The Fowler School of Law Constitutional Jurisprudence Clinic offers students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and three (3) units of clinical class credit by doing substantive work on important trial and appellate cases.
For the past decade, the clinic has taught students about the original understanding of the Constitution and put those lessons into practice by crafting arguments to federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court. Affiliated with the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (CCJ), clinic students conduct research and prepare appellate briefs, including petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and amicus briefs.
Most significantly, clinic briefs have been cited by appellate judges and Supreme Court Justices in their opinions. Justice Thomas cited the clinic’s brief on behalf of the Claremont Institute’s CJC in his dissenting opinion in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, 133 S.Ct. 2247, 2266 (2013) (Thomas, J. dissenting). The clinic’s brief in another case was cited by Ninth Circuit Judge N. R. Smith in his dissent in American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles, 660 F.3d 384, 412 (9th Cir. 2011) (N.R. Smith, dissenting).
Beginning fall 2015, the clinic is expanding to offer more trial-level litigation opportunities. In collaboration with Pacific Legal Foundation, students pursuing the trial litigation track will have the opportunity to litigate important property rights and economic liberty cases in federal and California state trial courts. Clinic students will have a hands-on role in every case, including research, drafting complaints, discovery requests, preparing summary judgment motions and oppositions to motions to dismiss, attending client meetings and court hearings. Students will also be introduced to the key elements and best practices of strategic litigation, including client and issue selection, communications strategy, causes of action and remedies, and unique pitfalls in suing the government (including doctrines concerning standing, abstention, governmental immunities, and mootness, among other topics).
The clinic is directed by Professor Tom Caso. Adjunct Professor Larry Salzman, an experienced property rights trial attorney, supervises the clinic’s trial-court program.