George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Are You Going to Make a Federal Case Out of It? Exploring the Impact of Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226
  • Division: Civil Justice Academy

Countless legal battles are fought over whether certain cases should be heard in state or federal courts. The choice of venue matters because federal and state courts have different procedural rules that can have big impacts on a case’s ultimate resolution. So, every year, plaintiffs and defendants spend billions of dollars trying to ensure their cases wind up in their preferred venues.

But it’s not just the parties and their lawyers who care. The rules also have big impacts on consumers and the American economy. Several bills that would clarify and alter the current “diversity jurisdiction” rule – which requires cases to be heard in state courts if any of the plaintiffs are from the same state as any of the defendants – have been introduced in Congress over the past few years. Rep. Steve King’s H. R. 3487 was nearly brought to the floor of the House this year. And that bill, or one like it, will surely be introduced in the House and Senate again next year.

What’s at stake in the battle to define diversity jurisdiction? Is the current rule appropriate? Or is there good reason to change? Check out our panel of experts debate these and other questions.

Robert Gassaway
Lecturer in Law, University of Chicago Law School

Michael S. Greve
Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Alan B. Morrison 
Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service, George Washington University Law School

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