Federal Courts

This course addresses the doctrines and policies that shape and limit the power of federal courts. It is simultaneously a fascinating subject for academic study and an essential tool for students who may serve as judicial law clerks and eventually as attorneys who seek to invoke, or to forestall, federal judicial authority. Throughout the class, two key themes will recur: (1) separation of powers, asking how to ensure a proper role for the federal courts vis-à-vis the other branches of the federal government and (2) federalism, asking how to ensure a proper role for the federal courts vis-à-vis state governments. Specific topics include justiciability, subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts, the role and jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court, abstention, sovereign immunity, the creation and role of non-Article III courts, suits challenging official action, remedies against governments and governmental actors, and judicial federalism.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday, Thursday 5:45 - 7:35 pm TNH 3.125
Exam Type Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/15/15 8:30 am A-Z
2.123

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed

Textbooks

  • Hart & Wechsler's The Federal Courts and The Federal System
      West/Foundation Press , edition: 6th
        (required)
  • 2014 Supplement currently available, check for 2015
          (required)
  • Federal Jurisdiction - Chemerinksy
      Wolters Kluwver/Aspen , edition: 6th
        (optional)