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.
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