Jurisdiction's Noble Lie

63 Pages Posted: 13 May 2009

See all articles by Frederic Bloom

Frederic Bloom

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: May 12, 2009


This Article makes sense of a lie. It shows how legal jurisdiction depends on a falsehood - and then explains why it would. To make this novel argument, this Article starts where jurisdiction does. It recounts jurisdiction’s foundations - its tests and motives, its histories and rules. It then seeks out jurisdictional reality, critically examining a side of jurisdiction we too often overlook. Legal jurisdiction may portray itself as fixed and unyielding, as natural as the force of gravity, and as stable as the firmest ground. But jurisdiction is in fact something different. It is a malleable legal invention that bears a false rigid front. This Article aims to prove as much. This Article then examines both the flexibility and the ruse. It supports the first with two uncommon jurisdictional theories - one that shows how pragmatics, remedial context, and rights-accommodation permit courts to reach smart equilibriums; another that details the cultural, “spatial,” and federalist value of jurisdictional malleability. It then explains the second through more conditional claims about the functional, deliberative, and structural benefits of jurisdiction’s long-running trick. This study does not mean to excuse the inexcusable. It hopes instead to offer new insight on an old problem. And it helps to make sense of why jurisdiction’s lie has so long endured.

Keywords: jurisdiction, civil procedure, equilibration, space, personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, federal courts

JEL Classification: K41, K19

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Frederic, Jurisdiction's Noble Lie (May 12, 2009). Stanford Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 5, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1403622

Frederic Bloom (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics