Applied Statutory Interpretation: California's Housing-Framework Legislation

Seminar - 3 units.  This course teaches the theory and practice of statutory interpretation through the body of rapidly evolving California law concerned with locally-erected barriers to the supply of new, higher density housing (a/k/a “exclusionary zoning”). Students will develop a working, practical understanding of the principal theories of statutory interpretation; as well as substantive foundations in land-use law, the relationship between the state and local governments under California’s constitution, and the statutes California has enacted and repeatedly amended over the past forty years to prod local governments to allow more housing—especially affordable housing and high-density housing near transit. The course comes in three modules. Module one concerns the nature of the housing-supply/affordability problem, and the traditional structures of local land-use regulation. Module two is about theories of statutory interpretation. The third module teaches the California housing-framework legislation through a series of statutory interpretation exercises, interspersed with guest lectures from leading land use attorneys, agency officials, and local government lawyers. Grades will be based on class participation and the set of writing assignments. Students who wish to produce a writing-requirement paper building on the course material are encouraged to do so by enrolling in Law 419 (Advanced Writing Project) during the semester after taking this course. 

Final Assessment: Paper
Grading Mode:  Letter Grading

Advanced Writing
Professional Skills
Course Number



Unit 16