Understanding Civil Rights Litigation

3 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2018

See all articles by Howard Wasserman

Howard Wasserman

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2, 2018


This Second Edition offers a concise, accessible, comprehensive, and readable overview of the doctrine, policy, history, and theory of civil rights and constitutional litigation under Section 1983 and its Bivens federal counterpart. The book is written for courses on Civil Rights Litigation and Federal Courts; it can function as a primary assignment, as an assigned or recommended case and statutory supplement to a casebook or case materials, and as an additional study guide for students wanting additional background, context, and synthesis of the material.

The new edition:

• Covers all aspects of civil rights and constitutional litigation, including the history of civil rights legislation in the United States; the substantive elements of Section 1983 and Bivens causes of action; individual immunity defenses; governmental liability and immunity; procedural and jurisdictional hurdles; abstention; and remedies. • Covers doctrinal changes from the Supreme Court since the previous edition, including on Bivens, individual officer immunity, abstention, and the scope of injunctive relief. • Discusses recent nationwide litigation campaigns over marriage equality and immigration policies to illustrate how plaintiffs and governments litigate these issues. • Includes appendices containing the United States Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation, and selected substantive, jurisdictional, and procedural federal statutes that regularly are involved in civil rights and constitutional litigation. • Includes “Puzzles,” short problems on every topic and sub-topic (drawn from lawsuits and recent lower-court decisions) for use in class discussions and for student study and review.

Keywords: Civil Rights, Constitutional Litigation, § 1983, State Action, Immunity

Suggested Citation

Wasserman, Howard, Understanding Civil Rights Litigation (February 2, 2018). Carolina Academic Press (2d ed.); Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3116890

Howard Wasserman (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

University Park, DB 2065
Miami, FL 33199
United States
305-348-7482 (Phone)

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