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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Amon Burton

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T C 357 • Law & Ethics Of Animal Rights

43490 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CRD 007B
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The issue of animal rights, or protecting the interests of animals, has become a serious topic of contemporary ethical, legal and political discussion because scientific research increasingly has blurred the once sharp distinction between humans and other animals.   Certain species can be taught human language; they solve problems by using tools; they experience pain and suffering; they are social, express emotions and exhibit moral behavior.  This seminar will explore issues dealing with whether and to what extent non-human animals deserve moral attention and the protection of legal rights.

And ethical issues involving other species have become the subject of intense debate in the public arena.  Recently, 60% of California voters approved a law that requires farm businesses to provide larger crates and cages for chickens, calves and pigs.  In 2009 and 2011, “puppy mill” legislative was a controversial topic in the Texas legislature. The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion involving the possible impact that new Navy sonar may have upon whales.  And internationally, Germany has amended its Constitution by adding the words "and animals" to a clause that obligates the state to respect and protect the dignity of human beings: "The state takes responsibility for protecting the natural foundations of life and animals in the interest of future generations.”

This seminar will offer students an opportunity to conduct research on issues such as the cognitive abilities of animals; whether animals should be deemed to be the legal “property” of humans; the complexity of investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty; the treatment of animals in large-scale factory farming operations; the impact of factory farming on the environment and human health; how scientific research on animals is conducted; the dilemmas of keeping animals in captivity and for entertainment; and the pros and cons of choosing to be a vegetarian.   

Assignments: This is a writing seminar and students will be expected to write short essays and critiques, conduct research and make presentations in class, and write a term paper.

Grading will be based on: short essays and critiques 30%; class research and oral presentations 25%; term paper and presentation 35%; and class participation 10%.  There will be no final examination.

Textbooks: Books that may be used in the seminar are:Lori Gruen, Ethics and Animals (2011);  Peter Singer (ed.), In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (2006); Temple Grandin, Animals in Translation (2006); Bruce A. Wagman and Sonia S. Waisman,  Animal Law: Cases and Materials (2009); Jonathan Safrin Foer, Eating Animals (2010)

About the Professor: Amon Burton has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law since 1988. He teaches professional responsibility, legal ethics and lawyer liability. He is a member of the American Law Institute and served on the ALI's Members Consultative Group on the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (Third). He currently serves by appointment of the National Conference of Bar Examiners as a member of the drafting committee for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. He served for many years as a member of the Texas Supreme Court’s Professional Ethics Committee that writes ethics opinions interpreting the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, and served as the Reporter for the Task Force on Judicial Ethics that drafted the revised Texas Code of Judicial Conduct in 1992. His most recent publications include Ethical Dilemmas in the Practice of Law: Case Studies and Problems, co-authored with John S. Dzienkowski (Thompson/West 2006) and "Reexamining the Role of In-House Lawyers After the Conviction of Arthur Andersen," co-authored with John S. Dzienkowski, which appeared in the book, Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Legal Implications (Foundation Press, 2004). He has practiced law for over thirty years in the fields of corporate, securities, and business law.

T C 357 • Law & Ethics Of Animal Rights

43010 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CRD 007B
show description

The issue of animal rights, or protecting the interests of animals, has become a serious topic of contemporary ethical, legal and political discussion because scientific research increasingly has blurred the once sharp distinction between humans and other animals.   Certain species can be taught human language; they solve problems by using tools; they experience pain and suffering; they are social, express emotions and exhibit moral behavior.  This seminar will explore issues dealing with whether and to what extent non-human animals deserve moral attention and the protection of legal rights.

And ethical issues involving other species have become the subject of intense debate in the public arena.  Recently, 60% of California voters approved a law that requires farm businesses to provide larger crates and cages for chickens, calves and pigs.  In 2009 and 2011, “puppy mill” legislative was a controversial topic in the Texas legislature. The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion involving the possible impact that new Navy sonar may have upon whales.  And internationally, Germany has amended its Constitution by adding the words "and animals" to a clause that obligates the state to respect and protect the dignity of human beings: "The state takes responsibility for protecting the natural foundations of life and animals in the interest of future generations.”

This seminar will offer students an opportunity to conduct research on issues such as the cognitive abilities of animals; whether animals should be deemed to be the legal “property” of humans; the complexity of investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty; the treatment of animals in large-scale factory farming operations; the impact of factory farming on the environment and human health; how scientific research on animals is conducted; the dilemmas of keeping animals in captivity and for entertainment; and the pros and cons of choosing to be a vegetarian.   

Assignments: This is a writing seminar and students will be expected to write short essays and critiques, conduct research and make presentations in class, and write a term paper.

Grading will be based on: short essays and critiques 30%; class research and oral presentations 25%; term paper and presentation 35%; and class participation 10%.  There will be no final examination.

