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Fall 2023 Course

Federal Courts and the Federal System

Prerequisites: For JD students, this course is open to those who have taken 1L Constitutional Law, or are concurrently taking, one of the basic courses in Constitutional Law: 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.

Exam Type: In Class

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.