Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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 Monday, January 11.

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.


As discussed in the Syllabus, we will work with panels of 3-4 students who are "on call" for each subject

Given the size of the class, we will work with two panels of four students, who will rotate subjects. The number and size of the panels, as well as the organization of topics, may change if class enrollment increases. We will know more on January 9.

For now, the panels are as follows:

Panel I:
Brenda Bretas
Cori Varsallone
Christian Cantos
Alexis Hanson

Panel II:
Shannon Crosby
Simone Graff
Gabriella Del Castillo
Amber Plugge
Tucker Pryor


Under Color of Law/State Action: Panel I (be prepared to be on in the last part of the first class)
Rights, Privileges, and Immunities: Panel II
Claims Against Federal Officials: Panel I
Immunity: Panel II
Municipal/State/Supervisory Liability: Panel I
Procedure: Panel II
Abstention: Panel I
Remedies: Panel II

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.

Changes to Class Schedule: No class on Monday, January 16 for Martin Luther King Day 

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 and the prior post. Panel I will be up when we begin discussing Elements of a Claim in the last third of the first class.

Required Course Materials: 
 1) Howard M. Wasserman, Understanding Civil Rights Litigation (LexisNexis 2013)
     Appendix A: Constitution of the United States
     Appendix B: United States Code and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (selected provisions)
   1) Individual cases, unedited. You are responsible for downloading these; you can find them on Westlaw, Lexis, Oyez Project, Justia, or any other online source.
   2) Edited articles and other materials posted to the Blog, to be downloaded and brought to class

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

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

Elements of Civil Rights Claims
   Commentary: Understanding § 2.01

 “Under Color of Law” and State Action (first part)
      42 U.S.C. § 1983
      18 U.S.C. § 242
      Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961) (do not read Part III of Majority)
   Commentary: Understanding §§ 2.02, 2.03[1], 2.03 [2]