Property rights, free speech, union dues, affirmative action, immigration and the contraception mandate within the Affordable Care Act all add up to a very busy semester for the students and professors in the Constitutional Jurisprudence Clinic (CJC) here at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law.
For the last 15 years Chapman’s CJC has offered our students the opportunity to work on live cases with Dr. John Eastman and Clinic Director Anthony Caso in the Federal Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of the United States. This semester students worked with the professors to craft briefs in numerous cases including Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Sissel v. Burwell.
CJC is structured to mirror the experience students would receive in a typical appellate law firm. Students receive tremendous real world experience developing a research and writing schedule, preparing memos and notices for party counsel, meeting deadlines, and working with a “firm partner” (a.k.a. professor) to develop briefs that are eventually submitted to the courts.
This year, CJC added a trial-level component under the direction of Professor Larry Salzman. During the course this semester, students working with Professor Salzman filed a federal constitutional lawsuit in the Northern District of California challenging a 2001 ordinance by the City of Palo Alto that unconstitutionally conditions the right of mobile home park owners to close a mobile home park on the payment of extraordinary payments to tenants. Students worked with Professor Salzman to research the case and craft the initial complaint, which they filed just two weeks ago.
Next semester students will work with Professor Salzman to prepare that case for trial as well as developing and filing additional property rights cases in federal and California state courts. Dr. Eastman and Professor Caso are already preparing to weigh in on Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole (Texas’s health standards for abortion facilities), a challenge to the new California assisted suicide bill signed into law by Governor Brown this October, and litigation seeking to protect the rights of voters to challenge laws via California’s referendum process.