Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Welcome to Federal Courts and the Fed Courts Blog

Welcome to the FIU Fed Courts Blog. There are three posts that you must read and follow prior to our first class meeting on Monday, August 15.

To read the blog, go to http://fiufedcourts.blogspot.com; posts can be read going down from most recent to least recent. To post to the blog, go to www.blogger.com; you can log-in with a username and password. For complete information on the purposes and uses of the blog, read the Syllabus.

To be able to post, you must register as an author and a reader. To register as an author, please send an e-mail to me (howard.wasserman@fiu.edu). In the subject line, type “Fed Courts Blog Registration;” in the body of the e-mail, please type your name and your e-mail address. You then will receive an e-mail “Invitation” inviting you to join as an author on the blog. You must follow the steps outlined in the invitation e-mail to register (under your full name, no handles or usernames) as an author. Please register under your full (first and last) name. Please do this at the beginning of the semester, as soon as you receive the invitation.

Once you have registered, take a few minutes to explore how to write a post. Note that you can put up photographs and video. You also can put web links in the text by highlighting the text you want to use for the hyperlink and clicking the "Link" button.

Name Cards

At our first meeting on Tuesday, August 18, there will be a stack of name cards on the table in the front of the classroom. When you come to the room, please find the card with your name on it and place it in front of you at your seat. You are responsible for keeping that card and having it with you at every class throughout the full semester. Given the size of the class, I will learn all of your names quickly enough.

If you are not yet registered for the class (or are shopping classes), a card will be made once you have registered.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Panel Sign-Up

As indicated on the Syllabus, everyone must register to be a panelist for three (3) topics. You also will write your commentaries on two of the three topics Below is the list of topics, as well as the number of slots for each (these may change, depending on any increase or decrease in class size). Please email me with you choices; I will try to accommodate everyone's preferences. You can learn more about each topic by looking at the Syllabus.

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States (4)
Jurisdiction of Federal Courts of Appeals (5) 
Jurisdiction of Federal District Courts/Non-Article III (5)
Eleventh Amendment (5)
Standing (5)
Ripeness/Mootness (5)

Abstention: General Principles/Pullman (4)

Statutory Abstention/§ 2283 (4)

Abstention: Younger/§ 2283 (“expressly authorized”) (5)

Abstention: Colorado River/Comity/Burford/Rooker-Feldman (4)

When Does Congress Decide a Case (4)

Congressional Control over Federal Courts (4)

Course Materials and First Week Assignments

Please download and read the Syllabus (or from right) for complete details about the course, assignments, pedagogical approach, grading methods, and course rules. Review it prior to the first class. You should bring the Syllabus with you to every class. Please review Course Evaluation Information (or from right) for complete details about grading and graded assignments for the course. I will answer questions about these prior to the second class, on Wednesday, August 17.

Required Course Materials:

1) Peter W. Low, John C. Jefferies, Jr., & Curtis A. Bradley, Federal Courts and the Law of Federal-State Relations (8th ed. 2014) (“LJB”)

   Appendix A: The Constitution of the United States

   Appendix B: Selected Provisions of the United States Code

2) Erwin Chemerinsky, Federal Jurisdiction (7th ed. 2016) (“Chemerinsky”)

3) Federal Courts Blog: http://fiufedcourts.blogspot.com/ (additional cases and materials, indicated in syllabus)

Assignments for First Day of Class

Introduction: Federal Courts and Constitutional Structure


   U.S. Const. art. III

   U.S. Const. art. I, §§ 8, 9

   U.S. Const. art. VI, cl.2-3

   U.S. Const. amends. X, XI, XIII, XIV, XV

Theme: History and Constitutional Foundations                             LJB 241-54

                                                                                                            Chemerinsky, 1-11, 20-37


   Marbury v. Madison

   The Federalist No. 78 (Blog)
   The Federalist No. 79 (Blog)

Theme: Separation of Powers, Parity, Comity, Federalism                   Chemerinsky, 30-37
Theme: Judicial Activism
   Roberts, In Search of Judicial Activism (Blog)
   Sherry, Why We Need More Judicial Activism (Blog)

Scheduling Notes:

   • No class on Monday, September 5 (Labor Day)

   • No class on Monday, October 3 (Jewish Holy Day): To be made-up at time T/B/D

   • No class on Wednesday, October 12 (Jewish Holy Day): To be made-up at time T/B/D

Additional Notes:
No laptops permitted in the classroom.

You must be in class on time, unless I have previously given you permission to come late. You may not enter the room once class has begun, unless I have given you permission to come late.