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Federal Courts
South Texas College of Law Houston
Reed, Harry L.

A. Marbury v. Madison – judicial supremacy; In cases where state or foreign diplomat is a party, if have ap juris, cant have original juris. Case defines role of judiciary. Judicial power is in terms of cases. Judiciary Act grants party who loses in state ct on pq the right to appeal to US SCt. Can hear cases by state SCts
C. 3 ways most private cases get into federal system?
1. Cases arising under const, laws and treaties
2. Diversity cases, even though no fed laws involved
3. Cases arising under admiralty jurisdiction
And…any case to which US itself is involved, but there is no jurisdictional question here.
II. Judicial Power over Cases and Controversies – const establishes SCt, but Congress determines # of justices. Const says judicial power vested in SCt & inferior tribunals, as Congress ordains or determines. Congress creates lower cts and determines their jurisdiction.
A. To establish that federal courts have jurisdiction:
1. Must be case described in broad language of ArtIII (mentioned above)
2. Congress incorporated minimal limit in dispute of greater than 75k for diversity cases
B. Const grants SCt power to decide cases. What is a case? Must be real dispute bw real persons about real property right. What a case or controversy isnt:
· Not an advisory opinion
· Not an academic question
· No abstract questions
· Don’t take political questions
· No moot issues
· No speculative matter
· MUST be question capable of judicial resolution (justiciable)
In order for court to act, must be case or controversy before it.
Absent federal jurisdiction, no judgment of federal court can stand
C. Nonjusticiability – if no fed juris for case seeking jud relief or inappropriate sm 4 judicial consideration, case is NJ. If NJ, consideration of cause not foreclosed; rather, cts inquire if duty asserted can be judicially identified, breach judicially determined, and protection judicially molded. (Guaranty clause claims involve elements which define a “pq”, so are NJ)
· Matters aren’t nonjusticiable just bc touch matters of state governmental organization
D. Things required to sue:
1. Standing – P himself must be injured by challenged action of D. P must have interest in case apart from interest of public generally. Congress can overrule & give people standing to sue. Only takes 1 person to have standing, who can join w corp or any other entity.
2. Ripeness – Must be injured BEFORE sue.
3. Case/controversy must exist thru duration of suit, otherwise MOOT
E. 5 Classifications of legislative courts
· Claims against US
o Tax Ct
o Ct of Fed Claims
· Administrative Law Cts
· Military Courts
o Courts Martial
o Appeals-Branch
· Adjunct Courts
o Bankruptcy
o US Magistrates
· Territorial Courts
Art I Cts: US Tax Ct, Ct of Federal Claims, US Ct of Military Appeals, territorial cts, bankruptcy cts, appeals for armed forces, patent appeals, etc.
Art III Cts: US SCt, US Cts of Appeals, US District Cts, US Ct of International Trade
Who can suspend writ of habeus corpus? Prevailing view-only Congress, when civil govt functioning. US citizen has right to independent tribunal to decide if a combatant, & he has BOP that not. If US citizen, can bring writ of HC. Congress deprived fed cts of juris to hear cases of people not held w/in US, but should provide reasonable substitute. SCt determines what a war is, when conflict exists.
II. Cases Arising Under….
A. What does cases “arising under”mean? District cts have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under Constitution, laws, or treaties of US
B. Ingredient Theory: If any fed ingredient under P’s coa. Wide sweep of fed juris.
1. Confined to federal chartered corporations, AND
2. Further confined by statute “of which US owns more than 50% of the stock.”
· Suit for DAS caused by threat to sue under patent law is not itself a suit under patent law, neither is damage caused by statement of fact, that D has patent which is infringed. Suit arises under law that creates coa.
C. Suit to Enforce Federally Created Right – where most private civil litigation cases arising under const fit. (P sues on federally created bond, fed ct has juris bc enforcing fed created right)
1) Where fed ct expressly/impliedly preempts state law, then federally created coa
2) Federal adoption of state law
D. Federal Question in Case. Look at P’s complaint to determine jurisdiction, as if it were well pleaded, and ignore anticipated fed defenses D might raise. Not enough to allege expected defense to coa and assert defense will be invalidated by provision of const, to get into fed ct. Have case arising under if fed question which can be pled by P subject to rules of good pleading.
1) Removal case – must be substantial, fed question, involving serious fed interest
2. Way complaint drawn determines basis of suit. If P alleged federally created coa is decision on merits. If dismiss for want of jurisdiction-not res judicata, but, if dismiss on merits-is res judicata and can no longer bring suit.
3.) Interstate commerce act creates common carrier (carries 4 anyone if comply w price and must serve all on same nondiscriminatory basis.) If coa brought on basis of violating this statute, there is fed jurisdiction
If state coa, can hear if case dominated by contested fed issue which is substantial & serious fed interest, which fed forum may entertain w/o disturbing congressionally approved balance of fed & state judicial responsibilities
· Cts reluctant to allow declaratory judgments in public arena, involving public law, even if have diversity jurisdiction
· Foreign sovereign has exclusive right to be sued in fed ct. So, any interstate rr has right to be sued in fed ct. (protective jurisdiction) W protective jurisdiction, coa ignored
· Taft Hartley Act of 1948 requires collective bargaining, even though fed law requires bargaining, and k is state law k, Congress authorizes suit in fed ct. K right arises under State law, but can sue in fed ct. There is area where congress can give juris to parties who don’t qualify as diverse, if in area where Congress has regulation. Taft Hartley is ex of “if party can be regulated, part of regulation is giving them right to sue and be sued in fed cts…..4th type of case arising.”
· If infringement action (patents, etc),not only fed juris bc case arising, but also exclusive jurisdiction.
III. DIVERSITY of CITIZENSHIP – granted where over 75k involved. Don’t need US substantive law involved, simply need DoC . District ct shall have origin

ive at new domicile, while in transit, still domiciliary of where voyage began.)
· Born w domicile of father, and keep father’s until fulfill test yourself
IV. Jurisdictional Amount – counter claim cant be aggregated w original claim to create juris amt. If multiple D’s, must all agree to remove to fed ct, this is “rule of unanimity”.
· Don’t take future payments on k to help meet jurisdictional amount
· If applicable law permits entry now of judgment for future amts, can consider future amts even though expressly subject to contingencies.
· Possibility that P may recover more damages in future is insufficient now
· If D can show by prep of evidence that amt in controversy actually exceeds juris amt, P must show as matter of law, certain he wont b able 2 recover more than DAS prayed for in complaint
· If make will in Tx, have kid, but don’t make new will, kid born after will, but has right to claim against will. Not a probate action. Claim may be as heir at law. If 2 kids omitted, each has separate coa to take share of estate against will. Cant aggregate different coa’s, unless statute says otherwise (example, class action)
· People w undivided interest in same coa CAN be aggregated. In mass tort, like plane going down, and bring class action, each has separate coa against airline
· If more than one coa involved, cannot aggregate.
· Amt over 75, excluding interest & costs. Does not exclude k interest that’s been contracted for.
· defect in diversity juris exists, if at all, only when filed or removed to fed ct. If defect when filed remains uncured, jdgmt vacated and case dismissed. Events occurring after filing or removal, like changing residence, or amt in controversy dropping below juris amt, are not defects and dont affect fed jurisdiction
V. Supplemental Jurisdiction – subsumes & replaces pendent and ancillary jurisdiction; P may join all parties & claims under Rules 13, 22, or 23 involving common nucleus of operative fact w/orig claim. Except: if basing juris solely on doc, may not bring new claims against party brought in under 14, 19, 20 or 24 if destroys juris.
A. Ancillary jurisdiction-adds parties; If P sues D, and D wants to bring in D2. Can add D as ancillary matter w/o regard to citizenship or juris amt, if brought in form of 3rd party action, bc of basic action. Similarly w cross action. Under ancillary, can add new claims and new parties
B. Pendent jurisdiction-suit made on fed claim & state claim added to fed claim. Adding c oa. If have fed claim, state claim involving same parties, can be added. Juris lasts even if fed claim dismissed; ct can still adjudicate state claim.