Complete Preemption and the Separation of Powers

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Identifying muddles, messes, and even incoherencies in the Supreme Court’s decisions on federal jurisdiction is regrettably easy. Rescuing even part of the doctrine from the mire is not. For that reason and others, Gil Seinfeld’s The Puzzle of Complete Preemption merits considerable praise. Professor Seinfeld does an admirable job not only of diagnosing the Court’s rather odd and undertheorized doctrine of “complete preemption,” but also of proposing a way to place the doctrine on firmer conceptual footing by shaping it around the fundamental goal of uniformity in the interpretation of federal law. The result is certainly a better justified account of complete preemption than can be found in the Court’s cases.

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