Federal Courts

Section 1, Fall 16

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 73/80
Credits: 4

Course Description

This course is about the federal judicial system and its relationship to Congress, the executive branch, state legislatures, and state courts. The course begins by examining the elements of a justiciable “case” or “controversy” in federal court; we will ask what an “advisory opinion” might be, and we will learn about doctrines of standing, ripeness, mootness, and political questions. We will proceed to study Congress’s power over the subject-matter jurisdiction of federal courts and the uses to which Congress has put that power. Once we have a sense of the jurisdiction of the federal courts, we will consider the sources of the substantive rules of decision that both state and federal courts apply in cases within their jurisdiction; for instance, we will examine how courts decide whether a particular plaintiff has a cause of action to seek judicial relief for the violation of a particular legal duty, and we will also discuss various kinds of rules that are lumped together under the rubric of “federal common law.” Finally, we will consider some advanced topics in judicial federalism, including the doctrine of state sovereign immunity, various abstention doctrines applied by the federal courts, and the law of habeas corpus.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): Flex
Description: Flex exam at end of semester.
Final Exam Notes:

Flex exam at end of semester.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Constitutional Law Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: