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Spring 2013 - Federal Courts

Sager, Lawrence

Course ID: 486  Unique # 29435  Credit Hours: 4
Meeting DaysTimesLocation
   Monday 3:45 pm - 5:35 pm TNH 3.124
   Wednesday 3:45 pm - 5:35 pm TNH 3.124
Exam Type   Date   Time      Name Range   Room  
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.

In this course, we take a hard look at some major structural features of the American legal system, with inevitable spill-over into features of law in modern democratic states more generally.  We will be concerned with both doctrine and the conceptual underpinnings of doctrine.  Our topics will likely include:  Marbury and justiciability; the special case of the political question doctrine and the adjuncts of judicial deference and underenforcement; congressional control of jurisdiction; multi-judge courts, modern Supreme Court practice, and the doctrinal paradox; the 11th Amendment; civil rights jurisdiction; the interaction of state and federal courts and state and federal official conduct more generally; abstention; and habeas corpus. 

The course will provide a valuable foundation for anyone who plans to clerk in either the federal judicial system or in the courts of a state, and for anyone whose professional plans will include or touch upon modern litigation.  But beyond that, it aims to offer interested students a sophisticated look at the adjudicatory bones of our legal system.

Ideas and arguments are what matter most; as a result, classroom exchange is a central element of the course, and participation will inflect grades.  The examination will be a floating exam, designed in the hope that it will actually be interesting.

Related Course Areas