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2011/2012  BA-BLM_BA21  United States’ Crises from a Legal Perspective

English Title
United States’ Crises from a Legal Perspective

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course Period Autumn
Pending schedule: Wed.:15.20-17.55, week:38-41, 43-48
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BA in International Business Communication
Course Coordinator
  • Robin Elizabeth Herr - Law Department
Robin Herr - reh.jur@cbs.dk. Secretary Trine Buch - tb.jur@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Information Systems
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics

Taught under Open University-Taught under open university.
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
The course’s development of personal competences:
1. Improve rhetorical, persuasive and other skills needed to argue successfully both in written and oral form
2. Increase experience in group work
3. Enhance ability to apply legal analysis to critical societal problems
4. Deepen understanding of the role of law in society

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the substantive law in critical areas of the economy, foreign policy or democracy
2. Intelligently discuss America’s crises from a legal perspective
3. Successfully and persuasively propose resolutions to these legal problems
4. Thoughtfully reflect on the impact of the law on American society
This is a class open to all. No previous legal studies are necessary or expected.
Project/ home assignment:
Assessment Home Assignment
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship No censorship
Exam Period Winter Term
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below
Project/ home assignment of maximum 10 pages. The students pick their own topic. Exam grade according to the 7-point scale, no second examiner. Re-examination will be conducted in the same way as the ordinary exam.
Detailed instruction on how to complete the final exam will be conveyed throughout the course.
Course Content

This course will explore the multiple crises facing the United States today through the prism of U.S. law. The purpose of this analysis is two-fold. First, it will enable the student to understand the basic principles of the U.S. legal system and how the law reflects the actions and norms of American society. Second, through such knowledge, the student can achieve a deeper comprehension of the problems facing the United States and to evaluate possible avenues of reform.

The course will focus on three areas of crisis: 1. the economy; 2. foreign policy, and 3. democracy. News about the economic crisis is ubiquitous. But what exactly went wrong, how could it have been prevented and what is the solution? This section of the course will touch on areas such as company law to see what kind of responsibilities a company has to its shareholders and to the public. It will also scrutinize the regulatory powers available to the government in order to prevent or manage such a crisis. Finally, the steps taken by the Obama administration will be evaluated to see whether or not the country is adequately addressing the crisis.

The actions of the Bush Administration as part of the war on terror have had tremendous legal repercussions. Within the United States, civil liberties were reduced, including by allowing wiretapping without a warrant under certain circumstances. Outside the U.S., international law was arguably breached through the pre-emption doctrine which led to the invasion of Iraq, and through a redefinition of a terrorist and of torture. Scrutiny of domestic and international laws can help us understand the repercussions of these actions, the limits of the law, and the extent to which the Obama administration is addressing these problems.

The last section of this course will explore the laws that affect the very foundation of the democratic system. The controversy surrounding who won the presidential elections of 2000 was ended by the U.S. Supreme Court well after the actual election. Ten years later, even more questions have been presented. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned established court precedent in order to allow companies to influence elections by paying for issue-based advertisements during campaigns. We will analyze the repercussions of this and other changes on the mid-term Congressional elections of November 2010.

Teaching Methods
The class will combine lectures with active student participation through discussions and the arguing of legal cases. Students are expected to complete a written paper which will serve as the final exam. They are also asked to hand in a voluntary 1-2 pages homework assignment regarding the topic of their final exam.
  1. Excerpts from Roger Miller, William E. Hollowell, Business Law: Text and Exercises (West Legal Studies in Business, 5th edition, 2007)
  2. The United States Constitution
  3. Excerpts from U.S. Supreme Court cases
  4. Various scholarly articles on the subject areas covered


Further details of reading will appear in the semester plan.