Monday, August 21, 2017

For Wednesday

Monday audio.

We begin with Michigan v. Long and Independent-and-Adequate. How is the I/A approach different from the Rule of Decision approach in Murdoch? Long describes three different approaches (discussed at Pfander p. 108) for the Court to follow when it is unclear when the state ground is independent--what are they and what are the drawbacks to each? What is the approach Long adopts and what are its benefits and drawbacks? What must be "final" for SCOTUS to have jurisdiction and why?

Move on to Review of Federal Courts of Appeals. Parse § 1254. And note that you have the first case to read, Camreta v. Greene (read only the specific parts).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

For Monday

Wednesday audio.

We continue with SCOTUS's original jurisdiction. So: 1) West Virginia University sued Rodriguez, its former football coach, for breach of contract; 2) University of Pittsburgh sued Shoops, its former assistant coach, for breach of contract. Could either case be brought in SCOTUS, district court, or both? What do you have to figure out to answer that question?

Move to SCOTUS Review of State Courts, reading all three sections. Compare the current version of § 1257 with the pre-1988 version (from the Blog); what changes were made and why? Why can SCOTUS constitutionally review state-court judgments? What is the scope of that review? What does independent-and-adequate mean and how does the court apply that doctrine?

Beginning next week, you can get your Blind ID #s, which you will use for all written assignments.

Finally, have a look at this map, which shows the current structure of the federal courts.

Please act on the Google invite email and make sure you register as an author on the blog.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Time Reminder

Remember that class will go from 10:45-12 beginning on Wednesday.

Monday, August 14, 2017

For Wednesday

Monday audio.

The panel list is here. Panel I (Andrew, Vincent, and Sandra) are up first.

We finish Introduction with consideration of three concepts: Judicial Review, Judicial Supremacy, and Judicial Exclusivity. What does it mean that it is "emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is" in terms of who gets to decide constitutional issues?

We begin with Supreme Court: Original Jurisdiction and Review of State Court Judgments: Power of Review. Trace the history of SCOTUS's original and appellate jurisdiction; be sure to pull the pre-1988 version of § 1257 from the blog and compare with the current version. What are the policy reasons for allowing SCOTUS to review state-court judgments?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Panel Assignments (Final)

Below are a (tentative) list of people assigned to each panel and the topic assignments each panel. As per the syllabus, everyone is on panel for three topics and will write a Commentary on two of those three.

At the moment, enrollment in the course is 17 students. If it increases, panels I, II, and IV will add members. If enrollment decreases, I may have to move people around. This will be firmed up on Wednesday, August 16.

Note that topic assignments do not go in order, so check the lists below.

Panel I

Andrew Balthazor
Vincent Nunchuck
Sandra Ramirez

Panel II

Stefan Diaz-Espinosa

Shannon Crosby

Christian Cantos

Panel III

Sam Basch
Rachel Heim 
Simone Graff  
Yosef Kudan

Panel IV

Paige Bennett
Allison Gordon
Jackson Shuford

Assignments by Panel:

Panel I: Supreme Court/General Abstention & Pullman/Congressional control

Panel II: Courts of Appeals/Ripeness, Mootness, & Merits/Other Abstention
Panel III: District Courts/Standing/Younger

Panel IV: 11th Am//Statutory Abstention/When does Congress decide

Assignments by Topic:

Supreme Court: Panel I
Federal Courts of Appeals: Panel II
District Courts/Non-Article III: Panel III
11th Amendment: Panel IV
Standing: Panel III
Ripeness, Mootness, & Merits: Panel II
General Principles/Pullman: Panel I
Statutory: Panel IV
Younger: Panel III
Other Abstention: Panel II
When Does Congress Decide: Panel IV
Congressional Control over Jurisdiction: Panel I

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Welcome to Federal Courts

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 14.

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.

Course Materials and First Day 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 the 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 16.

I am doing something a bit different this year in terms of course materials. There will be no casebook. Instead, we will be working from two treatises and launching our discussion from them. Chemerinsky is more detailed and will form the core of most of our discussions; Pfander offers a supplementary overview. There is a trade-off: You will have more total pages to read, but the reading will be easier than parsing cases yourselves. See Syllabus for more details.

Required Course Materials:

1) Erwin Chemerinsky, Federal Jurisdiction (7th ed. 2016) (“Chemerinsky”)
2)  James E. Pfander, Principles of Federal Jurisdiction (3d ed. 2016) (“Pfander”)

3) Federal Courts Blog: (additional cases and materials, indicated in syllabus)

Assignments for First Day of Class (after the Jump)