Federal Courts and the Federal System

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Spring 2013 Course
Meets: M, T, W 10:20am - 12:00pm in Griswold Hall Room 110
5 classroom credits

This course involves a study of the role of the federal courts in the operation of the federal system. Topics include: choice of law in the federal courts and the development of federal common law; the power of Congress to regulate jurisdiction; Supreme Court review of state court judgments; federal habeas corpus; and the federal question jurisdiction, including limitations on its exercise. Special attention will be given to various technical doctrines that frequently limit federal jurisdiction in constitutional litigation against states: the abstention and sovereign immunity doctrines, and limitations on federal injunctions against state proceedings. Other topics concerning the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1983, will also be considered. The course is open to students who have taken, or are concurrently taking, Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism and Fourteenth Amendment. Text: Low and Jeffries, Federal Courts and Federal-State Relations, 7th edition, and the most recent Supplement.

Subject Areas: Government Structure & Function , Constitutional Law & Civil Rights .