Maryellen Fullerton

Professor of Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-7925 |  Email  | CV
Areas of Expertise

Asylum and Refugee Law
Civil Procedure
Human Rights Law
International Law
Federal Courts
Immigration Law

Education
B.A., Duke University
J.D., Antioch School of Law

Civil Procedure

This course is designed to introduce beginning law students to the elements and procedures of the civil justice system. The course covers the litigation process from commencement of a case through appeals. Major topics include jurisdiction, remedies, pleading, discovery, class actions, and pretrial and trial procedures. Issues covered in the course include: In what court may a lawsuit be commenced? Over what persons and entities does a court have power? Who may participate in a lawsuit? How much information must opposing parties disclose to each other? What are the roles of the judge and jury?

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. Final exam.

Constitution, Civil Rights and Immigrants

Immigration has been described as the "civil rights issue of our time." This course will examine the role of U.S. constitutional and statutory law in protecting the rights of noncitizens in the United States. Noncitizens "or immigrants" are, by definition, a vulnerable group in most societies. This course will explore the rights that immigrants do, and do not, have under U.S. law. In contrast to traditional Immigration Law courses, which examine the terms under which noncitizens are admitted to and removed from the United States, this course focuses on the legal protections available to noncitizens while they are living and working in the United States. This course will examine the manner in which the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted in an atrophied fashion in the immigration context. For example, the U.S. Constitution permits Congress to apply rules to noncitizens that it could never apply to citizens. Furthermore, fundamental constitutional principles - such as the checks and balances provided by judicial review - have been truncated in decisions involving immigrants. On the other hand, landmark constitutional decisions, from Yick Wo to Plyler v. Doe, have expanded protection to vulnerable noncitizens targeted by hostile legislators. In addition to constitutional dimensions, the course will examine U.S. civil rights statutes and the protection they afford to noncitizens. It will also analyze the political ferment unleashed by the contemporary debates about the role of immigration in U.S. society and the need to reform the current legal framework for immigration.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Final exam.

Federal Courts and the Federal System

An advanced study of the sources of federal jurisdiction is presented, with emphasis on Article III of the United States Constitution, including justiciability, original jurisdiction of the federal courts, review of state court decisions by the Supreme Court and statutory and judge-made limitations on access to the federal courts.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Final exam.

Forced Migration: the Law of Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Internally Displaced People

This course will analyze in depth the procedural and substantive rights of refugees under the domestic law of the United States. The course will also examine the principal United Nations and regional treaties concerning refugees, focusing on the refugee definition set forth by the treaties and on the enforcement mechanisms that are available. With these materials in mind, the course will compare United States refugee law with the refugee law that has developed in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Final exam.

Immigration and Nationality Law

This course studies immigration, nationality and naturalization laws of the United States. Among the topics discussed are: the immigrant selection system, the issuance of nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, grounds of excludability of aliens and of waiver of excludability, grounds for deportation of aliens and for relief from deportation, change of status within the United States, administrative procedures, administrative appeals, judicial review, nationality by birth and by naturalization, revocation, naturalization, and expatriation.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. Final exam.

International Human Rights

This course will consist of a study of the normative basis and reach of human rights in international law as well as an examination of substantive human rights principles and their enforcement through international and United States mechanisms. Students will also have an opportunity to select a human rights problem from a list of contemporary human rights problems and to explore in depth the application of these principles and mechanisms towards its solution.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. Class participation and a take-home exam. A limited number of students may write a research paper in lieu of the final exam. The scope and quality will exceed the requirements for the UCWR and so may be used to satisfy that requirement.

International Law

This course delves into the fundamentals of international law. It introduces students to the institutions, doctrines, and methodologies of public international law, and provides the foundation for all subsequent specialized courses. International law covers a vast sea of substantive areas, ranging from the use of force, the law of armed conflict, and international criminal law, to international economic law (trade and investment) and human rights, to the law of the sea and international environmental law. While this course will expose you to most of these substantive areas along the way, it will not be taught as a general survey. The ambition of the course is rather to teach you the deep structure of the system, and to equip you with the key critical tools to teach yourself any substantive area of international law you encounter throughout your careers. We will focus primarily on the sources of international law, the subjects of international law, and the mechanisms for responsibility and accountability within the international legal order. These methods will then be illustrated through case studies in two key areas: the use of force and international economic law.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Take-home exam.

International Litigation

Students will be introduced to the diversity of issues and problems relating to international litigation. The course considers the special problems of litigating or arbitrating a dispute that has significant connections with more than one country. Topics in the course include: suing foreign defendants in United States courts; suits by foreign plaintiffs; recognition of judgments; the Act of State doctrine; foreign sovereign immunity; extra-territorial application of United States law; Alien Tort Statute; damages resulting from international flights; international child abduction; letters of credit; and arbitration and mediation.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Final exam.

Law and Literature Seminar

This seminar uses literature, commentary on literature, and legal writings to consider the ways in which law and literature intersect. The assigned materials deal with such issues whether law and morality are identical, whether justice is achieved in the legal system, how lawyers can achieve persuasiveness and even eloquence by using the techniques of great writers, and what relation exists between stories and legal arguments and theories.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. All students will write a paper in the course and make a half hour presentation to the class based on the subject of their paper. There is no exam.