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Federal Courts

Current Offerings

Federal Courts (2403): This course addresses the role of the federal courts in the American system of federalism and separation of powers, as well as their role in the development of substantive federal law and constitutional rights. A central premise of the course is that the institutional, political, and constitutional features of federal litigation cannot be understood without engaging the historical and theoretical context, especially the social, political, and legal movements in response to which the federal courts have developed and related assumptions about structural constitutional theory (including federalism, supremacy, separation of powers, and judicial review). Thus while many of the traditional aspects of federal court jurisprudence will be covered (e.g., federal common law including implied rights of action, justiciability doctrines and other doctrines of restraint, congressional power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts and to create "legislative courts" outside of Article III, Supreme Court review of judgments, state sovereign immunity, litigating against the government, and federal habeas corpus), the doctrine will be assessed from an interdisciplinary perspective, including social, political, and theoretical accounts that reveal how the courts and ordinary Americans have come to understand the distinctive role of the federal courts, as well as claims for expansion or contraction of their powers. The course is recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in litigation, government service, and/or judicial clerkships. Special Instructions: In Winter 2023 the Federal Courts class will be capped at 45 students and conducted in small group sessions of 5 students per group. Required class participation includes (a) weekly pre-recorded lectures introducing assigned materials, and (b) weekly small group sessions. The small group sessions are led by Professor Spaulding every week. Some groups will have their sessions during the regularly scheduled hours of the course, but most groups will meet in sessions scheduled during other mutually convenient time slots each week. (Scheduling software will be used to generate time slots for each group for the quarter and students' availability will be solicited). The readings and pre-recorded lectures must be completed before attending small group sessions. The small group sessions run approximately 70 minutes each week and will be led by Professor Spaulding in person assuming health regulations permit. If this is not possible, they will be conducted online. The goal of this format is to create an engaging, interactive, and intellectually rigorous setting for exploration of the course materials and themes. Note that class time is not used for basic exposition of cases -- students are expected to have used the readings and lectures to internalize the basic doctrine. We will instead use our sessions to focus on the hardest doctrinal and structural constitutional questions presented by the cases. Each group will cover a common set of 'hard questions,' so careful preparation is obligatory. There is usually some time for brief Q&A each week, but the sessions are not conducted as open-ended tutorials. Although none is a prerequisite, students generally report that it is useful to have taken some or all of the following classes: Advanced Civ Pro, Administrative Law, Con Law II, Criminal Procedure, Remedies. Elements used in grading: Grading will be based on attendance, participation, a short paper, and a take home final exam. Interested students should fill out a consent form indicating understanding of and interest in this format. Course Planning Note: The law school offers a standard format, open enrollment course in another quarter, so if you are not interested in the small group format or can't take the risk of consent admission in the winter quarter, please plan your academic year and course selection accordingly. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available at https://law.stanford.edu/education/courses/consent-of-instructor-forms/. See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Sections

Federal Courts | LAW 2403 Section 01 Class #1099

  • 4 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 45
  • Exam:
    • One-Day Take-Home Exam
  • Exam:
      • Details to come
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
  • Course Category:
    • Advanced Procedure
    • Public Law

Notes: Meeting time and location for weekly tutorials TBA by instructor.

