On the Efficient Deployment of Rules and Standards to Define Federal Jurisdiction

By Nash, Jonathan Remy | Vanderbilt Law Review, March 2012 | Go to article overview

On the Efficient Deployment of Rules and Standards to Define Federal Jurisdiction


Nash, Jonathan Remy, Vanderbilt Law Review


Congress and the federal courts have traditionally adopted rules, as opposed to standards, to establish the boundaries of federal district court jurisdiction. More recently, the Supreme Court has strayed from this path in two areas: federal question jurisdiction and admiralty jurisdiction. Commentators have generally supported the use of discretion in determining federal question jurisdiction, but they have not recognized the relationship to the rule-standard distinction, nor more importantly have they considered the importance of where discretion enters the jurisdictional calculus. This Article argues that predictability and efficiency make it normatively desirable to have rules predominate jurisdictional boundaries and thus to leave standards-through discretion-to dominate the landscape of abstention. It also argues that the effect of a standard-based jurisdictional boundary may be substantially replicated-to the extent that the metric is the ultimate question of whether the case will be heard in federal court-by having a rule determine the jurisdictional boundary and then giving the federal court discretion to abstain from exercising that jurisdiction, where the courts' discretionary standard for abstention in the second setting closely resembles the standard used to define the jurisdictional boundary in the first setting. Given this substantial equivalence, migration of the standard from the jurisdictional boundary to abstention is normatively desirable.

INTRODUCTION ............................................................................. 510

I. RULES AND STANDARDS AS LEGAL INSTRUMENTS ............... 520

II. CATEGORIZING RULES AND STANDARDS IN FEDERAL JURISDICTION .................................................................... 524

A. Unpacking Federal Jurisdictional Analysis ........... 524

B. Identifying Rules and Standards in the Context of Federal Jurisdiction .............................. 527

III. THE DESIRABILITY OF MIGRATING STANDARDS AWAY FROM JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES .................................. 528

A. The Costs and Benefits of Rules and Standards in Federal Jurisdiction ......................... 529

1. Efficiency .................................................... 529

2. Constraining or Empowering Lower Courts ............................................... 533

B. Migrating Standard-Like Considerations to an Abstention Stage ........................................... 540

IV. RESHAPING FEDERAL QUESTION AND FEDERAL ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION ................................................. 544

A. Federal Question Jurisdiction ................................ 544

1. The Boundary as Currently Defined ........... 545

2. Revising the Jurisdiction ............................ 550

3. Evaluation ................................................... 552

B. Federal Admiralty Jurisdiction .............................. 556

1. The Boundary as Currently Defined ........... 556

2. Revising the Jurisdiction ............................ 559

3. Evaluation ................................................... 560

CONCLUSION ................................................................................ 560

INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court has been inconsistent as to whether to use categorical rules or ad hoc standards to resolve questions of federal jurisdiction. In recent years, the Supreme Court has confirmed the importance of standards in defining some boundaries of federal jurisdiction. In 2005, the Court in Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Engineering & Manufacturing reaffirmed that the federal question jurisdiction of the federal courts extends beyond causes of action ground in federal law to causes of action that sound in state law yet incorporate by reference substantial issues of federal law.1 The Court explained that a bright-line rule could not resolve the question of whether federal question jurisdiction exists.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Efficient Deployment of Rules and Standards to Define Federal Jurisdiction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.