New York Course Info


“To Stand By Things Decided”: The Supreme Court in an Era of Changing Politics

Les Fagen '71 
Mitchell Nobel '13, '16

Wednesdays, October 3 - November 7, 7 - 8:30 p.m.                $395

Location:  Paul, Weiss Law Firm, 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

Course Description: 

Given the recent appointment of Justice Gorsuch and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, the United States Supreme Court is poised to rule on a number of serious and well-known issues over the coming years.  This course is designed to provide background on the current state of some of these major Constitutional issues, including the right to an abortion, the constitutionality of affirmative action, and the ability of the President to avoid or prevent prosecution.

Each week, we will cover one important area of the law that is likely to come before the Supreme Court soon.  We will read the landmark cases on that topic along with academic articles exploring their consequences.  In our classes, we will discuss what the Supreme Court has already done in this area, what issues remain open, and how the Supreme Court may rule in the future.  Students will walk away with both a better understanding of the legal issues they see in the news and a sense of what may be coming soon.

Course Materials:

To be distributed by professors

Course Syllabus:

Week 1 - October 3:      Introduction: Judicial review and stare decisis, as shown in school segregation

  • Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Week 2 - October 10:    Abortion and reproductive rights

  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

  • Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

Week 3 - October 17:    Gay and transgender rights

  • Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015)

  •  G.G. ex rel. Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., 822 F.3d 709 (4th Cir.) (2016)

Week 4 - October 24:    Religious freedom and expression

  • Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014)

  • Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm'n, 138 S. Ct. 1719 (2018)

Week 5 - October 31:    Guns and the Second Amendment

  • District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

Week 6 - November 7:   Immigration

  • Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392 (2018)

  • 9th Circuit DACA litigation – if opinion has issued

 Leslie Fagen

A senior partner in the Litigation Department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, Les Fagen has successfully handled complex civil litigation matters for more than 35 years. Les is a highly experienced trial lawyer and commercial litigator who has represented dozens of the firm’s most important clients. Representing defendants and plaintiffs, he has achieved favorable outcomes for clients at trial and on appeal and in both federal and state courts. Les also has substantial experience in domestic and international arbitrations and mediations and is regularly tapped by boards and executives for advice on litigation strategy.  Les is a graduate of Yale College, where he was a member of the Berkeley College Class of 1971 and the captain of the fencing team.


Mitchell Nobel

Mitchell Nobel is an associate in the Litigation Department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison.  Between 2016 and 2017, he served as a law clerk to Judge Paul V. Niemeyer on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he assisted on cases covering constitutional issues such as legislative prayer and President Trump’s travel ban.  He is a member of the Yale Law School Class of 2016 and the Ezra Stiles Class of 2013.  While at Yale, he directed a production of Glengarry Glen Ross and edited The Yale Record, a comedy magazine.


Understanding Today's Ecological Issues: Landscape, Literature & Ecology        Registration

Paul Kane '73, '90 PhD

Mondays, October 1 - November 5, 4:15 - 5:45 p.m.                    $395

Location: Yale Club of New York, 50 Vanderbilt Ave. New York, NY 10017

Course Description: 

This course considers American environmental literature as it intersects with various notions of landscape and ecology. Readings will range from the classic “nature writing” of the 19th and 20th centuries to more contemporary ecological texts, with examples drawn from multiple disciplines and approaches (including Native American views). Writers will include Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Leslie Silko, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben and others. Our journey will take us through many different landscapes, both inner and outer, enhancing our understanding of some of the ecological issues facing us today.

Course Materials:

Please purchase the text American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, ed. Bill McKibben (Library of America)
All additional course materials will be provided for you in PDF form.

Syllabus: TBD


Paul Kane

Paul Kane is a scholar of American literature and a poet. He has published 18 books, including six collections of poems. His work appears in The Paris Review, The New Republic, Poetry, The New Criterion, The Kenyon Review, Partisan Review, and elsewhere. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Bogliasco Foundation, as well as a Fulbright Grant to Australia. He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale, an M.A. from Melbourne University, and an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University. He has taught at Yale and Monash University and is currently Professor of English at Vassar College, where he also teaches in the Environmental Studies program.  




Jane Austen      Registration WAITLIST ONLY

Priscilla Gilman '93, '02 PhD

Mondays, October 1 - November 5, 6 - 7:30 p.m.                $395

Location: Yale Club of New York, 50 Vanderbilt Ave. New York, NY 10017

Course Description: 

This is a two-semester course, but either semester may be taken without the other. In the fall, the focus will be on Austen's brilliant juvenilia, including Love and Friendship, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey. In the spring, books for study will be Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. Special attention will be paid to Austen's literary influences and influence, parody and satire in her work, her distinctive narrative voice, morals and manners, her take on the gothic and the sentimental novel, gender conventions and constraints, desire, love, and marriage.

Course Materials:

Details of required course materials will be provided after registration.


