Federal questions and the domestic-relations exception.
A final argument in favor of applying the domestic-relations exception to federal questions is that despite often being characterized as a limit on diversity jurisdiction, (180) the exception was in fact established early on by cases involving federal questions. (181) This fact tends to undermine the claim that the exception is cabined to the context of diversity jurisdiction.
Of the earliest domestic-relations exception cases, two--In re Burrus (182) and Perrine (183)--arose pursuant to federal habeas jurisdiction, while two more--Simms (184) and De la Rama (185)--arose pursuant to jurisdiction granted by federal statute over territorial courts. None of these four early cases involved conflicts between diverse parties. Another early domestic-relations case, Popovici, (186) came to the Supreme Court from the Ohio Supreme Court but involved federal-question jurisdiction over "all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls." (187) In fact, only one early domestic-relations exception case, Barber, (188) arose pursuant to federal diversity jurisdiction.
Later Supreme Court cases also seem to apply the exception to federal questions. Newdow insinuated that the domestic-relations exception applied even in cases raising "weighty question[s] of federal constitutional law." (189) Even Baker v. Nelson, (190) the 1972 summary disposition whose precedential value was extensively debated in the lead-up to Obergefell, (191) was arguably "based upon the domestic relations exception." (192) Baker involved an appeal from a judgment by the Minnesota Supreme Court upholding a ban on same-sex marriage. (193) The state argued that "[i]t is well established that each state under its own power of sovereignty has the power ... [and] duty to carefully regulate its citizens in their domestic relationships." (194) It referenced the "landmark" (195) case of Williams v. North Carolina, quoting its language concerning a "most important aspect of our federalism whereby 'the domestic relations of husband and wife ... were matters reserved to the States' ... and do not belong to the United States." (196) Baker dismissed the appeal "for want of a substantial federal question." (197) There is thus "a powerful argument ... that the Court dismissed the appeal" on jurisdictional grounds "based upon the domestic relations exception." (198)
From its inception through the twenty-first century, the Supreme Court has applied the domestic-relations exception in federal-question cases. Those who claim that it applies only to diversity jurisdiction must account for this longstanding practice.
All of these arguments seem to present a colorable case for applying the domestic-relations exception in federal-question cases. However, as the next Part establishes, they individually and collectively fail. They rely on dubious historical claims, ignore sound principles of statutory interpretation, and disregard the text and purpose of Article III.
III. THE CASE AGAINST APPLYING THE EXCEPTION TO FEDERAL QUESTIONS
The domestic-relations exception does not and cannot, as a matter of positive law, limit federal-question jurisdiction. Article III and sound principles of statutory interpretation obligate federal courts to adjudicate federal questions, whether or not they involve domestic-relations issues. First, as a matter of constitutional structure, the federal courts must have jurisdiction over all federal-question cases. Additional, related structural considerations compel the conclusion that the Supreme Court itself must have authority over such cases, regardless of whether lower federal courts do as well. Second, as a matter of statutory interpretation, the federal-jurisdiction statutes provide that federal jurisdiction extends to federal questions regardless of whether they involve domestic relations. Finally, invoking the values of federalism and parity between state and federal courts is insufficient to justify expanding the domestic-relations exception to federal questions, because letting federal courts decide federal questions that involve domestic relations better serves those values than leaving such cases entirely to the state courts.
A. The Constitutional Argument: Applying the Exception to Federal Questions Would Violate Article III
Article III extends federal jurisdiction to all federal questions, including those initially brought in state courts. In addition, it requires that the U.S. Supreme Court have jurisdiction to review all cases heard in lower federal courts. When state courts hear federal questions, appeal must lie in federal court--specifically, in the Supreme Court. The domestic-relations exception cannot rob federal courts of the jurisdiction that Article III confers.
1. Federal Questions Involving Domestic Relations Are Cases in "Law" or "Equity"
The original public meaning of Article III gives the federal courts jurisdiction over federal-question cases that involve domestic relations. The Constitution gives the federal judiciary power over all federal-question cases, irrespective of whether they touch on domestic relations. Article III commands that federal judicial power "shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority. (199) Any constitutional challenge to a law necessarily "aris[es] under [the] Constitution"; any challenge based on a federal statutory right necessarily "aris[es] under ... the Laws of the United States." (200) The federal courts thus have jurisdiction over such challenges involving domestic relations so long as such domestic-relations cases can be characterized as cases in "law" or "equity." Can they? To determine whether a case arises in law or equity, courts usually look to the nature of the remedy sought. (201) A party challenging a statute's lawfulness will usually seek to enjoin its enforcement. The injunction is an equitable remedy. Suits seeking to enjoin a law's enforcement on constitutional or federal-law grounds are therefore cases in equity, subject to federal jurisdiction.
