Categories: Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution
This course will examine the structure and authority of the federal courts and the relationship between those courts and other governmental institutions. We will study the Constitution’s “case or controversy” requirement and the related doctrines of standing, ripeness, and mootness. We will address the scope of the federal judiciary’s jurisdiction, Congress’s power to regulate that jurisdiction, and the interplay among the state and federal judicial systems. We will also cover such topics as sovereign and official immunity and habeas corpus. Throughout the course, we will consider the ways in which judicial structures and jurisdictional doctrines affect substantive rights.
This course is distinct from Civil Procedure II and any overlap will be minimal. Both courses are important for students who expect to litigate or who may do a judicial clerkship. Civil Procedure II is traditionally taken first, but it is not a formal prerequisite. Constitutional Law I is likewise not a formal prerequisite, but it does lay some of the foundations for this course. The course satisfies the “Jurisdiction of Courts” requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes:
1. understand and apply key constitutional provisions, statutes, and judicial doctrines that govern the authority of the federal courts;
2. appreciate the institutional dynamics that underlie federal court jurisdiction and the tradeoffs inherent in different jurisdictional regimes;
3. analyze difficult and unsettled jurisdictional issues in order to determine whether matters are appropriate for federal adjudication.