Assessing CAFA’s Stated Jurisdictional Policy

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Anyone who addresses jurisdictional policy must contend with the fact—proclaimed at the outset of Professors Wright and Kane’s Federal Courts treatise—that “there is to this day no consensus as to the historical justification or the contemporary need for diversity jurisdiction.” Even if one could discern the original objectives, they add, “[t]he conditions that existed, or were feared to exist, in 1789 are irrelevant in determining the continued necessity for diversity jurisdiction.” Thus, although one may fashion a general theory about the appropriate use of the federal judicial power, one is also left with strong competing currents. At least in Congress, those currents often respond more to political pressure than to elegant general jurisdictional policies.

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