History Comes Calling: Dean Griswold Offers New Evidence About the Jurisdictional Debate Surrounding the Enactment of the Declaratory Judgment Act
6 Pages Posted: 26 May 2008
Dean Erwin Griswold sent a letter in response to the authors' original article 'The Trojan Horse: How the Declaratory Judgment Act Created a Cause of Action and Expanded Federal Jurisdiction While the Supreme Court Wasn't Looking', 36 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 529 (1989), confirming that the jurisdictional concerns that surrounded consideration of the federal Declaratory Judgment Act focused on whether declaratory judgments violated the Case-or-Controversy Clause of Article III, not on whether, within those constitutional confines, the Act expanded federal jurisdiction. Dean Griswold's recollection of then-Professor Felix Frankfurter's position on declaratory judgments demonstrates that by the time Justice Frankfurter prescribed the Court's approach to declaratory judgment cases in 'Skelly Oil', his views had changed, which may have led him to ignore the Act's legislative history and to declare an analytical procedure that conflicts with Congress's intent.
Keywords: Declaratory Judgment Act, federal question jurisdiction, case or controversy
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