Carnegie Mellon University

Legal Issues in Public Administration

Course Number: 84-346

Part I of the course will focus on legal issues in public administration and cover the relationship between the government and its employees, including the role of labor unions and collective bargaining in the federal sector. Part II will cover official immunity for government officials, "equal protection of the law" and substantive due process. Part III will cover separation of powers, federalism and judicial review of agency action. Reading assignments will include short excerpts from relevant books/periodicals. Students will also be asked to read court opinions. Although these opinions may be filled with legal jargon, at their essence, most concern the tension between individual rights and government efficiency and control.

Academic Year: 2019-2020
Semester(s): Fall, Mini 1
Required/Elective: Elective
Units: 6
Location(s): Washington, DC

Learning Objectives

This course is an introduction to some of the legal issues that an individual working in public administration is likely to encounter. Because it is a “mini course”, we cannot expect to cover all of the many issues that arise in the conduct of public administration and policy-making. Instead, this course is intended to give you a basic understanding of administrative law and legal issues affecting federal employment.

At the end of this course, you should be able to discuss:
● The principles of federal constitutional and administrative law that govern public administrators’ decisions and actions;
● How the branches of government support and challenge the creation of administrative policy; and
● The tension between individual rights and government efficiency and control, particularly with respect to federal employment.

At the end of this course, you should also be able to read a court opinion and derive principles and standards that can be applied in similar factual situations.

Fall 2019
Mini 1
5:30-8:20 PM

This course is only open to students participating in the CMU/WSP.

Elective course for the following IPS degrees:
B.S. International Relations and Politics
Additional Major in International Relations and Politics
B.S. Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in Politics and Public Policy