As Section II.A explained, the argument that domestic-relations cases fall beyond the scope of Article III jurisdiction rests on the claim that English law and equity courts could not hear domestic-relations cases because the ecclesiastical courts had exclusive jurisdiction over them. This account, however, oversimplifies the jurisdictional complexities of English domestic-relations law and disregards colonial practice. Article III extends federal jurisdiction to all cases in "Law and Equity." At the time of and leading up to the Constitution's ratification, English equity courts regularly heard cases raising family law issues. (202) Notwithstanding the In re Burrus dictum, considerably less than "[t]he whole subject of the domestic relations" (203) belonged to the English ecclesiastical courts. This suggests that some early domestic-relations precedents in federal-question cases discussed in Section II.C, such as Popovici (204) and Justice Daniel's dissent in Barberj (205) are entitled to little weight because they relied on erroneous history. (206)
Whatever the relevance of English practice to the scope of the exception may be, one should also look to the American colonial experience, which is a more appropriate source of the original public meaning of the jurisdictional terms in Article III. Importantly, ordinary American colonial courts regularly exercised jurisdiction over domestic-relations matters. Even if Justice Daniel were correct that in England, cases involving marriage, divorce, and alimony belonged exclusively to the ecclesiastical courts, (207) the early American colonies did not have ecclesiastical courts, so the ordinary colonial law and equity courts absorbed that jurisdiction. (208) Because there was no American ecclesiastical jurisdiction, American equity jurisdiction absorbed ecclesiastical cases. Crucially, jurisdictional labels generally meant little in the American colonies. Colonial courts were regularly given names that did not correspond to the function of similarly named courts in England. (209) Because ordinary American courts exercised jurisdiction over domestic-relations cases, Founding-era Americans likely would have understood the Article III phrase "Law and Equity" to encompass all of the jurisdiction that ordinary American courts exercised at the time, including jurisdiction over domestic relations. A more restrictive construction of those terms would also be inconsistent with the colonial legal culture from which the Constitution itself emerged. Consider, for example, that Oliver Ellsworth, the Chief Justice of Connecticut, whose colonial courts granted divorces, (210) was a main drafter of the diversity-jurisdiction provisions in the Judiciary Act of 1789, (211) which mirrored the language of Article III of the Constitution.
In sum, English and colonial practice shows that family-law disputes have always fallen within the scope of cases in "law" and "equity" as those terms have been understood in America. Under Article III, a federal question is a case "in Law and Equity," (212) to which federal jurisdiction extends, regardless of whether it raises domestic-relations issues. If the exception's historicity depends on the claim that the Founding-era Americans believed domestic relations to belong exclusively to the English ecclesiastical courts, it rests on shaky ground. (213)
2. Appeals from State Court Federal Question Judgments Must Always Lie in Federal Court
The existence of federal jurisdiction over all federal questions, including those that involve domestic relations, is also evident in Article III's elegant jurisdictional framework. Article III uses broad, obligatory language, which strongly suggests that the federal judiciary must have jurisdiction over federal-question cases. As Akhil Reed Amar has famously argued, the use of the word "all" before heads of jurisdiction over federal-question cases, and the absence of "all" before heads of jurisdiction over diversity cases, makes for a striking contrast, strongly indicating that federal-question jurisdiction is mandatory and diversity jurisdiction is permissive. (214) As Justice Story declared in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, an early Supreme Court case concerning the scope of federal jurisdiction, "It is hardly to be presumed that the variation in the language could have been accidental." (215) Indeed, records from the Constitutional
Convention confirm that the Framers used and omitted the word "all" purposefully when writing Article III to create categories of obligatory and permissive jurisdiction. (216) As they repeatedly revised Article III's text, the judiciary's "two-tiered" structure of obligatory and permissive jurisdiction came into greater focus. (217) The resulting text of Article III indicates that federal courts must have power to hear federal-question cases, while Congress may limit the scope of their jurisdiction over diversity cases through the "exceptions and regulations" clause. (218)
This all suggests that even if Congress or the courts could carve out a domestic-relations exception to diversity jurisdiction, the Constitution forbids such an exception to the mandatory federal-question jurisdiction it vests in the federal courts. That conclusion is buttressed by the observation that the word "all" mirrors another obligatory phrase (219) found near the beginning of Article III, Section 2: "The judicial Power shall extend...." (220) As Robert N. Clinton has observed, the Framers regularly used the word "shall" in an obligatory fashion. (221) Altogether, as Martin recognized, "The language of ... [A]rticle [III] throughout is manifestly designed to be mandatory upon the legislature. Its obligatory force is so imperative that congress could not, without a violation of its duty, have refused to carry it into operation." (222)
The Framers created this two-tiered structure because they feared that without a federal forum to resolve federal questions, state judges would undermine the Constitution by refusing to give it effect. (223) The federal jurisdictional framework was designed so that federal questions need not be settled in the final instance by state courts; review would always lie in federal tribunals. (224) In contrast, the Framers did not find it especially important to vest federal courts with diversity jurisdiction, which presented state judges few opportunities to undermine the Constitution and only did so ambivalently. (225)
As Amar argues, the Constitution has four structural features that make federal judges superior to their state counterparts to adjudicate federal-question disputes. First, because federal judges have life tenure during good behavior and cannot see their salaries diminished, they possess a degree of political independence and impartiality that state judges may lack. (226) Second, federal judges are chosen by the President and confirmed by the Senate, while state judges are not, (227) a process "designed to promote a high level of prestige and competence in the federal judiciary that could not be guaranteed at the state level." (228) Third, federal judges are "officers of the nation ... hold[ing] national commissions," "speak[ing] in the name of the nation," and "paid out of the national treasury." (229) Finally, the Constitution makes federal judges accountable to the entire nation by providing a mechanism for their impeachment, but it creates no corresponding impeachment process for state judges. (230)
Two early Supreme Court cases, authored by two of the most celebrated constitutional expositors in American history, confirm that the Constitution was designed to ensure that state courts would not have the last word on federal questions. First, Martin, discussed above, held that the Supreme Court had the power to review federal-question judgments by state courts. (231) Justice Story explained that this process ensures that federal courts, not state courts, would in the final instance get to resolve disputes over the meaning of federal law: even though "the judges of the state courts are, and always will be, of as much learning, integrity, and wisdom, as those of the courts of the United States," (232) he said, the Constitution nonetheless reflects the assumption "that state attachments, state prejudices, state jealousies, and state interests, might sometimes obstruct, or control, or be supposed to obstruct or control, the regular administration of justice." (233) Later, in Cohens v. Virginia, the Court rejected the contention that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction over criminal cases or cases in which a state was a party. (234) Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Marshall stressed that state courts could not always be trusted to adjudicate impartially disputes arising under federal law, free of "the prejudices by which the legislatures and people are influenced." (235) After all, Marshall reasoned, "[i]n many States the judges are dependent for office and for salary on the will of the legislature," whereas the Federal Constitution provided for the independence of federal judges. (236)
For these reasons, whenever state courts hear federal questions, appeal must lie in some federal court. To place federal-question cases involving domestic relations beyond the scope of federal jurisdiction would vest some of the "judicial Power of the United States" (237) in the state judiciaries, violating the clear text of the Article III Vesting Clause. One implication is that the Supreme Court itself must have jurisdiction over all cases that raise federal questions, regardless of whether they involve domestic relations. As Steven Calabresi and Gary Lawson have argued, "Article III requires that the federal judiciary be able to exercise all of the judicial power of the United States that is vested by the Constitution and that the Supreme Court must have the final judicial word in all cases ... that raise federal issues." (238)
Calabresi and Lawson derive this conclusion from the constitutionally evident hierarchical relationship between one "Supreme" Court and other federal courts that are "inferior" to it. (239) According to them, the Supreme Court must have either original or appellate jurisdiction over any case in the lower federal courts, or else it would not be truly "Supreme" over them. (240) Article III's hierarchical relationship between the "supreme Court" and "inferior Courts" (241) thus parallels Article II's command chain between "a President" (242) and "inferior [executive] Officers." (243) Edmond v. United States recognized as a general matter that what makes an executive officer "inferior" within the meaning of the Appointments Clause (244) is that she or he has a "superior" other than the President himself. (245) If this is true of inferior officers, it is also true of inferior courts--both must have supervisors who are "Supreme" over them, who have authority to oversee their acts undertaken in exercise of constitutional authority. (246)
Though Calabresi and Lawson speak only to the Supreme Court's relationship with inferior federal courts, their reasoning extends to its relationship with state courts hearing federal-question cases, which is analogous to that between the President and state executive officers. Whenever a state court hears a federal-question case, it exercises "[t]he judicial Power of the United States." (247) If the domestic-relations exception applies to federal questions, it puts some quantum of "[t]he judicial Power" (248) in state courts beyond the Supreme Court's supervision. This would be analogous to vesting some of "[t]he executive Power" (249) in state officials who are not subject to presidential control--an arrangement that the Supreme Court in Printz v. United States declared unconstitutional. (250)
Article III gives the judiciary a unitary structure similar to Article II's "unitary executive." (251) It vests "[t]he judicial Power" in "one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." (252) To use Justice Scalia's phrasing, "this does not mean some of' the judicial power, "but all of it. (253) Construing the exception to limit federal jurisdiction over federal questions would violate Article III's text, structure, intent, and purpose. Just as the executive power cannot be vested in state officers not subject to presidential supervision, (254) nor can the judicial power be vested in state courts unless they are subject to the Supreme Court's supervision when exercising it. If the exception were extended to federal questions, the judiciary's "unity would be shattered," (255) and important questions of federal law would be committed exclusively to state courts, precisely those bodies that the Framers felt ought not have the final say on such matters. A faithful, holistic reading of Article III would avoid such perverse results.
3. The Domestic-Relations Exception as an Abstention Doctrine
As noted in Section I.B, some courts that apply the domestic-relations exception in federal-question cases characterize it not as a mandatory jurisdictional bar, but as a prudential abstention doctrine. (256) Under abstention principles, federal courts decline to adjudicate certain claims when doing so would undermine federalism values. (257) Abstention doctrines are rooted in prudential principles rather than claims that federal courts inherently lack power to hear certain cases. (258) Moreover, they usually limit federal courts' power to hear certain disputes only for a limited duration. (259) In contrast, a doctrine barring federal courts from deciding domestic-relations cases would seemingly amount to a blanket, perpetual bar to adjudicating them. Were the Supreme Court to hold the domestic-relations exception inapplicable to federal questions, could federal courts revive it through abstention, thereby obviating the decision's practical significance?
The constitutionality of a domestic relations abstention doctrine depends on how broadly it is formulated. To preserve states' autonomy in defining family policy and leave resolution of family-law issues to state courts, (260) such a doctrine must give state courts leeway to decide federal questions involving domestic relations differently than would federal courts hearing identical cases. For example, if a federal court would strike down a paternity statute as violative of the Due Process Clause, (261) a domestic relations abstention doctrine must permit a state court to uphold it. The doctrine would hardly promote federalism if it required state courts to rule exactly as federal courts would. To have teeth, state courts must be free to disregard how federal courts would handle domestic-relations cases, even those raising federal questions, just as they are not bound by federal court pronouncements of state-law questions made pursuant to diversity jurisdiction. (262)
At stake in every federal-question case is a right or interest that federal law protects. (263) When a court reaches the wrong result, it wrongly, if inadvertently, deprives the losing party of that right or interest. For reasons discussed in Section III.A.2, federal judges are generally likelier than state judges to safeguard rights and interests that federal law protects. (264) They enjoy more judicial independence, have a national pedigree, speak on the entire nation's behalf, and are accountable, via impeachment, to the nation as a whole rather than to any one state. (265) By cutting off access to a federal forum, (266) a domestic relations abstention doctrine would virtually ensure that deprivations of such rights and interests occur more frequently. The only instances in which this concern would not arise are cases in which federal and state courts would reach identical outcomes on federal questions. In such cases, the exception serves little purpose anyway; it cannot be justified on the grounds that it relies on state courts' unique expertise or preserves states' autonomy to develop their family law in ways that federal courts would not.
The constitutionality of an abstention-doctrine formulation of the domestic-relations exception thus depends on whether the doctrine preserves a role for federal courts as the final expositors of the meaning of federal law. At a minimum, such a doctrine could not divest the Supreme Court of the power to review federal questions; as explained earlier, Article III requires that federal courts have the last word on questions of federal law subject to Supreme Court review. Merely allowing losing parties in state courts to seek a writ of certiorari would also not suffice, because grants of certiorari are rare, and denials do not reflect judgments on the merits. (267) Thus, federal-court review would be unavailable in the vast majority of domestic relations federal question cases.
