Federal Courts Practice (Spring 2010)

This course aims to provide you with an understanding of federal court practice. This is not a class in federal court jurisdiction. Nor is this a class in trial advocacy. Rather, this class will expose you to the basics of federal jurisdiction, federal criminal practice, federal civil litigation, as well as federal habeas corpus law and federal employment law. We will invite several guest speakers, including Magistrate Judges, Assistant United States Attorneys, Criminal Defense Attorneys, and Civil Litigators, to share their real-world experiences with you.

This class, which I co-taught with the Honorable Kim R. Gibson, was taught at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

Here are posts from that class, as well as recordings of lectures I gave in class.

 

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JoshVlogs: 150 Years of Constitutional History in 55 Minutes

Posted by on Apr 22, 2011 in Federal Court Practice, Videos | 0 comments

For my final class of the semester, I gave the students an intensive lecture, taking them on a tour of over 300 Supreme Court cases decided over two centuries, and explored how studying the Court chronologically yields certain trends and patterns that are difficult to perceive studying topics separately. Unfortunately, my Flip camera died about 55 minutes into the 1 hour, 55 minute class, so I only made it to 1944. The audio version is available at this JoshCast.

150 Years of Constitutional History in 55 Minutes from Josh Blackman on Vimeo.

I also trimmed out the first 15 minutes of the class in this YouTube video:

JoshCast: Lecture 1 On The Case of the Speluncean Explorers

Posted by on Apr 22, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers by Lon Fuller is a classic 1949 law review article that all law students should read. Many thanks to Professor Michael Krauss who first introduced this article to me. I hope my students enjoyed it as much as I did.

The story is set in the year 4300 AD in the fictional state of Newgarth. It tells the story of explorers who are trapped in a cave without adequate supplies. The explorers know that the rescuers will be unable to reach them in time, so they decide they must resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The explorers decide to cast lots, to determine who should be eaten. One of the members is selected, and is eaten. After the surviving explorers are rescued, they are found guilty of murder. The case is appealed to the Newgarth Supreme Court and 5 Justices consider the case. Each of the Justices represents a different modality of jurisprudential thinking.

In the first part of this discussion, we explore the views of Chief Justice Truepenny, who asked the Chief Executive to grant clemency to the cannibalistic explorers, Justice Foster, who sought to discover the spirit of the law, Justice Tating, who could not make up his mind so he withdrew from the case, and Justice Keen, who sought to apply the text of the murder statute.

 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/speluncean1.m4a

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Click here to download the podcast.

JoshCast: Lecture on Ashcroft v. Iqbal

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Iqbal, Twombley, and the new pleading standard for Complaints. Also, hear an interesting discussion that begins, “How open should our courts be.”

 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/iqbal.m4a

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Download the JoshCast here.

JoshCasts: Lecture on Ricci v. DeStefano, Ledbetter, and Employment Law

Posted by on Apr 13, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

In this lecture, I explore the intersection of disparate impact analysis and the Equal Protection Clause in Ricci v. DeStefano. As well I discuss the Ledbetter opinion, and the resulting Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I also provide a brief introduction to the ADA and sexual harassment law.

I’d like to note that I gave this lecture the night before Justice Stevens announced his retirement, and I did give my picks about who would replace JPS. Though, I was off, and predicted JPS make the announcement step at the end of April.

 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/employment2.m4a

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JoshCast: Lecture on Employment Discrimination Law

Posted by on Apr 12, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

In this lecture, I provide a brief overview of employment discrimination law, with a focus on the United States Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other related topics.
 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/employment1.m4a

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JoshCast: Lecture on Self-Incrimination, Federal Immunity, Miranda, Dickerson, and Stare Decisis

Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

I opened up this lecture with a timely reference to Senator Schumer’s attempt to “overturn” (a term I reject) Citizens United. Discussion of the privilege against self incrimination starts at 6:00.Discussion of federal immunity starts at 15:00. I discuss Miranda and the aftermath of Miranda, including my interview with Bob Corbin, who prosecuted Miranda at 24:00. Discussion of Nixon’s attempt to overturn Miranda at 28:00.A talk of Dickerson at 31:00.Plus I give an extended discussion of McDonald v. Chicago. Trust me, its relevant.

