Helen Norton, Reshaping Federal Jurisdiction: Congress’s Latest Challenge To Judicial Review, 41 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1003 (2006).
Although the confirmation process of a federal judicial nominee attracts more attention than most of Congress’s other checks on the federal judiciary, the legislative body utilizes a number of more subtle tools to influence the federal judiciary. One such tool is its ability to control what type of cases make it into federal court by expanding or contracting federal jurisdiction. This interesting article discusses Congress’s recent use of the Class Action Fairness Act, The Pledge Protection Act, and The Defense of Marriage Act, among other recently enacted statutes, to dictate what claims make it into a federal courthouse. Regarding CAFA, the authors opine that “CAFA’s enactment reveals that even politically accountable state judges face jurisdictional change when they deliver results unpopular with Congress on state law questions.” What does that mean? Politics had nothing to do with CAFA!
Bottom Line: Interesting article exploring Congress’s ability to influence the federal judiciary, including how CAFA fits into the bigger political picture.