Legal Process - §C, Fall 2010

Legal Process is a required first-year course that addresses both the value of procedural protections and the limits on judicial power. These protections and limits derive from the federal Constitution, federal and state statutes, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specific topics covered in the course include personal jurisdiction, notice and the opportunity to be heard, subject matter jurisdiction, venue, and federalism-based limits on the choice of law in federal court (the “Erie doctrine”). For example, the federal Constitution limits a court’s power to enter orders affecting persons who have little or no contact with a particular geographic area. In addition, the Constitution and federal statutes define the types of cases or controversies that federal courts can hear. Although these topics require attention to highly complex and detailed legal doctrine, at a meta-level, they involve larger theoretical issues of the power and the very legitimacy of courts and the law that they apply. Just as important as the legal doctrine and theory that you will study are the skills that you will develop, including legal analysis and argumentation and the ability to think deeply and critically about how the law develops and changes.