constitutional interpretation, with a special emphasis on originalism. But faculty expertise in this area is not limited to questions of constitutional interpretation. Georgetown Law faculty have written leading articles on statutory interpretation, the interpretation of administrative regulations, contract interpretation, and the role of interpretation in the law of fraud and false advertising.

A third area of special faculty expertise is moral and political theory. Georgetown Law faculty have written leading works on moral cognition, on legal ethics, on libertarianism, on the application of virtue ethics to jurisprudence, on just war theory, and on the moral foundations of contract and tort law. Students interested in ethical issues can work on the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics.

Every year faculty members organize, in cooperation with the Georgetown Philosophy Department, a semester-long Law and Philosophy Seminar, which is open to both law and graduate philosophy students. Each year organizers invite outside speakers to present works in progress on a general topic. Recent topics have included “Responsibility, Liability, Holding to Account,” “Bodies, Gender, Identity,” “The Analytic Turn in Jurisprudence” and “Promises and other Relationship-Based Obligations.”

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Julie Cohen Profile
Julie Cohen
Heidi Feldman Profile
Heidi Feldman
Emma Jordan Profile
Emma Jordan
Gregory Klass Profile
Gregory Klass
David Luban Profile
David Luban
Naomi Mezey Profile
Naomi Mezey
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Advanced Constitutional Law Seminar: The Framing and Ratification of the Constitution

Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism in Theory and Practice

Legal Process and Society

Think Like a Lawyer: Elements for American Legal Analysis Seminar

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  • David Luban, Knowing When Not to Fight, in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War 185-203 (Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2018).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalist Methodology, 84 U. Chi. L. Rev. 269-295 (2017).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Gregory Klass, The Rules of the Game and the Morality of Efficient Breach, 29 Yale J.L. & Human. 71-111 (2017).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
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Faculty in the News

"Congress Can Support Police Without Federalizing State and Local Crimes," coverage in The Daily Signal, May 17, 2018, featuring Professor Randy Barnett.

"State Marijuana Laws Dodge Supreme Court Bullet," coverage in Marijuana Moment, May 14, 2018, featuring Professor Randy Barnett.

"For free speech at Macalester, the Devil is in the details," coverage in Bookworm Room, May 14, 2018, featuring Professor Randy Barnett.

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Maps & Directions

Google Location Map Georgetown University Law Center 600 New Jersey Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001