LAW 724-02 Federal Courts & Jurisdiction

This course focuses on the role of the federal courts under the American system of dual (national and state) sovereignty and divided national governmental power among the branches. More specifically, we will study: (a) the constitutional allocation of power and responsibility to enforce federal rights between federal and state courts; (b) the power of Congress to control jurisdiction over federal claims; (c) the sovereign immunity of state governments; (d) Article III limitations of federal judicial power; and (e) the conditions under which federal courts abstain from deciding cases within their jurisdiction. A recurring question throughout the course will be whether (and to what extent) our federal system does or should assure that persons harmed by violations of federal law have access to adequate judicial rememdies against such harm.