The Courses

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Law 220. Law for Air Force Officers
Law 221. Legal Research and Writing

Law 321. Legal Advocacy
Law 331. Crime and Criminal Justice
Law 340. Business Law
Law 351. American Constitutional Law
Law 360. Law and Literature
Law 363. International Law
Law 421. Law for Commanders

Law 422. Commanders Use of Military Law
Law 440. Cyberlaw
Law 456. National Security Law
Law 463. Modern Application of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)
Law 461. International Law
Law 466. Advanced Topics in the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)
Law 480. Topics in Constitutional Law and Appellate Advocacy
Law 485. Contemporary Problems and the Law
Law 495. Special Topics
Law 499. Independent Study
Philosophy 360. Applied Reasoning
Philosophy  395.  Philosophy of Law
Political Science 423. War Crimes, Genocide, and Human Rights
Social Science 420. Law and Economics
Social Science 483. Principles of Negotiation & the Mediation Process

Law 220. Law for Air Force Officers. A core course introducing cadets to the legal knowledge and skills they will need as Air Force officers and educated citizens.  The course examines the nature of law and its role in American society and the military; provides an overview of the American and military justice legal systems; examines selected foundational constitutional rights, particularly as they apply in the armed forces; and introduces substantive areas of the law that military officers likely will encounter in their personal and official capacities, including criminal law, civil law, military administrative law, and the law of armed conflict.  Final exam.  Sem hrs: 3; fall or spring.


In addition, this course/program is a primary contributor to the development and
assessment of the following USAFA outcomes:
Responsibilities: Service to the Nation
Skills: Written Communication, Decision Making
Knowledge: Ethics and the Foundations of Character

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Law 221. Legal Research and Writing. Following an introduction to the fundamentals of legal research and legal reasoning, students will do various exercises intended to enhance research skills, hone the ability to recognize and articulate legal issues, foster critical analysis and promote effective communication.  Students will also practice advocacy skills.  The course culminates with the students preparing a legal memorandum or equivalent legal document.  Students will receive a fact scenario that presents an ill-defined issue of law.  They will draft an appellate brief or equivalent document which they will use to advocate a position in oral argument.  Final project.  Prereq/Coreq: Law 220.  Sem hrs: 3; fall or spring.

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Law 321. Legal Advocacy.  This course uses and expands the fundamental legal research and writing skills learned in Law 221.  Students learn the additional skills needed to effectively advocate a position.  Using various processes, students will enhance their ability to critically analyze facts, identify the important issues, and sharpen their oral and written advocacy skills.  Starting with the research and writing skills acquired in Law 221, students will be taught and exercise fundamental advocacy skills.  As students improve their fundamental skills, more advanced advocacy skills, such as those used in trials and other legal proceedings, will be introduced.  As students progress beyond trial skills, they will have an opportunity to develop more advanced, written and oral advocacy skills, such as those practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate level courts.  Final project.  Prereq/Coreq:  Law 221.  Sem hrs: 3; fall. (A student taking the earlier version of Law 221 must have departmental approval to take Law 321.)

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Law 331. Criminal Law and Procedure.  This course examines selected crimes and defenses and focuses on how and why selected constitutional rights constrain the government and protect individual liberties in the context of criminal law and procedure.  Skills emphasized include critical thinking, legal problem-solving, and oral and written communication.  Final exam or final report.  Prereq: Law 220 or departmental approval.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Law 340. Business Law.  An in-depth study of law governing commerce and business organizations in the United States.  Emphasis will be placed on contracts, formation of business organizations and laws which regulate the workplace environment.  Final exam  or final project.  Prereq: Law 220 or department approval.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Law 351. U.S. Constitutional Law. This course is an in-depth analysis of selected provisions of the U.S Constitution and Supreme Court decisions interpreting them. Topics include powers of the branches of the federal government, federal-state relations, and individual rights as limitations on governmental power.  Skills emphasized include critical thinking, legal problem-solving, and oral and written communication.  Final exam or final report.  Prereq: Law 220 and C1C or C2C standing.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Law 360. Law and Literature. This interdisciplinary seminar entails the in-depth study of selected literary works that provide insights and raise questions concerning important legal issues and the nature and purposes of law.  Emphasis will be placed on developing critical reading, speaking, and writing skills.  Final report.  Prereq: English 211 and Law 220.  Sem hrs: 3; fall of even-numbered years.

