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Law Courses Catalog

Federal Courts

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2016-2017

Federal Courts addresses basic issues in federal litigation. Topics include: the components of a federal case; who can bring the case; whether the case can be brought in federal court (instead of state court or a federal administrative agency); the law-making power of federal courts; when a federal court must abstain from hearing a case; and the scope of federal courts’ authority to enforce individual rights claims. For each topic, we examine the doctrinal rules, the federalism and separation of powers issues that support those rules, and the application of those rules through problems drawn from real cases. The topics covered in this course are of vital importance to anyone litigating civil or criminal cases in federal court, raising federal issues in state court, or clerking for a federal judge.

The grade will be based on the combination of a short paper and a final exam.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

Federal Courts examines the powers and obligations of federal courts as well as the constitutional, statutory, and judicial rules that determine whether a civil case is tried in state court, federal court, or a federal administrative agency. Emphasis is placed on how the rules and their historical development reflect concerns about federalism and separation of powers. The doctrines covered in the course are often omitted or treated summarily in other law-school courses but are of vital interest to anyone litigating in federal court, raising federal issues in state court, or clerking for a federal judge.

The grade will be based on the combination of a paper and a final exam.

Updated April 6, 2015