Joel Gora

Professor of Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-7926 |  Email  | CV
Areas of Expertise

Campaign Finance
Election Law
Civil Liberties
Freedom of Speech
Media Law

B.A., Pomona College
LL.B., Columbia Law School

Campaign Finance Law

This course will involve an in-depth exploration of the various constitutional, statutory, regulatory and policy issues surrounding the regulation of the financing of political campaigns. Campaign finance issues and problems have been a staple of Supreme Court jurisprudence for almost fifty years and have come to the fore in recent years because of cases such as Citizens United. The topics covered in this course will include: the foundational principles governing the field, the regulation of contributions and expenditures, the role and regulation of outside groups and individuals, the role of disclosure and public financing of campaigns as possible, partial solutions to campaign finance problems, the special problems of financing judicial elections, the question of greater regulation of lobbyists and government contractors, the nature of state law campaign regulations and the ongoing search for solutions to the various principle and policy dilemmas that plague the area.

Grading and Method of evaluation:

Letter grade with no pass/fail option. The grade in the course will be based on a final examination, but there will be a paper option which, with the permission of the instructor, may be used to satisfy the Upper Class Writing Requirement.

Enrollment Notes:

Students who have earned credit for Campaign Finance Law Seminar may not enroll in this course.

Constitutional Law

This course presents an introduction to the historical background, content, and meaning of the United States Constitution. The course focuses on such issues as: the origins and scope of judicial review; intergovernmental relations; separation of powers among the legislative, judicial, and executive branches; powers of the President; basic principles of individual rights and equal protection; due process; and state and federal regulatory powers.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. Final exam.

Election Law: the Law of Democracy

This course will examine the law - constitutional and statutory - governing the political and electoral process in America. Emphasis will be on the way in which constitutional law doctrines and theories, particularly under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, restrain legislative enactments that regulate politics and elections. Topics will include the right to vote, legislative apportionment, regulation of political parties, the problems of direct democracy (initiatives, referenda, ballot questions), efforts to control the political campaign funding and regulation of lobbying and direct access to governmental processes. Course materials will include a regular casebook, supplemented by topical materials.

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.

First Amendment Law

This course focuses on First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition. In addition, the course may examine the two religion clauses of the First Amendment. Although this is an elective course, it is strongly recommended that students take it in order to complete their basic understanding of Constitutional Law.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass/fail option. Final exam.

First Amendment Seminar

This seminar will involve an in-depth exploration of various contemporary First Amendment themes and problems focusing on the protections of free speech, free press, freedom to petition and freedom of religion, and government regulation of these rights. Topics for study will include: incitement of violence, hate speech, commercial speech, sexual speech, aesthetic zoning, campaign finance restrictions, lobbying regulation, public subsidies and speech, religious speech in public spaces, privacy and speech, and regulation of new media.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade. Each student will prepare and present a paper exploring a contemporary aspect of one of these various topics. With the advance permission of the Instructor, a limited number of students will be permitted to request that their papers be eligible to satisfy the Upperclass Writing Requirement.