This chapter, part of Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion and Equity in the Law School Classroom (Carolina Academic Press 2021), provides an overview of the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project, a collaboration of feminist scholars and lawyers who rewrite significant judicial opinions using feminist methods and reasoning. One of the primary goals of the series of Feminist Judgments books is to demonstrate that the law has a vast, but often unrealized, potential for social justice. The feminist judgment methodology requires the authors of rewritten opinions to act as judges in following the rules of precedent and custom—and to be bound by the same facts and law as in the original opinion—while demonstrating that cases can still be decided in ways that address social justice concerns. The academics, activists, and lawyers who collaborate on these volumes provide rewritten opinions accompanied by commentaries that help law students and other readers understand the social and historical context of the original judgment as well as the ways in which feminist theories and approaches influenced the feminist judgment’s reasoning or outcome or both.
This chapter provides concrete suggestions for using feminist judgments as a teaching tool in first-year legal writing courses, doctrinal courses such as in Property, Constitutional Law, and Torts, as well as upper-level courses in Business Associations and Taxation. The rewritten judgments can help students think creatively when researching, show students how to do deep factual research, and help with cultural competence. Analysis of the feminist judgments can also illuminate deeper issues of diversity and inclusion and allow students to become more sensitive to embedded or unconscious bias that they might have otherwise overlook in judicial opinions presented in a typical casebook. By heightening students’ awareness of the importance of perspective, feminist judgments are invaluable and flexible teaching tools.
Kathryn M. Stanchi, Bridget J. Crawford & Linda L. Berger, Teaching with Feminist Judgments, in Doctrine & Diversity: Inclusion & Equity in the Law School Classroom (Nicole Dyszlewski et al. eds., 2021).
Courts Commons, Judges Commons, Law and Gender Commons, Law and Race Commons, Law and Society Commons, Legal Education Commons, Legal Writing and Research Commons, Sexuality and the Law Commons, Torts Commons