Teaching materials in public law courses typically rely almost wholly on judicial opinions as their primary materials, amplified by selections from the secondary literature. Constitutional text may appear independently, but statutory text rarely does, and the materials of the legislative process are generally absent. In administrative law course books, administrative opinions and the materials of rulemaking rarely fever appear. Yet these are primary materials with which lawyers must deal with increasing frequency. Lawyers encounter statutes, rules, administrative policies, and administrative disputes without judicial guidance, looking forward and not backward in time. The growth of courses in legislation and the regulatory state offers a chance for change from limitations owing much to Christopher Columbus Langdell's insistence that only judicial opinions provided the appropriate raw material for law study. A review of the materials developed for the course reveals only a few departures from this aged and, in the author's judgment, impoverished and fundamentally misleading pattern.
Peter L. Strauss,
Christopher Columbus Langdell and the Public Law Curriculum,
J. Legal Educ.
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