Maritime Removal: An Unlikely Heuristic for Anchoring Three Non-Textual Principles of Original Federal Jurisdiction
Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 2012
40 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2012
Date Written: April 11, 2012
This article uses maritime law as a heuristic for identifying and explaining three broad, non-textual interpretive principles essential to understanding statutory and constitutional grants of original federal jurisdiction. Initially, the article demonstrates the pitfalls of textual statutory isolationism when trying to interpret federal jurisdictional statutes by examining non-textual restrictions on the removal of Jones Act civil actions. Next the article explains how federalism modifies the plain meaning of the text of constitutional and statutory grants of jurisdiction by examining the removal of common law maritime claims. Tangentially, this examination also reveals the pivotal role admiralty and maritime law played in the ratification of the Constitution. Finally, by exploring the recent and controversial removal of admiralty actions pursuant to federal arbitration law, the article tangibly demonstrates that identical text often has a very different meaning when used in the Constitution and in statutory jurisdictional grants.
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