A constitutionally adequate domestic relations abstention doctrine could take one of at least three forms. First, lower federal courts could abstain entirely from hearing federal questions involving domestic relations if the Supreme Court exercised mandatory review over them. Not only would this approach likely require amending the Supreme Court Case Selections Act of 1988, which eliminated appeals as of right from state courts to the U.S. Supreme Court, (268) but it would also be very unwise. The purpose of the 1988 Act, as well as the earlier Judiciary Act of 1925, (269) was to give the Court greater discretion and control over its docket. By 1925, the Court's docket had become "overwhelmed" by congestion that "threatened the Court's ability effectively to carry out its functions." (270) By 1988, the docket had once again reached the point where "the burdens imposed on the Justices [had] become too great for the country's good." (271) Giving every litigant in a domestic relations federal question case a right of appeal to the Supreme Court would deluge its docket with cases that are unworthy of its attention. Time constraints would inevitably require the Court to resolve most of these cases through summary dispositions, (272) with little to no genuine deliberative consideration.
Second, lower federal courts could allow state courts to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over all domestic-relations cases in the first instance, but take appeals from them once state proceedings have concluded. This approach would also require statutory change, as Congress has not given federal or appellate courts jurisdiction to hear appeals from state-court decisions. (273) However, it is consistent with existing abstention principles that prevent federal courts from adjudicating specific types of cases only until certain state-court proceedings have concluded, not beforehand. (274)
Finally, a domestic relations abstention doctrine could relegate federal courts to an even narrower role, adjudicating federal questions involving domestic-relations issues only on certification from state courts. On litigants' motion, state courts could certify federal questions for federal courts to resolve before entering judgment or while state appeals are still pending. Under this approach, federal review would be unavailable once the state court has entered judgment and no state-court appeals are pending. A state-court litigant's failure to seek certification of a federal question to a federal court might be deemed a waiver of her or his right to federal-court review. Limiting federal judicial review of federal questions involving domestic relations to the posture of resolving certified questions may not be wise, but it would probably satisfy the bare threshold for constitutionality. So long as an abstention-doctrine formulation of the domestic-relations exception preserved a meaningful role for federal courts to decide federal questions, it would probably pass constitutional muster.
B. The Statutory Argument: Under Ankenbrandt, the Federal Jurisdictional Statutes Are Best Read as Not Creating a Domestic-Relations Exception to Federal-Question Jurisdiction
The modern canonical rationale for the domestic-relations exception's provenance, articulated in Ankenbrandt v. Richards, cannot justify applying the exception to federal questions. Ankenbrandt held that regardless of whether the exception inhered in the early jurisdictional statutes, federal courts widely recognized its existence by 1948, when Congress revised them. (275) The Court explained that Congress, believing that the exception already obtained and intending no change in the status quo, implicitly codified it in the revised statutes. (276)
But even if one accepts Ankenbrandt's account as accurate, sound principles of statutory interpretation--indeed, the same principles that the Supreme Court invoked in Ankenbrandt--suggest that Congress has eliminated any statutory domestic-relations exception it might have created with respect to federal questions. To see why, one must look to subsequent legislative history; since amending the jurisdictional statutes in 1948, Congress has continued to revise them, presumably with the knowledge that federal courts regularly hear federal questions involving domestic-relations matters. (277) As a matter of statutory interpretation, federal courts presume that Congress is aware of how courts interpret its statutes, and that congressional silence in the face of judicial constructions constitutes ratification, at least insofar as Congress later amends the statute in question. (278) If congressional awareness of a particular federal court practice, coupled with a tacit affirmation of the status quo, can constitute acquiescence in that practice even as Congress formally remains silent on the matter, surely it can suffice to repeal the domestic-relations exception just as well as create it.
According to a leading treatise on statutory interpretation, "Where a statute has received a contemporaneous and practical interpretation, and is then reenacted as interpreted, the interpretation carries great weight and courts presume it is correct." (279) The treatise also says that "[p]rior judicial constructions have special force, and are prima facie evidence of legislative intent." (280) Two examples are illustrative. In 1922, the Court held that the Sherman Antitrust Act does not apply to Major League Baseball. (281) Fifty years later, it reaffirmed the baseball exemption on the grounds that "Congress, by its positive inaction ... far beyond mere inference and implication, has clearly evinced a desire not to disapprove [it] legislatively." (282) When the FDA sought to regulate tobacco products after long disclaiming authority to do so, the Court held that "Congress' tobacco-specific statutes have effectively ratified the FDA's long-held position that it lacks jurisdiction under the FDCA to regulate tobacco products." (283) Though "[a]t the time a statute is enacted, it may have a range of plausible meanings," the Court asserted that "subsequent acts can shape or focus those meanings" over time. (284)
If in 1948 the federal-question statute contained an implicit domestic-relations exception to federal-question jurisdiction, Congress has subsequently eliminated it. For decades, federal courts have regularly heard federal-question cases raised in core domestic-relations contexts, such as divorce, (285) visitation rights, (286) paternity, (287) legitimacy, (288) child custody, (289) alimony, (290) adoption, (291) and marriage. (292) Collectively, this enormous body of case law includes both cases that originated in state courts before making their way to the U.S. Supreme Court (293) and cases that were initially filed in federal court. (294) The federal courts that presided over these important cases all seemingly took for granted that the domestic-relations exception did not apply.
