Thursday, January 18, 2018

For Tuesday

Here is the updated Syllabus (it also is updated at right). Under Color reaction papers due at the beginning of class next Thursday. Argument cases will be posted early next week; as I announced in class, everyone will judge one case and argue two.

We begin R/P/I, beginning with Enforcing Federal Statutes, covering all of Part B of Chapter 3. How can statutes be enforced and what is the connection between implied rights of action and § 1983 "and laws" actions? Review the jurisdictional statutes in play on these claims.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

For Thursday

We continue with our final test for under color, "Entwinement." Consider its scope and how it overlaps with and departs from Close Nexus. Consider Sullivan and Lugar and how to handle state action and under color in civil litigation between two private parties that may touch on the Constitution. Prep the three Puzzles in § 2.04[6].

I expect to finish Under Color on Thursday. We might transition into R/P/I, so read § 3.01 (don't go on to Part B); the first materials for Chapter 3 are here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

For Tuesday

Thursday audio.

We start on Polk County and why, as a policy matter, the decision was essential--what would happen if it came out the other way? Is the PD Officer not under color for all its functions and how might the analysis be different? How is the lawyer in Polk County different than the doctor in West?

Continue with Under Color; finish the rest of Chapter 2 and be familiar with the details of the various tests or standards for under color. Prep the Puzzles in § 2.03[6]. How does state action and under color apply in private civil litigation that might raise constitutional issues?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Panels (Updated)

The panels are as follows:

Panel I:
Julio Ayala
Sandra Ramirez
Jeremy McLymont

Panel II:
Elizabeth Utset
Paige Bennett

Assignments will go as follows (alternating major topics and book chapters)

Panel I: Under Color & State Action/Claims Against Fed Officials/Entity Liability/Abstenion

Panel II: Rights/Individual Immunity/Procedure/Remedies

For Wednesday

Monday audio.

We will spend a few minutes on the syllabus and assignments, if there are any questions.

The panels will be as follows:
Panel I:
Julio Ayala
Sandra Ramirez
Jeremy McLymont

Panel II:
Elizabeth Utset
Paige Bennett

Panel I will be up for all of "under color," beginning on Wednesday.

Read §§ 2.01 and 2.02, on Monroe and the expansion of "under color." Be ready to discuss the Puzzles in § 2.02[4]--be ready to argue both for and against the defendant being under color. How do we handle off-duty law-enforcement and why are they unique? What is the difference between the lawyers in Polk County and the doctors in West?

Quick note on the choice of hard copy v. ebook: Note that we do some bouncing around within the text, especially between the Constitution in App. A and the statutes in App. C, then the puzzles in the text. That will be common throughout the semester. So consider how easy it is to jump around on an ebook.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Word on Course Materials (Updated)

The assigned book for the semester is Understanding Civil Rights Litigation (Carolina Academic Press) (2d ed. 2018).

The hard-copy will not be available until the third or fourth week of class. It is now available as an ebook from RedShelf. Note that you can only print out parts of the ebook, not the whole thing. But you are permitted to bring the book to class in electronic form form.

To order, go to: and order from there.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Civil Rights and Civil Rights Blog

Welcome to Civil Rights and the FIU Civil Rights Blog. There are three posts that you must read and follow prior to our first class meeting on Tuesday, January 9.

To read the blog, go to; posts can be read going down from most recent to least recent. To post to the blog, go to; you can log-in with a username and password. For complete information on the purposes and uses of the blog, see the Syllabus.

To be able to post, you must register as an author and a reader. To register as an author, please send an e-mail to me ( In the subject line, type “Civil Rights Blog Registration;” in the body of the e-mail, please type your name and your e-mail address. You then will receive an e-mail “Invitation” inviting you to join as an author on the blog. You must follow the steps outlined in the invitation e-mail to register (under your full name, no handles or usernames) as an author. Please register under your full (first and last) name. Please do this at the beginning of the semester, as soon as you receive the invitation.

Once you have registered, take a few minutes to explore how to write a post. Note that you can put up photographs and video. You also can put web links in the text by highlighting the text you want to use for the hyperlink and clicking the "Link" button.

Course Materials and First Week Assignments

Download and read the Syllabus (or at right) for complete details about the course, assignments, pedagogical approach, course rules, and grading methods. You should bring the Syllabus with you to every class. Review the Course Evaluation Information (or at right) for details on your graded written and oral projects.

Technology and Class Conduct: 
• Use of laptops is prohibited.
  • You may bring a bookreader, iPad, phone, or similar device solely for reading assigned cases, statutes, rules, and texts, rather than printing out all the cases. You may not take notes on the device. 
   • You must be in class on time, unless I have previously given you permission to come late. You may not enter the room once class has begun, unless I have given you permission to come late. Once class has begun, you must remain in your seat, unless I have given you permission to leave during class. In all cases, permission will be freely given when appropriate.

Panels: Details in the syllabus. Panel I will be up when we begin discussing Elements of a Claim in the second class.

Required Course Materials: 
Howard M. Wasserman, Understanding Civil Rights Litigation (2d ed. 2018)
     Appendix A: Constitution of the United States
     Appendix C: United States Code and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (selected provisions)

Assignments for the first day of class, Tuesday, January 9:

Introduction/Historical Context                   Understanding Ch. 1
      U.S. Const. amend. XIII, XIV

Elements of Civil Rights Claims
Introduction                                                 Understanding § 2.01

 “Under Color of Law” and State Action (first part) Understanding §§ 2.02, 2.03[1], 2.03 [2]
      42 U.S.C. § 1983
      18 U.S.C. § 242
      Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961)