“I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about law. I learned to look at political topics from more of a legal standpoint in order to find the best and most realistic solutions to prominent issues." — From a program course evaluation
This course examines the United States Supreme Court and several of the major social and legal issues over which it has jurisdiction. Beginning with a brief introduction on how cases are heard by the Supreme Court, we proceed to a wide-ranging look inside America's most hotly debated cases and the issues that shape them. Covering both the substantive and the procedural law, students learn how to identify legitimate arguments for and against each topic and gain an understanding of constitutional challenges and limitations.
Topics under consideration may include privacy rights, freedom of speech, LGBTQ rights and the determination of sex and gender, abortion rights, the death penalty, legalization of marijuana, voting rights, gun control, and coronavirus-related issues.
Before joining Columbia University, Susan Alevas had taught at the university level since 1996 (undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs), including New York University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Most recently, she has taught Foundations of Labor and Employment Law for Columbia University’s Human-Capital graduate program. Ms. Alevas is currently associated with Cornell University for which she teaches courses in the human resources graduate program and facilitates a number of courses in the executive-certificate programs. She earned her J.D. from Touro University School of Law and has served as a technical (legal) editor for the SPHR Exam Prep and PHR Exam Prep. Her research has led to published articles about constitutional issues in the public schools and ethical considerations for organizational leaders. For many years, she served as in-house counsel to a Board of Education where she instituted best legal practices in the areas of constitutional, contract, insurance, election, education, health and safety, employment and labor law. Since 2004, she has consulted on a wide variety of human resources and law-related matters for US domestic and international corporations and union associations based in the United States, Canada, Bermuda, Singapore, Australia and Europe. For nearly twenty years, Ms. Alevas has been donating her legal services to safeguard voter rights in both New York and Florida, the two states in which she is licensed to practice law.
Specific course details such as topics, activities, hours, and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.