  • 2023-2024 Winter ( )
  • Tue, Thu

Past Offerings

Federal Courts (2403): This course addresses the role of the federal courts in the American system of federalism and separation of powers, as well as their role in the development of substantive federal law and constitutional rights. A central premise of the course is that the institutional, political, and constitutional features of federal litigation cannot be understood without engaging the historical and theoretical context, especially the social, political, and legal movements in response to which the federal courts have developed and related assumptions about structural constitutional theory (including federalism, supremacy, separation of powers, and judicial review). Thus while many of the traditional aspects of federal court jurisprudence will be covered (e.g., federal common law including implied rights of action, justiciability doctrines and other doctrines of restraint, congressional power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts and to create "legislative courts" outside of Article III, Supreme Court review of judgments, state sovereign immunity, litigating against the government, and federal habeas corpus), the doctrine will be assessed from an interdisciplinary perspective, including social, political, and theoretical accounts that reveal how the courts and ordinary Americans have come to understand the distinctive role of the federal courts, as well as claims for expansion or contraction of their powers. The course is recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in litigation, government service, and/or judicial clerkships. Special Instructions: In Winter 2023 the Federal Courts class will be capped at 45 students and conducted in small group sessions of 5 students per group. Required class participation includes (a) weekly pre-recorded lectures introducing assigned materials, and (b) weekly small group sessions. The small group sessions are led by Professor Spaulding every week. Some groups will have their sessions during the regularly scheduled hours of the course, but most groups will meet in sessions scheduled during other mutually convenient time slots each week. (Scheduling software will be used to generate time slots for each group for the quarter and students' availability will be solicited). The readings and pre-recorded lectures must be completed before attending small group sessions. The small group sessions run approximately 70 minutes each week and will be led by Professor Spaulding in person assuming health regulations permit. If this is not possible, they will be conducted online. The goal of this format is to create an engaging, interactive, and intellectually rigorous setting for exploration of the course materials and themes. Note that class time is not used for basic exposition of cases -- students are expected to have used the readings and lectures to internalize the basic doctrine. We will instead use our sessions to focus on the hardest doctrinal and structural constitutional questions presented by the cases. Each group will cover a common set of 'hard questions,' so careful preparation is obligatory. There is usually some time for brief Q&A each week, but the sessions are not conducted as open-ended tutorials. Although none is a prerequisite, students generally report that it is useful to have taken some or all of the following classes: Advanced Civ Pro, Administrative Law, Con Law II, Criminal Procedure, Remedies. Elements used in grading: Grading will be based on attendance, participation, a short paper, and a take home final exam. Interested students should fill out a consent form indicating understanding of and interest in this format. Course Planning Note: The law school offers a standard format, open enrollment course in another quarter, so if you are not interested in the small group format or can't take the risk of consent admission in the winter quarter, please plan your academic year and course selection accordingly. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available at https://law.stanford.edu/education/courses/consent-of-instructor-forms/. See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Sections

Federal Courts | LAW 2403 Section 01 Class #1111

  • 4 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2022-2023 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 45
  • Exam:
    • One-Day Take-Home Exam
  • Exam:
      • Remote: Details to come
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
  • Course Category:
    • Advanced Procedure
    • Public Law

Notes: Meeting time and location for weekly tutorials TBA by instructor.

  • 2022-2023 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available

Federal Courts (2403): This course addresses the role of the federal courts in the American system of federalism and separation of powers, as well as their role in the development of substantive federal law and constitutional rights. A central premise of the course is that the institutional, political, and constitutional features of federal court litigation cannot be understood without engaging the historical context, especially the social, political, and legal movements, in response to which the federal courts have developed. Thus while many of the traditional aspects of federal court jurisprudence will be covered (e.g., federal common law including implied rights of action, justiciability doctrines and other doctrines of restraint, congressional power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts and to create "legislative courts" outside of Article III, Supreme Court review of judgments, state sovereign immunity, litigating against the government, and federal habeas corpus), doctrine will be placed alongside interdisciplinary readings on social, political, and theoretical accounts that reveal how the courts and ordinary Americans have come to understand the distinctive role of the federal courts, as well as claims for expansion or contraction of their powers. The course is strongly recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in litigation and/or judicial clerkships in the federal courts. Special Instructions: In Winter 2022 the Federal Courts class will be conducted as a tutorial. This means that required class participation will include (a) weekly pre-recorded lectures introducing assigned materials, and (b) weekly small group tutorial sessions. The small group tutorial sessions will be conducted with groups of approximately 4-6 students who will work directly with Professor Spaulding every week as a pod. Some tutorial groups will have their sessions during the regularly scheduled hours of the course, but most groups will meet in sessions will take place during other mutually convenient time slots each week. Online scheduling software will be used to generate tutorial session schedules for the quarter. Enrolled students will be asked to identify their scheduling availability before the term begins. Tutorial sessions will run approximately one hour each week and will be led by Professor Spaulding in person if health regulations permit. The goal of the tutorial format is to create an engaging, interactive, and intellectually rigorous setting for discussion of the course materials and themes after students have listened to the introductory lecture each week. Teaching assistants will hold office hours each week as well. Elements used in grading: Grading will be based on attendance, participation, short papers, and a take home final exam. Interested students should fill out a consent form indicating commitment to the tutorial format. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available at https://law.stanford.edu/education/courses/consent-of-instructor-forms/. See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Sections

Federal Courts | LAW 2403 Section 01 Class #1085

  • 4 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2021-2022 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 50
  • Exam:
    • One-Day Take-Home Exam
  • Exam:
      • Remote: Details to come
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
  • Course Category:
    • Advanced Procedure
    • Public Law

Notes: Meeting time and location for weekly tutorials TBA by instructor.

  • 2021-2022 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available
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