Congressional Control Over Federal Court Jurisdiction: A Defense of the Traditional View

97 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2005


The extent of Congress's authority to control the jurisdiction of the federal courts has been the subject of unending academic debate. The orthodox view long has been that Congress possesses nearly plenary authority to restrict federal court jurisdiction. There has been no shortage, however, of commentators who have taken exception to that view. The heart of the debate lies in whether Congress is authorized to remove specific subjects from the jurisdiction of federal courts when motivated by hostility to their substantive decisions. According to the traditional view, Congress is free to use its power in this manner. While most traditionalists believe this would be imprudent, some believe it could serve a legitimate function. This Article presents a defense of the traditional view. This Article analyzes the text as well as the history and structure of Article III in an attempt to set forth a comprehensive interpretation of Article III that reaffirms the traditional view. This Article shows that the modern assault on that position, while insightful, is fundamentally misguided.

Keywords: federal jurisdiction, Article III

Suggested Citation

Velasco, Julian, Congressional Control Over Federal Court Jurisdiction: A Defense of the Traditional View. Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 671-765, Spring 1997, Available at SSRN:

Julian Velasco (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

2142 Eck Hall of Law
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States
574-631-4965 (Phone)


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

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics