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Scott C. Idleman, The Emergence of Jurisdictional Resequencing in the Federal Courts, 87 Cornell L. Rev. 1 (2001)

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87 Cornell Law Review 1 (2001)


This article addresses a 1999 Supreme Court decision holding that federal courts may address personal jurisdiction, and dismiss a lawsuit for its absence, without first or ever verifying their subject-matter jurisdiction. Examined are the genealogy, components, legitimacy, and future application of this emerging doctrine of resequencing, as well as the extent to which it accords with the Court's professedly restrained approach to federal power. Based on this examination, the article contends that the doctrine represents an unsettling departure from both precedent and jurisdictional theory and that its elements and scope are neither carefully delineated nor grounded in a coherent theory of judicial power, a reality that has already spawned several lower court conflicts. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the article attempts to assess the potential resequencibility of various threshold issues, most notably personal jurisdiction, Eleventh Amendment immunity, and federal sovereign immunity.

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