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Law 363. International Law.  A course studying the legal principles which govern relations among nations.  Students will study the historical development of international law and important principles which govern relations among nations today.  Topics may include sources of International Law, statehood, sovereign immunity, diplomatic relations, the United Nations and other international organizations, treaties, extraterritorial jurisdiction, international courts, law of the sea, the UN Charter, and peacekeeping operations.  Final exam or paper.  Prereq: Law 220 or department approval.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Law 421. Law for Commanders.  This course is more than just a continuation and expansion of Law 220, Law for Air Force Officers.  Focus is on using real-world scenarios to help students think like a commander who has respect for the rule of law, knows how to evaluate basic legal advice about a problem, and appropriately uses it to make good decisions for the Air Force.  Examines command authority over AF personnel, the extent of that authority to accomplish the mission and instill good order and discipline, the effective use of disciplinary tools, and common command/legal concerns facing leaders.  This is a hands-on, application class that allows students to practice problem-solving skills and to communicate solutions and rationale in an appropriate manner.  Final exam or final paper/project.  Prereq: Law 220.  Sem hrs:  3; fall.

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Law 422. Commanders Use of Military Law. This course is designed for students who have not had an in-depth study of law beyond Law 220. This course is more than just a continuation and expansion of Law 220, Law for Air Force Officers. Focus in on using real world scenarios to help students think like a commander who has respect for the rule of law, knows how to evaluate basic legal advice about a problem, and appropriately uses it to make good decisions for the Air Force. Examines command authority over AF personnel, the extent of that authority to accomplish the mission and instill good order and discipline, the effective use of disciplinary tools, and common command/legal concerns facing leaders. This is a hands-on application class that allows students to practice problem-solving skills and to communicate solutions and rationale in an appropriate manner. Cadets cannot earn credit for both Law 421 and Law 422. Final exam or final paper/project. Prereq: Law 220 and C1C standing or department approval. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

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Law 440. Cyberlaw. 3(1). This course explores the multitude of legal issues affected by the use of computers and the Internet. The course closely examines the evolution of criminal law in cyberspace, specifically the problems associated with jurisdiction, the right of privacy, search and seizure, and evidence. The course will also examine how cyberspace impacts the law of war, including what constitutes the use of force in cyberspace, and how this all influences traditional notions of sovereignty. Although some basic technical information will be discussed during the semester, this course is designed for the non-technical student. The emerging legal issues discussed will also stimulate the interest of the technical student. As future commanders, cadets must be prepared to handle computer related legal issues, whether criminal, intellectual property, or use of force. This course will discuss these emerging problems of the 21st Century. Final exam or final project. Prereq: Law 220. Sem hrs: 3; fall.

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Law 456. National Security Law.  This  course offers an examination of the domestic and international legal authority affecting US national security matters and the command and control of the key instruments of national security, focusing on the US military.  Topics include:  Presidential and Congressional treaty and war powers under the Constitution; command and control of the military under the modern national security system; legal authority for the international use of force; intelligence and information security law; terrorism and unconventional warfare; and domestic uses of military and the Posse Comitatus Act.  Final exam or report. Prereq: Law 220.  Sem hrs: 3; fall.

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Law 463. Modern Application of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).  This course provides a detailed introduction to the international laws governing armed conflicts.  Topics covered may include the resort to force, rules on conduct of hostilities, treatment and status of prisoners, the laws of occupation, and the relationship with human rights law.  Students will study international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions and will examine decisions of international courts, the U.S Supreme Court, and courts-martial to determine how the law of war is explained, interpreted, and applied to important historical and current conflicts.  Final exam or final paper.  Prereq:  Law 220 and Law 363 (or department approval).  Sem hrs: 3; fall.

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Law 466. Advanced Topics in the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).  This course goes beyond the fundamental principles and primary sources of LOAC explored in Law 361, focusing on unsettled questions and contemporary issues. Topics include the modern use of force, the definitions of combatants, the interplay of LOAC and human rights law, international criminal tribunals, rule of law efforts, and other current issues. Students will explore primary and secondary sources in a seminar setting, enhancing critical analysis and sharpening oral and written communication skills. Final paper or final exam. Prereq: Law 361 and departmental approval. Sem hrs: 3; spring. 