Registration WAITLIST ONLY

Priscilla Gilman

Priscilla Gilman is the author of The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy (Harper), a beautiful exploration of one woman’s expectations and hopes for her children, her family, and herself, and of the ways in which we are all capable of reimagining our lives and finding joy in the most unexpected circumstances. Gilman grew up in New York City and graduated from Yale summa cum laude and phi beta kappa, with exceptional distinction in the English major. She went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature at Yale, and spent two years as an assistant professor of English at Yale and four years as an assistant professor of English at Vassar College before leaving academia in 2006. From 2006-11, she worked as a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates, representing a wide range of literary fiction, inspirational memoir, wellness, and psychology/education books. During these years, she also taught poetry appreciation to inmates in a restorative justice program and to New York City public school students, and spoke at numerous early childhood and education conferences and events.

The Anti-Romantic Child, Gilman’s first book, was excerpted in Newsweek magazine and featured on the cover of its international edition. It received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, was an NPR Morning Edition Must-Read, Slate‘s Book of the Week, selected as one the Best Books of 2011 by the Leonard Lopate Show, and chosen as a Best Book of 2011 by The Chicago Tribune. The Anti-Romantic Child was one of five nominees for a Books for a Better Life Award for Best First Book and was awarded the Mom’s Choice Gold Award, rewarding the best in family-friendly media and literature. Andrew Solomon called it “rapturously beautiful and deeply moving, profound, and marvelous.” Gilman’s second book, The Critic’s Daughter, will be published by W.W. Norton. A memoir about her relationship with her brilliant and complicated father, the late drama and literary critic Richard Gilman, it is set in the heyday of intellectual culture in New York of the 1970s and 80s.

Gilman writes about literature, parenting, autism, and education and reviews fiction and literary non-fiction for the Daily Beast, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times’ Motherlode, The Chicago Tribune, MORE, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Redbook, the Boston Globe, and Huff Post Parents. Her December 2012 New York Times op-ed, “Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown,” was the most shared piece on the site for two days after its publication, and her Aug. 25, 2013, New York Times Book Review Back Page Essay, “Early Reader,” was also widely shared via social media.

​​Her Jan. 23, 2018, piece for Slate, “'My Spaceship Knows Which Way To Go': How David Bowie Helped My Autistic Son Become Himself,” has been read by millions of people worldwide after being praised and shared by the official David Bowie website and social media accounts.

Gilman is the parenting/education advice columnist for Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution website, teaches literature classes at Yale Alumni College, and leads book groups and private writing workshops in New York City. A prize-winning teacher and with a background in the performing arts, Gilman speaks frequently at schools, conferences, and organizations about parenting, education, and the arts. She has received fellowships and grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Speranza Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the New York Council for the Humanities. In 2018, she became a certified Mindfulness and LovingKindness meditation teacher.

Innocence and Experience in British Romanticism   Registration

Priscilla Gilman '93, '02 PhD

Mondays, October 1 - November 5, 7:45 - 9:15 p.m.                $395

Location: Yale Club of New York, 50 Vanderbilt Ave. New York, NY 10017

Course Description: 

This course will explore some of the most important and influential works of British romanticism with a focus on ideas of innocence and experience. Questions addressed: How do romantic writers variously define innocence: as childhood, unspoiled nature, the ideal, purity, goodness, insight, clarity of vision, blindness, and/or ignorance? How and why is innocence lost? What is lost and what is gained as a result of the transition from innocence to experience? Topics will include: the Romantics' revision of Milton's Paradise Lost, their interest in the psychology and philosophy of memory, their glorification of children and childhood, their reverence for nature, their critique of both rationalism and crude gothic superstition, their emphasis on feeling, sensibility, and pathos, their views on radicalism and revolution. This is a two-semester course, but either semester may be taken without the other. The focus during the first semester will be on Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge; the second semester will center on Keats and the Shelleys.

Course Materials:

All of the poems and biographies can be found in the anthology Romanticism: An Anthology, edited by Duncan Wu (Blackwell).


Theories of Justice            CANCELLED

Justin Zaremby '03, '07 PhD, '10 JD

Wednesdays, October 3 - November 7, 7 - 8:30 p.m.                $395

Location:  Jay Suites 3rd Fl Conference Room, 369 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017

Course Description: 

What does it take to build a just society? Does justice serve the needs of individuals or the needs of the community-at-large? What is the relationship between justice and equality? Why does justice matter? The search for justice is a central subject in ancient and modern political thought. This course will examine these questions through the works of a range of philosophers including Plato, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and Alisdair MacIntyre.

Course Materials:

Michael J. Sandel, ed.: Justice: A Reader (Oxford University Press 2007)

Course Syllabus:

Week 1: Ancient Justice

Week 2: Utilitarianism

Week 3: Libertarianism

Week 4: Kantian Ethics

Week 5: Distributive Justice

Week 6: A Just Community


Justin Zaremby


Justin Zaremby is a lawyer who specializes in the representation of nonprofit organizations such as private foundations, universities, museums, and other tax-exempt entities on a variety of matters including corporate governance and restructuring, charitable giving, program-related investing, and international grantmaking. He received his B.A., Ph.D. and J.D. from Yale, where he won the Prize Teaching Fellowship for distinguished undergraduate teaching. He is the author of Legal Realism and American Law (2014), Directed Studies and the Evolution of American General Education (2006), and has published articles and book reviews in numerous publications including The New Criterion, the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, and the Rutgers Law Review