 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/class5-2.m4a

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JoshCast: Lecture on History of the Fourth Amendment, Including George Mason, VA Declaration of RIghts, Exclusionary Rule, and Terry

Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

For the first 6 minutes, I give an overview of the history of the Fourth Amendment, focusing on my man, George Mason, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Writs of Assistance, and sprinkle in a bit of John Locke. I had to make this topic my own. Starting at the 6 minute mark, I go into the text of the Fourth Amendment, and justifications for the exclusionary rule. Around the 30 minute mark I talk about the structural protections of our Constitution, and why it is so important to protect the rights of the accused. At 38:30 I begin a discussion of Terry v. Ohio. Shameless plug for Constitutional Places, Constitutional Faces at 42:00, and a discussion of why there are so many SCOTUS cases that arose from Cleveland.
 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/class5-1.m4a

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JoshCast: Lecture on Federal Question Jurisdiction and Supplemental Jurisdictionexclusive

Posted by on Jan 29, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

In this lecture we cover:

  • Exclusive jurisdiction (14:00), with a fun discussion of the  constitutionality of exclusive jurisdiction at 17:00
  • Mottley and the well-pleaded complaint rule (17:00))
  • Advisory opinions, and make a timely Alito, J. joke at 52:10
  • the constitutionality of advisory opinions at 56:00
  • the meaning of “arising under” for purposes of federal questions with a focus on American Well Works, Smith, Merrell Dow, and Grabel v. Darue.
  • Pendent Jurisdiction & Gibbs
  • Finley, Supplemental Jurisdiction and 28 U.S.C. 1367
 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/fedcts/class3.m4a

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Click here to download the file.

Click here to subscribe to all my JoshCasts and Lectures on iTunes

JoshCast: Josh Lectures on Marbury v. Madison

Posted by on Jan 16, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, JoshCasts, Teaching | 0 comments

For those of you not able to attend my Federal Court Practice class, I just uploaded a JoshCast of my lecture on Marbury v. Madison. I tell the untold history of Marbury, the underlying political battle between Marshall and Jeferson, and writs of Mandamus in plain English. Take a look at slides 29-35 to follow along.

 http://joshblackman.com/podcasts/marbury.m4a

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Federal Court Practice – Slides for Class #1 – The Least Dangerous Branch

Posted by on Jan 14, 2010 in Federal Court Practice, Teaching | 0 comments

I’m off for class, but here are the slides we will be working of f of. We cover Article III, Federalist 78-83, Brutus XI, XII, XV, an Marbury.

Syllabus Posted for Federal Court Practice Class at Penn State Dickinson School of Law

Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Federal Court Practice, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This Spring, Judge Gibson and I are teaching a Federal Court Practice class at the Dickinson School of Law. You can download the syllabus here.

Here is the Course Summary:

This course aims to provide you with an understanding of federal court practice. This is not a class in federal court jurisdiction. Nor is this a class in trial advocacy. Rather, this class will expose you to the basics of federal jurisdiction, federal criminal practice, federal civil litigation, as well as federal habeas corpus law and federal employment law. We will invite several guest speakers, including Magistrate Judges, Assistant United States Attorneys, Criminal Defense Attorneys, and Civil Litigators, to share their real-world experiences with you.

This is not a conventional federal jurisprudence class, nor is it a trial practice class. Rather, it is a hybrid course Judge Gibson and I came up with.

The students will be exposed to federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure, civil procedure, habeas corpus, and other doctrinal areas relevant to litigating in federal court. In addition, the students will be responsible for submitting court pleadings, such as motions to suppress, motion for summary judgment, as well as proposed jury instructions and sentencing guideline calculations. Finally, the students will engage in several moot sessions, where they will simulate a suppression hearing, a guilty plea hearing, and a jury charging conference. This class should provide the students with a broad flavor of how to litigate in federal court.  We will have several guests, including federal public defenders, assistant U.S. attorneys, and others. I am very excited.

Perhaps my favorite lesson is the first class. Quite original.

  • United States Constitution, Article III
  • The Federalist Nos. 78-83
  • The Anti-Federalist, Brutus XI, XII, XV
  • Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (Cranch) 137 (1803).

If you know anyone at Penn State Law who may be interested, urge them to sign up soon. There are only a few spaces remaining.