Textbooks: Books that may be used in the seminar are:Lori Gruen, Ethics and Animals (2011);  Peter Singer (ed.), In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (2006); Temple Grandin, Animals in Translation (2006); Bruce A. Wagman and Sonia S. Waisman,  Animal Law: Cases and Materials (2009); Jonathan Safrin Foer, Eating Animals (2010)

About the Professor:Amon Burton has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law since 1988. He teaches professional responsibility, legal ethics and lawyer liability. He is a member of the American Law Institute and served on the ALI's Members Consultative Group on the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (Third). He currently serves by appointment of the National Conference of Bar Examiners as a member of the drafting committee for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. He served for many years as a member of the Texas Supreme Court’s Professional Ethics Committee that writes ethics opinions interpreting the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, and served as the Reporter for the Task Force on Judicial Ethics that drafted the revised Texas Code of Judicial Conduct in 1992. His most recent publications include Ethical Dilemmas in the Practice of Law: Case Studies and Problems, co-authored with John S. Dzienkowski (Thompson/West 2006) and "Reexamining the Role of In-House Lawyers After the Conviction of Arthur Andersen," co-authored with John S. Dzienkowski, which appeared in the book, Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Legal Implications (Foundation Press, 2004). He has practiced law for over thirty years in the fields of corporate, securities, and business law.

T C 357 • Law & Ethics Of Animal Rights

42850 • Fall 2010
Meets M 330pm-630pm CRD 007B
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Description:

Should non-human animals have legal rights? The issue of animal rights, or protecting the interests of animals, has become a serious topic of contemporary political, ethical and legal discussions.  In 2008, litigation involving the possible impact of new Navy sonar upon whales was considered by the United States Supreme Court; during its current term, the Supreme Court has heard legal arguments about whether criminalizing the sale of videos of dogfights violates the First Amendment right to free speech.  Recently, 60% of California voters approved a law that requires farm businesses to provide larger crates and cages for chickens, calves and pigs.  In 2002, Germany amended its Constitution by adding the words "and animals" to a clause that obligates the state to respect and protect the dignity of human beings: "The state takes responsibility for protecting the natural foundations of life and animals in the interest of future generations."  Similarly, the European Union has adopted a Protocol for the Protection and Welfare of Animals granting "improved protection and respect for the welfare of animals as sentient beings." 

A few of the issues that will be explored in the seminar are:

  • what recent developments have occurred in court cases and legislation dealing with animal rights?
  • are there ethical or scientific reasons to justify changing the legal status of animals from being deemed the “property” of humans?
  • if using animals in medical experiments is effective because certain animals are similar in many ways to humans, then why do we treat such animals differently from humans in other contexts?
  • are animal experiments in current medical research conducted in a manner that avoids suffering?
  • what research exists regarding the cognitive abilities of animals?
  • do existing broad legal exceptions (such as for farming, hunting and research) in state laws designed to prevent cruelty to animals effectively negate the objective of preventing the suffering of animals?
  • why is it legal to cause a pet to be euthanized, but assisting a consenting adult who is suffering from a terminal illness be euthanized constitutes criminal conduct?
  • what ethical and practical arguments exist, pro and con, for being a vegetarian and not eating animal meat? 


The seminar will offer students an opportunity to conduct field research on issues such as the extent to which laws to prevent cruelty to animals are enforced; how medical research on animals is conducted; and the conditions for handling animals on large-scale farming operations. 

 

Texts/Readings:

Some books to be used (subject to change) in the seminar are:

Peter Singer (ed.), In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (2006)

Sunstein and Nussbaum, Animal Rights (2004)

Gary L. Francione, Animals, Property and the Law (2005)

Sonia S. Waisman, Animal Law: Cases and Materials (2006)

Temple Grandin, Animals in Translation (2006). 

 

Assignments: 

25% - three writing assignments during the semester

40% -written term research paper; including an outline, draft, and final paper

15% -oral presentation in class on term research paper

10%  -one weekly report on an assigned topic

10% -class participation

This seminar does not have a final examination.

 

About the Professor:

Amon Burton teaches legal ethics at The University of Texas School of Law and has served as a member of the national committee that drafts the multi-state professional ethics examination that law students take to obtain a law license. He has also served as a visiting lecturer in legal ethics at Cornell Law School. His latest article, "Reexamining the Role of In-House Lawyers After the Conviction of Arthur Andersen," (co-authored with Prof. John S. Dzienkowski) was published in the book, Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Legal Implications (Foundation Press, 2004). His current law practice involves consulting with law firms on professional ethics issues and legal malpractice cases. His avocations include cycling and travel.

T C 357 • Legal Persp War On Terrorism-W

43790 • Fall 2009
Meets M 330pm-630pm CRD 007A
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8.24.2009 SYLLABUS
Legal Perspectives of the War on Terror
Seminar, Fall 2009
Plan II (Course No TC 357: 43790)
Professor Amon Burton
University of Texas School of Law

Required books for the seminar:
• Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
•Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
•Mark Danner, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror
•Philippe Sands, Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values
• Jack Goldsmith, The Terror Presidency
•*Sarah Chayes, The Punishment of Virtue: Walking the Frontline of the War on Terror with a Woman Who Has Made it Her Home [*supplemental, not required]

Printed Course Materials (available at Kinko’s):
• Report of the Committee on Armed Services of United States Senate,  “Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody” (November 20, 2008).
•Packet of Original Documents related to the War on Terror

In addition, the reading materials for this seminar will include excerpts from books, magazine and newspaper articles, and government and NGO documents.  Weekly reading assignments will be posted on the Seminar Wiki site under “Course Documents.” The Seminar Wiki site will be used in this seminar instead of Blackboard.

