In Search of Removal Jurisdiction

36 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2007 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012


The ubiquitous and somewhat careless use of the term jurisdictional by courts has spawned confusion over what is and is not jurisdictional in a variety of contexts, including removal. The issue has critical implications for litigants. Yet it lacks scholarly coverage and is the subject of deep divisions in the lower courts. In this article, I develop an initial framework for tackling the jurisdictional/procedural characterization issues of the removal statute. I build upon the groundwork laid by prior precedent and modify it to account for the quasi-jurisdictional nature of removal and its impact on the federal-state balance of power. I then showcase the utility of the framework in a case study of one particularly nettlesome removal issue, the forum defendant rule. The case study demonstrates both why the lower courts' approaches to resolving the issue have been misguided and how the framework can provide a more reasoned approach.

Keywords: jurisdiction, removal, forum defendant, local defendant, 1441(b)

Suggested Citation

Dodson, Scott, In Search of Removal Jurisdiction. Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 102, p. 55, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Scott Dodson (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-581-8959 (Phone)


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