Federal Courts

Class Unique: 29175
Federal Courts is a course that investigates one of the most exciting, but often subterranean, features of the law: the distribution of power across our entire legal system, both federal and state. Doctrines that seem dry at first glance turn out to generate enormous consequences for how the law develops and even for how our society is structured. Principles that shape and limit the power of federal courts can determine not just how courts resolve grave allegations of injustice—but whether courts can even consider them at all. Whether imposed by the Constitution, a federal statute, rules of procedure, federal common law, or some other authority, those doctrines ultimately allocate responsibility and power among federal judges and the political branches, and among federal courts and the states. The law of Federal Courts is a fascinating subject for academic study, but it is far more than that. Federal Courts provides an essential, indispensable tool for students who may serve as judicial law clerks and eventually as attorneys who seek to invoke, or to forestall, federal judicial power. 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
Monday, Wednesday 5:45 - 7:35 pm TNH 3.125
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/3/17 1:30 pm A-Z
2.138

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed

Textbooks

  • Hart & Wechsler's The Federal Courts and The Federal System - Fallon et al.
      West/Foundation Press , edition: 7th (2015)
      ISBN: 978-1-60930-427-0   (required)
  • 2016 Supplement to Hart & Wechsler's The Federal Courts and The Federal System - Fallon et al.
      West/Foundation Press , edition: 2016
      ISBN: 978-1-68328-121-4   (required)
  • Federal Jurisdiction - Chemerinsky
      Wolters Kluwer , edition: 7th (2016)
      ISBN: 978-1-4548-7661-8   (optional)