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Expanded Recognition in Written Laws of Ancillary Federal Court Powers: Supplementing the Supplemental Jurisdiction Statute

41 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2008  

Daniel J. Sennott


Jeffrey A. Parness

Northern Illinois University - College of Law

Date Written: July 2, 2008


Ancillary federal district court powers embody more than adjudicatory authority over "factually interdependent" civil claims initially presented within cases or controversies. Ancillary powers are used to facilitate civil case settlement agreements encompassing claims never presented for adjudication, as well as to adjudicate some disputes over settlement agreements long after final judgments. While certain ancillary powers are now recognized in the "supplemental jurisdiction" statute, 28 U.S.C. ý 1367, the range of the statute is quite limited. It chiefly codifies earlier precedents on pendent and ancillary jurisdiction that primarily address initial ancillary adjudicatory authority over state law civil claims without independent jurisdictional bases that arise from the same "common nucleus of operative facts" as the civil claims having independent subject matter jurisdictional bases. Section 1367 should provide clarity for all federal court ancillary powers, eliminating much uncertainty and confusion.

Section 1367 should be amended to encompass more fully ancillary adjudicatory and nonadjudicatory federal court authority. This task is facilitated by the 1994 decision in Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. A reformulated statute should speak for the first time to the ancillary nonadjudicatory powers necessary for courts to function successfully, including management, vindication, and certain enforcement powers. And, it should better recognize the differences between initial and later ancillary adjudicatory powers over nonfederal civil claims that are factually related to federal civil claims. In the absence of Congressional action, judicial decisions should better recognize and differentiate the varying forms of ancillary federal district court powers.

Keywords: Federal Courts, Jurisdiction, Ancillary Authority, Supplemental Jurisdiction

Suggested Citation

Sennott, Daniel J. and Parness, Jeffrey A., Expanded Recognition in Written Laws of Ancillary Federal Court Powers: Supplementing the Supplemental Jurisdiction Statute (July 2, 2008). University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 2, 2003. Available at SSRN:

Daniel J. Sennott


No Address Available

Jeffrey A. Parness (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University - College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

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