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Law 480. Topics in Constitutional Law and Appellate Advocacy.  This course focuses on detailed analysis of two related constitutional law questions that are presented in a hypothetical case problem.  The selected constitutional law questions will reflect important public policy issues that are currently being litigated in the lower courts, but have not yet reached the Supreme Court.  Students will research the relevant authorities cited in the case problem and write analytical case briefs, legal memoranda, and a persuasive appellate brief.  Students will also argue both sides of one question in the case before a moot Supreme Court.  Final project or final exam.  Prereq:  Departmental approval required.  Sem hrs: 3; fall. 

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Law 485. Legal Studies Capstone.  This course uses multiple law-related scenarios based upon contemporary military, national, and international issues.  It affords students the opportunity to integrate knowledge and expertise acquired in other law courses and further hone their analytical and communication skills as they work together to identify and resolve complex legal issues.  Final exam or final project. Prereq: Law 421 and Legal Studies major with C1C standing (or department approval). Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Law 495. Special Topics. Selected topics or subjects in law.  Final exam or final report. Prereq:  Law 220 and departmental approval.  Sem. hrs: 3; offered periodically in fall or spring.

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Law 499. Independent Study.  Study and research in a legal topic or topics of choice for students who have demonstrated their ability for advanced study in regularly offered enrichment courses.  Topics and meetings arranged with the instructor.  Final report(s).  Prereq: Deptartmental approval.  Sem hrs: 3; fall or spring.

  • Law 499A. Independent Study. 2(0). Sem hrs: 2 fall or spring.
  • Law 499B. Independent Study. 1.5(0). Sem hrs: 1.5 fall or spring.
  • Law 499C. Independent Study. 1(0). Sem hrs: 1 fall or spring.

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Philos 360. Applied Reasoning.  An introduction to basic deductive and inductive applied logic.  Includes an analysis and evaluation of the notions of evidence and good arguments in fields such as law, medicine, science, engineering, behavioral and social sciences, and military studies.   Students will be expected to concentrate on reasoning in a specific field of interest.  Final exam or final project.  Prereq:  C1C, C2C, or C3C standing.  Sem hrs: 3; fall or spring.

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Philos  395. Philosophy of Law. This course will serve as an introduction to legal philosophy and its relations to moral reasoning.  Emphasis on the nature of law, its authority, its relations to morals, the controversies over judicial decision-making, the justification of states interfering with the liberty of its individual citizens, the various different or competing senses of “justice,” the question of responsibility and the justification of legal punishment.  Final exam or final project.  Prereq: Philos  310.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Political Science 423. War Crimes, Genocide, and Human Rights.  This course explores historical, legal, and political perspectives on the law of armed conflict and the development of human rights law. The Nuremberg Tribunals, the Holocaust, the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, the My Lai incident, and experiences of prisoners of war are used as case studies within this framework. Resistance movements are also examined. The course is team taught by members of the Political Science, Law, and History departments, and can be used as a social science elective or an elective in any of these three departments.  Final Exam or research paper.  Prereq: Departmental approval.  Sem hrs: 3; fall.

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Social Science 420. Law and Economics. An interdisciplinary course which examines various legal issues from an economic perspective.  The course employs basic economic principles in an effort to understand the nature of legal rules, their effect on society and to suggest how these rules might be reformed.  This framework is applied to tort, criminal, contract and property law.  Final exam or final paper.  Prereq: Econ 201.  Law 220 recommended.  Administered by DFL and DFEG.  Sem hrs: 3; spring.

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Social Science 483. Principles of Negotiation.  A study of the process of negotiation in a variety of situations ranging from negotiating one on one with family members to resolving complex  multi-party disputes.  Cadets will experience two distinct methods of negotiation; the distributive bargaining approach and the interest-based approach.  They will prepare for, conduct and analyze negotiations to include critical analysis of self and others.  Listening as an essential capability is emphasized.  Final project or report.  Prereq: None.  Administered by the Department of Law.  Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.

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