Curriculum Guide · Courses
Constitutional Law Seminar: Suing the Sovereign
Professor Francis Allegra
J.D. Seminar 305 (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours
This seminar traces the development of the concept of sovereign immunity-the immunity of governmental entities from suit without their permission-through its many forms. The course begins with a general sketch of the doctrine, following its history from the Constitutional debates through the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment. Taking a more theoretical approach, the course will then focus on aspects of the doctrine that sound in subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. Next, the course will survey four forms of sovereign immunity and related concepts, first reviewing basic principles of federal sovereign immunity and then considering, in turn, the Eleventh Amendment and state immunity, tribal immunity, and the immunity afforded by and to foreign countries. Throughout these various topics, the course will highlight the jurisprudential linkages -and differences-between these various forms of sovereign immunity. During the course of the semester, we will have two critique sessions at which students will be assigned to teams and be required to debate several pre-identified issues. Depending on the size of the class, we will either have all the students participate in both debates or have students participate in only one of the two. Twenty percent of the students' grade will be derived from their performance at the critique(s), as well as class participation. At the student's option, this course may also be taken as a WR seminar, requiring students to write a publishable paper of appropriate length on a specific topic.
Prerequisite: Constitutional Law I: The Federal System or completion of Curriculum B courses.
This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.