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The History and Tradition of the Amount in Controversy Requirement: A Proposal to "Up the Ante" in Diversity Jurisdiction

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Title: The History and Tradition of the Amount in Controversy Requirement: A Proposal to "Up the Ante" in Diversity Jurisdiction
Author: Baker, Thomas E.
Abstract: In this article, Professor Baker argues that Congress should increase the amount in controversy required to trigger diversity jurisdiction. At the time of the article, the amount in controversy requirement was $10,000.00, which Congress had set in 1958. The first section of the article highlights a problem that is virtually undisputed among federal jurisdiction gurus: the federal courts have an unmanageably large caseload. Professor Baker explains that any reformation of general diversity jurisdiction raises federalism issues, and proposes that Congress increase the amount, consistent with historic theory and contemporary reality of diversity jurisdiction. Section two explains the history of the amount in controversy; Professor Baker contends that over the years, three distinct policy rationales have framed the debate over the legitimacy and the sufficiency of the amount in controversy requirement: judicial federalism, cost efficiency, and caseload constraints. Professor Baker posits that judicial federalism is the first and foremost consideration in the history of the jurisdictional amount requirement; however, the coincident lesser considerations of cost efficiency and caseload constraints are discussed as well. Section three argues that it is time for Congress to increase the jurisdiction amount, and then considers how much of an increase is appropriate. The fourth and final section contends that postponing an increase any longer is at odds with the history and tradition of federalism. Professor Baker concludes by urging Congress to act now in raising the amount in controversy requirement.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10601/1632
Date: 1985

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