As Congress revised the jurisdictional statutes over time, it surely knew that federal courts regularly heard federal questions involving domestic relations, as this case law spans some of the most consequential constitutional decisions ever. These decisions include seminal substantive due process cases. Boddie v. Connecticut held that states cannot condition an indigent person's right to obtain a divorce upon the payment of a fee. (295) Zablocki v. Redhail held that states cannot prohibit noncustodial parents who are in arrears on child support from marrying. (296) Michael H. v. Gerald D. found that the relationship between a natural father and his child "born into a woman's existing marriage with another man" (297) is not "a protected family unit ... [or otherwise] accorded special protection." (298) Troxel v. Granville said that a state court's broad application of a nonparental visitation statute infringed on the basic right of parents to make child-rearing decisions. (299)
These cases also include some of the most important equal-protection cases in history. Trimble v. Gordon struck down an intestate succession law that discriminated against illegitimate children. (300) Orr v. Orr invalidated alimony statutes that imposed duties on husbands but not on wives. (301) Palmore v. Sidoti nullified a child-custody award to a father made on the grounds that the mother's choice to enter a relationship with a black man would cause the child to suffer social stigma; (302) noting that "[p]rivate biases may be outside the reach of the law," the Court nonetheless held "the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." (303)
To be sure, the fact that the Court has decided these cases is not alone sufficient to prove that the domestic-relations exception does not apply to federal-question cases. The fact that a Supreme Court case suffers from a jurisdictional defect does not mean that it is not good law once decided. However, Congress has never indicated that it believes these cases to be jurisdictionally defective. Under Ankenbrandt's own reasoning, therefore, we can presume that Congress accepted and implicitly ratified the jurisdictional assumption undergirding these decisions--that federal courts may adjudicate federal questions raising domestic-relations issues.
The implied-ratification principle is based on a belief that "a legislature is familiar with a contemporaneous interpretation ... and therefore impliedly adopts the interpretation upon reenactment." (304) Congress amended the federal question jurisdiction statute three times after 1948, most recently in 1980. (305) During this period, federal courts interpreted that statute to confer jurisdiction over federal questions raising domestic-relations issues. Congress knew of this construction, but never expressed disapproval by doing what one would expect it to do if it felt that federal courts were exceeding their jurisdictional boundaries: make the exception statutorily explicit. Rather, it continued to amend the federal question jurisdiction statute periodically. Based on Ankenbrandt's reasoning, then, we can presume that Congress believed that the proper scope of federal jurisdiction encompassed federal questions involving domestic-relations matters.
None of this is to suggest that "congressional inaction" regarding the exception "indicates specific congressional intent." (306) Congress's periodic amendments to the federal-question statute were affirmative legislative actions, enacted via bicameralism and presentment. (307) Nor is it relevant that Congress may not have realized it was eliminating the exception. Congress, observing that federal courts regularly adjudicated federal questions involving domestic relations, may have concluded that the exception did not presently reach federal questions in the first place. In eliminating the domestic-relations exception to federal-question jurisdiction, Congress may have thought it was simply affirming the status quo, rather than effecting any change in law. Indeed, under Ankenbrandt's logic, this is just what happened in 1948, when Congress first created the exception even though it believed itself to be merely preserving a preexisting domestic-relations exception. (308)
Some courts treat "Congress' failure explicitly to reject the [exception] as congressional acquiescence in the domestic relations exception." (309) For example, the Second Circuit concluded that "[m]ore than a century has elapsed since the Barber dictum without any intimation of Congressional dissatisfaction. It is beyond the realm of reasonable belief that, in these days of congested dockets, Congress would wish the federal courts to seek to regain territory...," (310) However, according to Ankenbrandt, Congress created the exception only by implication. (311) Under that reasoning, Congress may repeal the exception implicitly as well.
Under Ankenbrandt's logic, Congress periodically amended the federal question jurisdiction statute since 1948 knowing that federal courts regularly adjudicated federal questions raising domestic-relations issues, yet never manifesting any disapproval. The reasonable conclusion to draw from this is that as Congress revised the statute, it implicitly acquiesced in this practice.
C. The Federalism-Based Argument: Applying the Exception to Federal Questions Undermines Federalism Values
Finally, permitting federal courts to hear federal-question cases that involve domestic relations better serves the values of federalism and state-federal court parity than giving state courts exclusive jurisdiction over such cases. At its core, the domestic-relations exception is all about federalism; it advances a claim regarding the deference due to state courts in an area that is at the core of their constitutional powers. If "the Constitution of the United States confers no power whatever upon the government of the United States to regulate marriage in the States, or its dissolution," (312) then perhaps applying the exception to federal questions prevents the federalization of power over a subject that the Constitution exclusively commits to the states while simultaneously promoting respect for the role of the state courts as faithful guarantors of constitutional rights, just like their federal counterparts.
There are several objections to these parity and federalism-based defenses of the domestic-relations exception. Consider four arguments advanced in the exception's favor (313): (1) "the [superior] competence and expertise of state courts in settling family disputes," (2) "the strong interests of the state in domestic relations matters," (3) "the risk of inconsistent federal and state court rulings in cases of continuing state court jurisdiction," and (4) "congested federal dockets." These rationales may make sense in the diversity context, but have little force in genuine federal-question cases that merely happen to "occur in a domestic setting." (314) State courts have neither special competence to decide matters of federal law nor special interest in the resolution of federal questions. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court enhances (rather than undermines) judicial uniformity when it settles contested federal questions by creating legal rules and standards for the entire nation. Docket congestion, always a problem for federal courts, is a poor excuse for stripping federal jurisdiction over cases raising significant problems of federal law. (315) Overall, "the prudential concerns underlying" the domestic-relations exception have little relevance in the federal-question context and "are completely absent" in constitutional cases, at least insofar as the court need not "exercise jurisdiction over or resolve any of those state law matters within the scope of the domestic relations exception." (316)
One could go so far as to call parity "a dangerous myth," as Burt Neuborne does, which "provides a pretext for funneling federal constitutional decisionmaking into state courts precisely because they are less likely to be receptive to vigorous enforcement of federal constitutional doctrine." (317) The parity rationale, he suggests, would diminish "the capacity of individuals to mount successful challenges to [government] decisions." (318)
The parity rationale also places no coherent limit on Congress's power to curtail federal jurisdiction. According to Hart, Jr., Congress may abstain from creating inferior federal courts entirely (319) and limit the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction through the Exceptions and Regulations Clause. (320) Apparently "troubled by the breadth of this power," (321) he suggests a hopelessly indeterminate limiting principle: "the exceptions must not be such as will destroy the essential role of the Supreme Court in the constitutional plan." (322) But what is the minimum that this "essential" role encompasses?
