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Courses|College of Law

Federal Courts

Call Number: 13962
Course Number: 6680-01
Professor: Diane E. Courselle
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semester Offered: Fall
Required: No
Prerequisites: Students must have completed their first year of law school.
Recommended Courses: Civil Procedures I & II and Constitutional Law I & II

Course Overview: Every exercise of federal judicial power places a federal court in a position of possible conflict with another government actor. On the one hand, the federal court might trench on the Congress's constitutional lawmaking powers; on the other, it might usurp a function that could be performed by a state court. This course examines these two themes of separation of powers and federalism by scrutinizing the jurisdiction of the federal courts. The course covers justiciability doctrines (standing, ripeness, and mootness), congressional power to control federal court jurisdiction, constitutional and statutory parameters of federal question jurisdiction, federal common law, and basic contours of litigation under 42 U.S.C. 1983, state sovereign immunity and the Eleventh Amendment, and the various abstention doctrines.

Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format: Lecture/discussion
Written Assignments: 3 short (one paragraph to one page in length) reaction papers (giving the student's reaction, analysis, or ideas with regard to any part of the class reading): these papers are not graded, but must be turned in at some point during the semester; the papers are occasionally read in class (without identifying the author) to generate discussion.
Type of Exam: Take-home essay (open book).
Basis for Grading Student Performance: This is an examination course; Professor Courselle will also consider proposals for papers that satisfy the upper level writing requirement. (Students who elect to write a paper also will be required to do the 3 short reaction papers required for the class).
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