Federal Courts

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, TUE, WED, THU 11:30 am - 12:20 pm TNH 2.123

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final December 6, 2010 8:30 am A-Z in 2.123


This course covers a number of topics concerning federal jurisdiction, federal judicial power, and the relationship between federal and state courts. The course material is organized around three main themes: (1) the federal courts' proper role in the national government (separation of powers); (2) the proper relationship between the federal courts and state courts (judicial federalism); and (3) methods for enforcing federal rights against government officials. Specific topics include: congressional control over the jurisdiction of the federal courts; justiciability doctrines such as standing, ripeness, mootness, and political questions; federal common law; advanced aspects of federal question and diversity jurisdiction, including supplemental jurisdiction; abstention doctrines; Section 1983 suits; the 11th Amendment and state sovereign immunity; habeas corpus; and federal appellate jurisdiction, including United States Supreme Court review of state court judgments. The primary emphasis of the course will be on developing a critical analysis of current jurisdictional doctrines, although we will also focus to a lesser extent on some more practical aspects of litigation and litigation strategy. The course is especially relevant for those who plan to work in litigation or to serve as judicial clerks, but it should also be valuable to those who are interested in structural constitutional law and the political and social issues surrounding the work of the federal courts.


Headshot of Bruhl, Aaron-Andrew P Bruhl, Aaron-Andrew P
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