Federal Courts and the Federal System

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Spring 2014 Course
Meets: M, T, W 10:20am - 12:00pm in WCC Room 2012
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.

Text: Low and Jeffries, Federal Courts and Federal-State Relations, 7th edition, and the most recent Supplement.

Prerequisites: For JD students, this course is open to those who have taken, or are concurrently taking, one of the two basic courses in Constitutional Law - Constitutional Law: First Amendment or Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment. For LLM students, instructor permission is required to enroll in this course.