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Understanding Civil Rights Litigation


Understanding Civil Rights Litigation

Second Edition

by Howard M. Wasserman

Forthcoming February 2018

ISBN978-1-5310-0366-1
e-ISBN978-1-53100-367-8

Tags: Civil Rights/Race and the Law, Law School Study Aids, Lawyering Skills/Study Aids, Litigation, Understanding Series


This student-focused treatise provides 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 actions, 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.
  • All topics and sub-topics include “Puzzles,” short problems (drawn from lawsuits and recent lower-court decisions) for use in class discussions and for student study and review.

Complimentary Copy RequestIf you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.


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