Wednesday, August 24, 2016

For Monday

Wednesday audio. Remember that beginning Monday, we will add an extra 10 minutes to each class.

We will finish our discussion of Cox and the four classes of cases that will be deemed final for § 1257(a) purposes, even if there will be further proceedings in state court. Why did the federal issue remain in Brady, regardless of how the new sentencing came out in state court? We then turn to SCOTUS Review of Federal Courts of Appeals, focusing on § 1254 and Camreta. What is the basis for the rarity of prevailing-party appeals and how does the Camreta Court respond to that? In addition to the provisions listed, look at § 1253 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (both in Appendix B). I expect we will finish SCOTUS, which means Commentaries on this section will be due on Wednesday, September 7 (note the extra days to account for Labor Day).

 move on to Jurisdiction of Federal Courts of Appeals, beginning with Finality and Collateral Order Doctrine. Again, consider what finality means (or should mean) for § 1291 purposes? How should we understand the C/O/D--as an exception to finality or something else? What are the contours for what will be immediately appealable?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Panel Assignments

Jurisdiction of Federal Courts of Appeals: Chalnelle Artiles; Tucker Pryor; Amber Plugge

Jurisdiction of Federal District Courts/Non-Art. III: David DaPonte; John Hinz; Andrew Figueroa

Eleventh Amendment/Sovereign Immunity: Jonathan Weiner; John Hinz; Marie Taylor

Standing: Tucker Pryor; Amber Plugge; Chanelle Artiles

Ripeness/Mootness: Amber Plugge; Matthew Velazquez; Melanie Velazquez

Abstention: General Principles/Pullman: Vincent Palermo; Andrew Figueroa; Marie Taylor

Abstention: Statutory: Tucker Pryor; Jonathan Weiner; Vincent Palermo; John Hinz

Abstention: Younger: Matthew Velazquez; Marlon Velez; Melanie Velazquez

Abstention: Colorado/Comity/Rooker-Feldman: Vincent Palermo; Jonathan Weiner; Marie Taylor

When Does Congress Decide a Case: Melanie Velazquez; Matthew Velazquez; Marlon Velez

Congressional Control: David DaPonte; Marlon Velez; Andrew Figueroa

Remember that you can write on any two (2) of your three panels. The commentary is due one week after the class in which we finish that topic (i.e., if we finish a topic on Monday, October 1 the commentary is due on Monday October 8).

For Wednesday

Monday audio. Reminder that if there is an assigned statutory provision from the blog, you must download and print it out.

We continue with SCOTUS Review of State Courts, covering all three sections. Consider:
   • What can SCOTUS review?
   • What is the difference between the approach in Murdock and the independent-and-adequate approach adopted in Long?
   • How did Long resolve the question of uncertainty about the basis for a state judgment? What were the other options?
   • What are the benefits and drawbacks to the approach adopted in Long?
   • What sorts of state rules may be independent-and-adequate?
   • What does finality mean for § 1257 purposes? How did the different types of finality function?

We then move on to SCOTUS Review of Federal Courts of Appeals. In addition to the provisions assigned, take a look at § 1253 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (both in Appendix B). Consider: For SCOTUS to review a decision from the court of appeals, what must be true about the case with respect to the court of appeals?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

For Monday

Wednesday audio. Nice job today. I especially liked the balance of participation between the panelists and the rest of the class. While I will look to the panelists first and most often, I want to hear from everyone for all of these discussions.

We will begin Monday with some final points on SCOTUS Original Jurisdiction. Review § 1332 (the diversity statute) and consider when that provision might overlap with § 1251(b)(3). Imagine the Booster Club of West Virginia University sues the former football coach for breach of contract. Where can that case be brought among: SCOTUS, a district court, and a state court? What fact must you figure out to answer that? Also, review Kansas v. Nebraska and the discussion of the nature of SCOTUS original jurisdiction, especially in Compact cases.

We then turn to SCOTUS Review of State Court Judgments. Read all three parts of that section. Compare the former and current versions of § 1257. What is the precise constitutional hook (in Art. III § 2 cl.1) for § 1257?

Monday, August 15, 2016

For Wednesday

Monday audio. Remember, we will spend a couple minutes on questions about the syllabus, assignments, grading, etc.

If you have not registered for the blog, please follow instructions to do so.

We will continue with the introductory material. Consider:
   • What does the power of judicial review entail as to the Court's constitutional interpretation and the other branches? Do Congress and the President interpret the Constitution? And what if those interpretations conflict? Who is bound by SCOTUS pronouncements?
   • Read the materials on Judicial Activism. Is there a neutral definition of the term? Does it have any meaning?

We then move on to Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, beginning with Original Jurisdiction. How does § 1251 connect with Art. III § 2? Why could Congress make some of the Court's original jurisdiction exclusive and some concurrent? And what do concurrent and exclusive jurisdiction mean? What was Marbury really about and how did the Court resolve the core legal question in the case?

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; posts can be read going down from most recent to least recent. To post to the blog, go to; 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 ( 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: (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.