SMNR: Constitutional Litigation

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Meeting Times

Day Time Location
THU 3:30 - 5:20 pm JON 5.208

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This seminar explores major constitutional issues in contemporary civil rights litigation and appellate work. The course focuses on a wide range of current substantive and procedural civil rights topics, and is especially helpful for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of current constitutional law practice. Topics include governmental liability, sovereign and qualified ("good faith") immunity, damages against municipalities, punitive damages against officials, claim preclusion (res judicata and collateral estoppel) between federal and state courts, exhaustion of administrative remedies, supplemental state constitutional claims, interlocutory appeals from denial of qualified immunity, limited discovery on immunity for summary judgment motions, abstention, standing, and mootness. There is also a seminar session on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The seminar also examines current directions of Supreme Court constitutional development, such as the state's duty of care in non-custodial situations (such as schools) and custodial settings (including jails), and how these issues are handled by Circuit Courts of Appeals, particularly the Fifth Circuit. The course looks at evolving contemporary Fourteenth Amendment decisional law affecting fundamental rights, such as privacy. The seminar emphasizes practical problems that arise at trial and appellate levels. These involve pleading practice, class certification, creating and protecting structural reform injunctive relief, and safeguarding attorneys' fees. The seminar is led by a civil rights attorney with nearly forty years' experience in complex constitutional litigation. The seminar often does actual constitutional problem-solving through hypothetical cases. Three credit hours. Written paper, topic of student's choosing. May be taken for writing credit. Text: Jeffries, Karlan, Low and Rutherglen's Civil Rights Actions: Enforcing the Constitution, 2nd Edition (University Casebook Series). There will be some supplemental materials. For further information, please call Jim Harrington (512-474-5073).


Headshot of Harrington, James C Harrington, James C
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