The Seminar Wiki Page site is located at:
https://webapp.utexas.edu/wikis/20089_43865/doku.php

There are no prerequisite courses for this seminar. The seminar is designed for students with a
wide range of academic majors and interests. The seminar meets on each Monday afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in seminar room CRD 007A (adjacent to the Joynes Reading Room).

Professor Burton will be available to meet with students by appointment. His office is located at 1306 Guadalupe and email address is aburton@law.utexas.edu. Tel. 473 8903






August 31:
Introduction to Seminar

•Objectives of the seminar: The study, research and analysis of legal and ethical issues related to the conduct of the United States in the “War on Terror” following the attacks on September 11, 2001, and to the continuing issues confronting the Obama Administration.
•Mr. Dilawar’s “Taxi to the Dark Side”
•Discussion of Steve Coll’s book: Ghost Wars

September 7 (no class; labor day holiday)
Read: Lawrence Wright’s book: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

September 14:
Guantanamo: Case Studies of Four Detainees
• Group Research Project on Guantanamo Detainees
    - Mohammed Jawad
    -Huzaifa Parhat and then other Uighurs
•Group Research Project on Detainees Sent by CIA to Black Sites or Foreign Countries
    -Abu Zubaydah
    -Khaled el-Masri [note, not al-Mari]
•Written assignment due on Sept. 14

September 21
International Law: The Emergence of Human Rights Law
•Nuremberg Trials
•Individual Rights in the Post-World War II period
•The Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War

September 28
Legal Basis for Bush/Cheney’s “War on Terror”
•U.S. Legal Memos Addressing the Geneva Conventions
•The Torture Memos
•Constitutional Powers of the Presidency
•On-going Legal Issues
Written Assignment due September 28

October 5  
Human Rights: Contradictions of American Capital Punishment
•Capital Punishment as a Human Rights Issue
•The DNA Revolution and Implications for Criminal Justice
•2009 Troy Davis Decision
•Texas and Capital Punishment





Torture and Human Suffering
•Legal History of Torture
•Interrogation Practices in the War on Terror
•Educing Information: Case Studies
•The Torture Debate in the United States

October 12
Torture and Human Suffering (continued)
Guest: Professor Mark Sainsbury

October 19
Judicial Response to the “War on Terror”:  Executive Powers, Due Process and International Law
•Group Study of Supreme Court Cases
    -Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
    -Rasul v. Bush
    -Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
    -Boumediene v. Bush
•Beyond Guantanamo: Military Commissions or Criminal Trials in U.S. Federal Courts
Written assignment due October 19

October 26
Should Governmental Officials, CIA Employees or Senior Military Officers Be Prosecuted for Violations of Law in the Conduct of the War on Terror?
•An examination of the evidence available to date.
•Competing arguments on whether governmental officials should be prosecuted for violations of law
    •The Prosecutor’s Case
    •The Administration’s Case
•International Jurisdiction for War Crimes and Human Rights Abuses
•The Woes of John Yoo

November 2
 [starting on this date students will devote full time to supervised term research papers]

•Individual conferences with students on seminar research papers

November 9

•Individual conferences with students on seminar research papers

November 16

•Oral Presentations of Research

November 23

•Oral Presentations of Research

November 30

•Oral Presentations of Research

December 4, 2009

•Final seminar research papers are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4th.

THE CLASS WIKI SITE IS ONLY FOR THE USE OF MEMBERS OF THIS SEMINAR.  NO STUDENT SHALL SEND OR SHOW TO ANY PERSON NOT REGISTERED IN THIS SEMINAR ANY INFORMATION WRITTEN AND POSTED ON THIS WIKI SITE BY ANY OTHER STUDENT IN THE SEMINAR WITHOUT THAT STUDENT AUTHOR’S EXPRESS CONSENT.

Grading:

This seminar has a substantial writing requirement.  Your grade for the semester will be determined in the following manner:

30% - three writing assignments during the semester
40% -written term research paper; including an outline, draft, and final paper
10% -oral presentation in class on term research paper
10%  -one weekly report on an assigned topic
10% -class participation

This seminar does not have a final examination.

Attendance and Disabilities:

Since this seminar meets only once per week and students will occasionally work in small groups on research assignments and, in particular, the seminar does not have a final exam, this is definitely not a course that you can sign up for and then not attend the classes.  You are expected to attend each class, read all materials assigned for each class, and participate in class discussion.  If you cannot attend a class because of serious illness or equivalent circumstances, you should let Professor Burton know about your planned absence in advance of the class.

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, at the University of Texas at Austin, 471-6259.

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