Federal Courts is sometimes thought of as the love child of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure. It takes the Con Law I themes of federalism, separation of powers, and protection of individual rights and develops them in the context of jurisdiction, procedure, and remedies. Most experienced litigators—including criminal and regulatory litigators—consider the course essential.
Federal Courts 1 is the first of a two course sequence designed to provide exhaustive coverage of the material at a very civilized pace. Both parts one and two are three-credit courses ordinarily taken in the Fall and Spring of the same year. They have separate exams that are graded independently. There is no requirement that one take both installments, but it is strongly recommended.
Federal Courts 1 (The Constitution and Judicial Power) focuses on the nature of the Article III judicial power and its place in the constitutional scheme. We begin with the justiciability doctrines (standing, ripeness, mootness, and finality), then move on to Congress's control over federal court jurisdiction and adjudication in non-Article III courts (e.g., bankruptcy courts and administrative agencies). This installment also addresses the relationship between federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court's power to review state court decisions, the Erie doctrine's restriction on the common lawmaking powers of federal courts, and the implication of private rights of action under federal statutes.
This Fall, Federal Courts 1 will be primarily online. I plan to experiment with some asynchronous lectures, which may be viewed at leisure, combined with some more problem-oriented discussion sections. I am committed to generating as many opportunities to meet in person as we can possibly get away with over the course of the semester, but it’s hard to know what that will look like from the vantage point of mid-summer. The exam will be exactly the same as it always has been: an 8-hour, open-book take-home exam.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law