Federal Courts

Section 1, Spring 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 105/106
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 trying to clarify a series of complex topics: the idea that federal courts cannot issue “advisory opinions,” the different things that courts might mean when they dismiss a suit because the plaintiff lacks “standing,” and the nature of the “political question” doctrine. Next, the course examines the extent to which Congress can give adjudicatory power to administrative agencies and other tribunals that lack the structural safeguards of Article III. After that, the course explores Congress’s power over the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Article III courts and the uses to which Congress has put that power. The course also considers the sources of the rules of decision that courts apply in cases over which they do have jurisdiction; for instance, we will consider different understandings of the Erie doctrine, and we will study various kinds of rules that are lumped together under the rubric of “federal common law.” Finally, we will cover 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 (6001)) AND (Civil Procedure (6000)) 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: