Federal Court Practice at Penn State Law School – Spring 2011

December 29th, 2010

This semester I will be teaching Federal Court Practice at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law with Judge Gibson. Here is the course description:

This course introduces contemporary issues in several topical areas of particular interest to litigating in federal courts. The course topics are varied, with the unifying theme being that each topic possesses either particular prominence or exclusive jurisdiction within the country’s federal court system. These topics include: the history and organization of the federal courts, the courts’ relationship with Congress, the arguments for and against diversity jurisdiction, the practical dynamics of federal procedure, strategic considerations involved in a litigant’s choice of federal court, ADR proceedings in federal courts, securities, bankruptcy, intellectual property, antitrust, employment discrimination, review of administrative agency decisions, immigration issues, federal criminal matters, sentencing, civil rights cases, and habeas.

I really enjoyed teaching this class last year. It covers such a broad range of materials, and really challenges me to find ways to make the material accessible and understandable in a short period of time. We cover federal courts, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and lots of other topics. Here is the syllabus.

My favorite class is the first session, titled, Origins of the “Least Dangerous Branch.” The readings?

  • 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).

Article III? The Federalist and Anti-Federalist? Marbury? What else do you need?

If any of my readers are at Penn State, or if you know anyone at Penn State, I encourage you to sign up. We meet on Thursdays from 2:30-4:55 p.m. The class is filling up. It was a blast last year. Should be fun.