A bigger problem with the parity rationale is that it is rooted in an abstract, free-floating notion of federalism at odds with the specifics found in the Constitution's actual text. It "sidestep[s] the requirement that the judicial power shall be vested in federal courts and shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States." (323) Parity might be an attractive feature for a constitutional system to have, but the parity rationale ignores important textual features of the Constitution that we actually do have.
Most fundamentally, if parity is simply the recognition that "state and federal courts are functionally interchangeable forums likely to provide equivalent protection for federal constitutional rights," (324) then it is not in tension with allowing federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over all federal questions. While it justifies allowing state courts to hear federal questions, it does not justify allowing them to be the only courts that may do so. Allowing both federal and state courts to hear federal questions better respects their equal "constitutional obligation to safeguard personal liberties and to uphold federal law" (325) than giving state courts exclusive jurisdiction over such cases, which suggests state court superiority and federal court inferiority with respect to federal questions.
There is also good reason to believe that "the sovereign interests of the States and the Federal Government" may not be "coequal." (326) Our Constitution creates "a federal republic, conceived on the principle of a supreme federal power and constituted first and foremost of citizens, not of sovereign States." (327) The Supremacy Clause, (328) without which James Madison felt the Constitution "would have been evidently and radically defective," (329) makes this clear. Even if federal and state governments are equal in the deference due to them, the domestic-relations exception, if understood to apply to federal questions, distorts the proper character of federalism in our constitutional system, one "adopted by the Framers of the Constitution and ratified by the original States." (330) The exception, so understood, transforms this system from a device that "secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power" (331) into a crude cudgel of states' rights. Federalism "has no inherent normative value: [i]t does not ... blindly protect the interests of States from any incursion by the federal courts." (332) It is not about state primacy over the federal government; rather, it is about respecting the proper roles of both. For this reason, "it cannot lightly be assumed that the interests of federalism are fostered by a rule that impedes federal review of federal constitutional claims." (333)
In the post-Obergefell world, federal courts will continue confronting cases in which they must decide whether or not to apply the domestic-relations exception to federal questions. If anything, now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, the incidence of such situations is likely only to increase. Recently, the Supreme Court reversed an order of the Alabama Supreme Court denying a lesbian woman's right to adopt three children she had raised with her former partner, a right that a Georgia court had granted the woman before the couple split up; the Court held that the Alabama court's order violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause. (334) As more gay and lesbian persons litigate claims under the U.S. Constitution or federal statutes that implicate divorce, child-custody arrangements, alimony awards, child support, and so on, federal courts will be presented with more opportunities to decide whether or not the exception applies to federal-question jurisdiction. These cases raise important questions of constitutional and federal statutory law, yet federal courts applying the domestic-relations exception to federal questions would refuse to adjudicate them. (335)
This Note advances a broad view of federal jurisdiction. It asserts that, under Article III, federal courts--and especially the Supreme Court-must have jurisdiction over all federal-question cases that arise in state or federal courts, including those arising in domestic-relations contexts. As a matter of ordinary statutory construction and constitutional interpretation, the domestic-relations exception does not and cannot bar federal courts from hearing cases that raise federal questions. When federal courts are called upon to decide important problems of federal law, questions as profound as whether the Constitution tolerates state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, they should not shy away from their duty "to say what the law is." (336)
(1.) 13E Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure: Jurisdiction and Related Matters [section] 3609 (3d ed. 1998).
(2.) Barber v. Barber ex rel. Cronkhite, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 584 (1858).
(3.) In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 593-94 (1890).
(4.) 13E WRIGHT ET AL., supra note 1, [section] 3609; see also infra Section I.B.
(5.) 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992). The Court would later emphasize that Ankenbrandt took a narrow view of the exception: "While recognizing the 'special proficiency developed by state tribunals ... in handling issues that arise in the granting of [divorce, alimony, and child custody] decrees,' we viewed federal courts as equally equipped to deal with complaints alleging the commission of torts." Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 308 (2006) (citation omitted).
(6.) 542 U.S. 1 (2004), abrogated by Lexmark Int'l v. Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1377, 1387-88 (2014).
(7.) Meredith Johnson Harbach, Is the Family a Federal Question?, 66 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 131, 143 (2009).
(8.) Neirdow, 542 U.S. at 13 (emphasis added).
(9.) See infra notes 285-303 and accompanying text.
(10.) See Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, 61 F. Supp. 3d 862, 867-68 (D.S.D. 2015); Condon v. Haley, 21 F. Supp. 3d 572, 584 (D.S.C. 2014); Marie v. Moser, 65 F. Supp. 3d 1175, 1195 (D. Kan. 2014); McGee v. Cole, 993 F. Supp. 2d 639, 646 (S.D. W. Va. 2014). Appeals from these decisions did not generate further holdings or dicta on the subject.
(11.) Latta v. Otter, 779 F.3d 902, 913 (9th Cir. 2015) (O'Scannlain, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc). The dissenting judges observed that "[f]ederal judges have used various doctrinal mechanisms to refrain from intruding into the uncharted waters of state domestic relations law," including the domestic-relations exception. Id. at 912-13. "Here," the dissenters said, "our court need not decide which of these many potential sources of restraint we should draw from." Id. at 913. This makes clear that they viewed the exception as applicable to the case. The majority opinion did not hold that the exception did not apply--it simply did not address the issue.
