Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1276524
 
 

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Teaching Federal Courts: From Bottom Line to Mystery


Laura E. Little


Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law


Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-79
St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 53, 2009

Abstract:     
Despite compelling reasons to take a course in Federal Courts, many students run from the subject. This article outlines five pedagogical antidotes to counteract this tendency to flee: (1) bottom line practicality; (2) current events; (3) story telling; (4) taxonomy; and (5) mystery. The antidotes are designed to make the course appealing, and to transport students to a sophisticated level of learning and understanding.

A Federal Courts course should acquaint students with structural issues in the Constitution, introduce profound debates about the optimum organization for government, offer practical knowledge about federal litigation, render students expert in reading Supreme Court opinions, and initiate them in rhetorical devices useful where human interaction calls for subtlety. This paper explores ways students may enhance their learning using paradigms and taxonomies, while developing students' appreciation for internal contradictions and ambiguities in legal doctrine as well as unstated partisan or ideological motives of the justices.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: Federal Courts, Education, Pedagogy, Taxonomy, Paradigm, Indeterminacy, Ideological motives, current events, federal jurisdiction, United States Supreme Court

JEL Classification: H77, K10, K19, K40, K41

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Date posted: October 7, 2008 ; Last revised: December 12, 2012

Suggested Citation

Little, Laura E., Teaching Federal Courts: From Bottom Line to Mystery. Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-79; St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 53, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1276524

Contact Information

Laura E. Little (Contact Author)
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-8955 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)
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