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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

In an effort to eliminate duplicative and wasteful litigation in both federal and state courts, recent federal legislative proposals and enactments have provided for the exercise of federal jurisdiction over non-diverse state law claims that are joined or removed from state court and consolidated with claims falling within the diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts. These proposals and enactments are based on the thesis that the exercise of federal jurisdiction over such joined or consolidated claims is proper provided that "minimal diversity" of citizenship exists between any two adverse parties in the action. This Article examines whether the exercise of federal jurisdiction on the basis of "minimal diversity" of citizenship has any limits. It concludes that all exercises of jurisdiction over non-diverse state law claims joined or consolidated with claims falling within the diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts should be evaluated under a "necessary and proper" model of jurisdiction. Under that analysis, the exercise of federal jurisdiction over the non-jurisdictional claims should be sustained only if Congress reasonably concludes that it is necessary to permit the federal courts effectively to adjudicate claims falling within the scope of Article III. This precondition for federal jurisdiction would be satisfied, for example, if the exercise of federal jurisdiction over non-diverse state law claims could be thought to be necessary to facilitate access to federal court by those possessing claims falling within the scope of Article III, or to enable the federal court to render a complete and effective judgment over such claims without prejudicing the interests of parties or non-parties who may be affected by the court's judgment. Viewed in this light, the recent federal jurisdiction enactments and proposals, in many important applications, raise serious questions, both of their constitutional validity, and, if they are valid, of their appropriateness in this area touching vitally upon the federal-state balance.

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