Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
jca at stanford.edu
Mon Mar 29 14:53:51 PDT 2010
In SC v. Katzenbach the Court noted that SC wanted to obtain a
definitive ruling on the Act, signed into law in August 1965, before
its June 1966 primaries, and that there were no issues of fact. Thus
there were important reasons for hearing the case directly and
Here there is no looming deadline (much of the Act, including
provisions that are at the heart of the suit, won't go into effect
immediately) and there are many issues of fact.
Oregon v. Mitchell also involved the validity of elections and thus
there was time pressure (primaries were not as imminent as in
Katzenbach but would have taken place before a case filed in the
district court could get through USSC review, and the act purported
to cover state and local elections as well). The opinion announcing
the judgments of the Court does not discuss jurisdiction at all, or
the presence of controverted facts. The Court may have felt used to
taking original jurisdiction of suits by States challenging federal
voting rights laws.
At 01:12 PM 3/29/2010, Edward A Hartnett wrote:
>Such a suit would have to be based on diversity of citizenship. See
>Stern & Gressman section 10.5.
>Assuming that Sebelius is a citizen of Kansas, Geithner a citizen of
>NY, and Solis a citizen of California, there does appear to be
>diversity jurisdiction in the Supreme Court. So it would appear
>that the complaint as filed in the Northern District of Florida is
>within the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction.
>Current doctrine requires complete diversity in SCOTUS original
>actions, but see Stern & Gressman section 10.5 (suggesting that this
>limitation might be "recipe for reconsideration"), so perhaps the
>plaintiff states are hoping that Kansas, NY, or California might
>join the litigation. Or perhaps my assumption about the citizenship
>of the defendants is wrong.
>And of course, the SCOTUS has for decades viewed itself as empowered
>to decline to exercise its original jurisdiction.
>Edward A. Hartnett
>Richard J. Hughes Professor
> for Constitutional and Public Law and Service
><mailto:edward.hartnett at shu.edu>edward.hartnett at shu.edu
>SSRN author page:
>From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
>[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Galanter, Seth M.
>Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 3:47 PM
>To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
>Subject: Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
>Forgive me if this was covered in the tsunami of earlier emails, but
>is there any legal reason why the States could not have sought leave
>to file their suits challenging the constitutionality of the new
>health reform law in the Supreme Court under the Court's original
>jurisdiction, as the States did in South Carolina v. Katzenbach
>(1966), and Oregon v. Mitchell (1970)?
>Morrison & Foerster LLP
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