(12.) See Brief Amicus Curiae of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, Inc., in Support of Neither Party at 9-11, DeBoer v. Snyder, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) (No. 14-571), 2014 WL 6998392, at *9-11 [hereinafter Eagle Forum Brief]; Brief of Amici Curiae Mae Kuykendall, David Upham & Michael Worley in Support of Neither Party and Urging Affirmance on Question 1 at 2-3, Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) (No. 14-556), 2015 WL 1004711, at *2-3 [hereinafter Kuykendall et al. Brief], Similarly, state amici repeatedly invoked the domestic-relations exception to argue that federal courts should not exercise jurisdiction over the challenge to California's Proposition 8. See Brief Addressing the Merits of the States of Indiana, Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia & Wisconsin as Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioners at 57, Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct. 2652 (2013) (No. 12-144), 2013 WL 416198, at *5-7 [hereinafter Brief of States II]; Brief of States of Indiana, Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah & Wyoming as Amici Curiae in Support of Defendants-Intervenors-Appellants Dennis Hollingsworth et al. and in Support of Reversal at 3-6, Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012) (No. 10-16696), 2010 WL 4075743 [hereinafter Brief of States I]. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that it lacked jurisdiction on standing grounds, without reaching the domestic-relations question. See Hollingsworth, 133 S. Ct. at 2668.
(13.) Emergency Application To Stay United States District Court Order, Wilson v. Condon, 135 S. Ct. 702 (2014) (No. 14A533) [hereinafter Emergency Application]; see also Condon v. Haley, 21 F. Supp. 3d 572 (D.S.C. 2014).
(14.) See Emergency Application, supra note 13, at 6-18.
(15.) Wilson v. Condon, 135 S. Ct. 702 (2014). A denial of an application to stay is not a decision on the merits of the underlying legal claim.
(16.) Id. (Scalia & Thomas, JJ., dissenting).
(17.) 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).
(18.) A federal judge sitting in a circuit that has squarely held that the exception does apply to federal questions would be quite justified in concluding that Obergefell did not speak to the issue. The Supreme Court has admonished lower courts not to read its opinions like tea leaves and divine unspoken doctrinal developments and has emphasized that summary dispositions continue to be "controlling precedent, unless and until re-examined by [the] Court [itself]." Tully v. Griffin, Inc., 429 U.S. 68, 74 (1976); see also Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332, 345-46 (1975) (stating that "lower courts are bound by summary decisions by this Court" until the Court says otherwise); Ohio ex rel. Eaton v. Price, 360 U.S. 246, 247 (1959) ("Votes to affirm summarily, and to dismiss for want of a substantial federal question, it hardly needs comment, are votes on the merits of a case...."). The Court has held that lower courts must treat summary dispositions as merits decisions to "prevent [them] from coming to opposite conclusions on the precise issues presented and necessarily decided by those actions." Mandel v. Bradley, 432 U.S. 173, 176 (1977). Lower courts are bound by the Court's precedents even when they are in tension with newer ones, "leaving to [the Supreme] Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions." Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson/Am. Express, Inc., 490 U.S. 477, 484 (1989) ("If a precedent of this Court has direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other line of decisions, the Court of Appeals should follow the case which directly controls...."); see also Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 237 (1997) ("We do not acknowledge, and we do not hold, that other courts should conclude our more recent cases have, by implication, overruled an earlier precedent.").
For this reason, it is likely that at least some lower federal courts continue to apply the domestic-relations exception to federal questions. Consider that in DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014), the Sixth Circuit refused to strike down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage because the Supreme Court had rejected an indistinguishable challenge in a summary disposition that it issued in 1972 and never overruled. See Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972). In defending its decision, the Sixth Circuit argued that giving appellate courts too free a hand to infer that the Supreme Court has stealthily overruled one of its summary dispositions "returns us to a world in which the lower courts may anticipatorily overrule all manner of Supreme Court decisions based on counting-to-five predictions, perceived trajectories in the caselaw, or, worst of all, new appointments to the Court." DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 401. For similar reasons, lower federal judges may be reluctant to conclude that Obergefell held the domestic-relations exception inapplicable to federal questions.
(19.) See, e.g., Ted Cruz, Constitutional Remedies to a Lawless Supreme Court, Nat'l Rev. (June 26, 2015, 5:39 PM), http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420409/ted-cruz-supreme-court -constitutional-amendment [http://perma.cc/LK9K-M9HC] (describing Obergefell as "judicial activism" and "lawless"); Press Release, Ken Paxton, Att'y Gen., Tex., Attorney General Paxton: Religious Liberties of Texas Public Officials Remain Constitutionally Protected After Obergefell v. Hodges (June 28, 2015), http://www.texasattorneygeneral .gov/static/5144.html [http://perma.cc/R47V-N8GB] (describing Obergefell as a "lawless ruling").
(20.) See, e.g., Michael Ashley Stein, The Domestic Relations Exception to Federal Jurisdiction: Rethinking an Unsettled Federal Courts Doctrine, 36 B.C. L. Rev. 669, 670 (1995) (noting the existence of widespread disagreement over "the validity and scope of a domestic relations exception to either diversity or federal question jurisdiction").
(21.) See, e.g., Emily J. Sack, The Domestic Relations Exception, Domestic Violence, and Equal Access to Federal Courts, 84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1441, 1466-73 (2006); Barbara Freedman Wand, A Call for the Repudiation of the Domestic Relations Exception to Federal Jurisdiction, 30 Vill. L. Rev. 307, 401 (1985); Mark Stephen Poker, Comment, A Proposal for the Abolition of the Domestic Relations Exception, 71 MARQ. L. Rev. 141, 162-64 (1987).
