Welcome to the Syllabus, ZF Automotive US!

Around this time last year, I blogged about a judicial opinion I use in my courses and Pre-LL.M. onboarding (Pre-LL.M., Animal Science Products, and Legal English). On Monday, the Supreme Court released a batch of Slip Opinions (learn about what that means here). One opinion quickly jumped out, and was already in my updated LEALS syllabus that evening. ZF Automotive US v. Luxshare, Ltd. will now be a companion case to Animal Science Products during the fourth LEALS class, when students begin exploring judicial opinions.

I texted a colleague on Monday to say I was going to be immediately adding this to my syllabus. Why am I so excited about this case for my LEALS students?

  1. We spend a lot of time speaking about how U.S. people, U.S. businesses, U.S. laws, and U.S. courts interact with their counterparts (and other bodies!) around the world. I try to use examples that will inspire them to think about careers they had not previously thought about, and how a U.S. legal education can be a value for transnational legal practice. There’s a lot we’re going to be able to unpack in this opinion.
  2. We spend a lot of time discussing judicial interpretation of statutes, which is important when transitioning into a U.S. legal education. I’m excited for our discussions about the steps the Court went through to discern the meaning of “foreign or international tribunals,” the sources and techniques they used, and how the combination of words helped in their task.
  3. We discuss Circuit splits in the context of federal law, after discussing federal law and state law. Like Animal Science Products, we’ll get to tease out some discussion points about circuit splits, the role of the Supreme Court in stepping in, and what happens until that point.
  4. We spend a lot of time discussing precedent. Precedent plays an important role in the procedure here. I’m particularly looking forward to the discussions surrounding an issue that arose at the district court level: “As ZF acknowledged, however, Circuit precedent foreclosed that argument.” (p. 3).
  5. As a legal English course and not a “doctrinal” course, I look for opinions that pack in a lot of vocabulary that will assist my students in preparing for their LL.M. and J.D. programs. In a relatively short opinion (at least by Supreme Court standards!), ZF Automotive US is going to be a great source of vocabulary.

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