About the Course

This three-credit course studies the role of the federal courts in the federal system. Topics include the power of Congress to regulate the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts; federal question jurisdiction; Supreme Court review of state court judgments; federal common law; sovereign and official immunity doctrines; abstention and related limitations on federal courts' jurisdiction; and (to some extent) federal habeas corpus. The course also will examine relationships between federal courts and the other branches of the federal government, the states, and the individual.

I am willing to adjust the syllabus to address the needs and interests of students in the course.

I practiced exclusively in the federal courts as an Assistant United States Attorney for over thirteen years. My focus since I began to teach ten years ago mostly has been federal. This was my favorite course in law school. I think that you will find it to be interesting.

 Class Meeting Times:

Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. in Room 352 of Dineen Hall, the College of Law building at 950 Irving Avenue.

 Required Reading:

The primary text is Allen, Finch & Roberts, Federal Courts: Context, Cases, and Problems, Second Edition (Wolters Kluwer 2015; ISBN 9781454822660).  There is no  annual supplement. More materials will be provided in class.  Most materials other than the primary text will be available here on the course website.  All required readings are essential.

Many supplemental materials will be available for anyone who wants to delve into a subject more deeply.  Most things projected during class likely will be available on the course website.


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