Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1998

Abstract

Supplemental jurisdiction is a concept too complex to be captured by complicated statutory drafting. That is my proposition. Or, somewhat more accurately, that is my tentative proposition, advanced for consideration alongside the elegant but intricate statutory proposals emerging from the American Law Institute's Federal Judicial Code Revision Project. Professor John Oakley, the Reporter, knows more about supplemental jurisdiction, and has thought more deeply about it, than anyone. He has traveled many roads in continually refining proposed revisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1367. If anyone can capture all the nuances of supplemental jurisdiction in a statute, it is he, assisted by such aid as emerges from the consultative group, advisers, Council, and annual meeting. But the very virtuosity of the talents brought to bear suggests that the continuing need for refinement demonstrates the intransigent problems that defeat detailed codification. The nuances cannot all be captured by specific provisions that answer every question. The mediating forces of generality and discretion must be introduced. All of the drafts recognize this need. The remaining question is whether an intermediate blend of specification and discretion is the best answer. The answer depends on at least two things: the conceptualization chosen to "extend" subject-matterjurisdiction beyond the circumstances that initially define it, and the wisdom of federal judges in exercising discretion.


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