Hastings Law Journal


During the past decade, the Supreme Court has placed limits on access to the federal courts. Its effort, in part, has been mandated by the competing concerns of federal and state sovereignty. In this Article, the author discusses the Supreme Court's efforts in this area and argues for application of the jurisdictional principle expressed in Rooker . Fidelity Trust. The Rooker doctrine, based on the statutes governing federal jurisdiction, states that the lower federal courts have no appellate jurisdiction over state courts. Operating whenever the res judicata rules of a state would bar a second action, Rooker should be the mandatory basis for decision in many cases now covered by other jurisdictional doctrines. The author further argues that application of Rooker would preclude many actions based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which allege the unconstitutionality of prior state court proceedings.

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