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Spring 2013 - Federal Courts

Weinberg, Louise

Course ID: 486  Unique # 29440  Credit Hours: 4
Meeting DaysTimesLocation
   Monday 10:30 am - 11:20 am TNH 3.129
   Tuesday 10:30 am - 11:20 am TNH 3.129
   Wednesday 10:30 am - 11:20 am TNH 3.129
   Thursday 10:30 am - 11:20 am TNH 3.129
Exam Type   Date   Time      Name Range   Room  
  Final Thursday, May 9    8:30 am          A-Z
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.

This is the classic course in Federal Courts.  It is a big-picture
course, systemic and structural rather than procedural.  The aim of
the course is to open to students a sophisticated and penetrating
understanding of the peculiarities and pathologies of the American
two-court two-law system, and of the powers, often controversial, of
the judiciary.  This particular section is taught by a student of the
originator of the course, Henry Hart.  Professor Weinberg twice
chaired the Federal Courts Section of the Association of American Law
Schools, is author of a book on Federal Courts, has published classic
law review articles in the field, and has written the
Oxford Encyclopedia of Legal History article
on Federal Courts.

The course opens with a consideration of the powers of courts to
fashion federal law, the clashes between federal and state laws, and
doctrines of supremacy and preemption.  There follows extensive
coverage of the clash between courts and government, seen in federal
litigation against government, doctrines of sovereign immunity,
federal actions for damages against government officials at all
levels, and, ultimately, actions against government officials for
injunctions -- the power to "govern by decree."  The course goes on
to examine the clash between federal and state courts, and the powers
of federal courts to interfere with state litigation through the use
of injunction.

The readings are in Supreme Court cases, current and classic,
intrinsically worth a student's time, reflecting background systemic
understandings widely shared among American lawyers.  No prior
knowledge of federal substantive law is assumed.  Rather, a side
benefit of these readings is the introduction they provide to a
variety of areas of substantive federal law.

The course will be as useful to informed counseling as it will to
those interested in litigation.  It is key preparation, of course,
for those seeking clerkships, federal or state.  It is also obviously
helpful to those planning to spend a few years in government or
administrative practice; and for those interested in academia.  More
immediately, the course provides solid footing for the federalized
upper-class curriculum essential to the option of a first-class practice.

Prerequisites:  This course is limited to upperclass law
students.  Because the course presumes a basic grounding in American
tort law, American constitutional law, and American civil procedure,
it is also closed to any student who has not completed these elements
of a standard first year of American legal education.  Four hours. 

Related Course Areas