(22.) See, e.g., Harbach, supra note 7, at 139; Sharon Elizabeth Rush, Domestic Relations Law: Federal Jurisdiction and State Sovereignty in Perspective, 60 NOTRE Dame L. Rev. 1 (1984); Sack, supra note 21, at 1490; Stein, supra note 20; Wand, supra note 21; Bonnie Moore, Comment, Federal Jurisdiction and the Domestic Relations Exception: A Search for Parameters, 31 UCLA L. Rev. 843 (1984); Poker, supra note 21, at 165; Rebecca E. Swenson, Note, Application of the Federal Abstention Doctrines to the Domestic Relations Exception to Federal Diversity Jurisdiction, 1983 Duke L.J. 1095.
(23.) See, e.g., Sack, supra note 21, at 1480 ("[T]he historical rationale ... is open to serious question and [prior to Ankenbrandt] had not consistently been the basis for the Court's previous holdings in the area."); Poker, supra note 21, at 164 ("The domestic relations exception has dubious historical origins.").
(24.) See, e.g., Poker, supra note 21, at 159-62 (criticizing federalism, separation-of-powers, statutory, and policy arguments in favor of the exception).
(25.) Steven G. Calabresi & Genna Sinel, The Gay Marriage Cases and Federal Jurisdiction: On Why the Domestic Relations Exception to Federal Jurisdiction Is Archaic and Should Be Overruled, 70 U. Miami L. Rev. (forthcoming 2016).
(26.) Id. (manuscript at 5-6).
(27.) Id. (manuscript at 38-43). Calabresi and Sinel argue that "Congress and the Supreme Court could and should abolish the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction," but believe that until Congress does so, the exception applies to federal questions. Id. (manuscript at 55) (emphasis added).
It is worth noting that while Calabresi and Sinel's work is the only comprehensive scholarly treatment of the domestic-relations exception in the context of same-sex marriage, others have addressed the intersection of these two issues. See, e.g., William C. Duncan, Avoidance Strategy: Same-Sex Marriage Litigation and the Federal Courts, 29 Campbell L. Rev. 29, 35 (2006); Harbach, supra note 7, at 158; Nathan M. Brandenburg, Note, Preachers, Politicians, and Same-Sex Couples: Challenging Same-Sex Civil Unions and Implications on Interstate Recognition, 91 Iowa L. Rev. 319, 345 (2005); Michael McConnell, The Constitution and Same-Sex Marriage, Wall St. J. (Mar. 21, 2013), http://www .wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324281004578354300151597848 [http://perma.cc/9KLN -NUMV]; sources cited infra note 101.
(28.) Article III provides:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;-to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-between a State and Citizens of another state,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
U.S. CONST. art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1.
(29.) 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331 (2012) ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.").
(30.) Barber v. Barber ex rel. Cronkhite, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 583-84 (1858).
(31.) Id. at 585.
(32.) Id. at 586.
(33.) Id. at 584.
(35.) Id. at 605 (Daniel, J., dissenting) ("[A]s the jurisdiction of the chancery in England does not extend to or embrace the subjects of divorce and alimony, and as the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in chancery is bounded by that of the chancery in England, all power or cognizance with respect to those subjects by the courts of the United States in chancery is equally excluded.").
(36.) Compare id. at 599-600 (majority opinion) (holding that "the court below has not committed error in sustaining its jurisdiction over this cause, nor in the decree which it has made"), with id. at 600 (Daniel, J., dissenting) (disagreeing with the majority on whether federal courts had power "to adjudicate upon a controversy and between parties such as are presented by the record before us").
(37.) Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 699 (1992) ("Because the Barber Court did not disagree with this reason for accepting the jurisdictional limitation over the issuance of divorce and alimony decrees, it may be inferred fairly that the jurisdictional limitation recognized by the Court rested on this statutory basis and that the disagreement between the Court and the dissenters thus centered only on the extent of the limitation.").
(38.) Poker, supra note 21, at 145.
(39.) 136 U.S. 586 (1890).
(40.) Id. at 588-89.
(42.) Id. at 589.
(43.) Id. at 594 ("As to the right to the control and possession of this child, as it is contested by its father and its grandfather, it is one in regard to which neither the Congress of the United States nor any authority of the United States has any special jurisdiction.").
(44.) Id. at 593-94.
(45.) Id. at 591.
(46.) Poker, supra note 21, at 145 ("[T]he Burrus opinion did not provide a rationale for the dictum.").
(47.) 164 U.S. 452 (1896).
(48.) Id. at 453.
(49.) Id. at 454.
(50.) Though the Court did not overtly speak of the amount-in-controversy requirement, it followed this point with a citation to Barry v. Mercein, 46 U.S. (5 How.) 103 (1847). Perrine, 164 U.S. at 454. In Barry, the Court held that pursuant to section 22 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, it lacked jurisdiction in "cases to which no test of money value can be applied." Barry, 46 U.S. at 120; see Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, [section] 22, 1 Stat. 73, 84 ("[F]inal decrees and judgments in civil actions in a district court, where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of fifty dollars, exclusive of costs, may be reexamined, and reversed or affirmed in a circuit court...."). Perrine also invoked "the reasons given, and ... the authorities cited in" another case, Chapman v. United States, 164 U.S. 436 (1896). Perrine, 164 U.S. at 454. In Chapman, the Court dismissed a criminal appeal on the grounds that the five thousand dollar amount-in-controversy requirement of the statute establishing the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia had not been satisfied. 164 U.S. at 446-47, 452; see Act of Feb. 9, 1893, ch. 74, [section] 8, 27 Stat. 434, 436.
Perrine came to the Supreme Court by federal-question jurisdiction, as the writ had been sought from a District of Columbia trial court. Until 1980, 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331, the federal-question jurisdiction statute, contained the same ten thousand dollar amount-in-controversy requirement as 28 U.S.C. [section] 1332, the diversity-jurisdiction statute. See Federal Question Jurisdictional Amendments Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96-486, [section] 2(a), 94 Stat. 2369, 2369 (codified at 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331 (2012)). As such, plaintiffs who wished to litigate federal questions involving claims of less than ten thousand dollars had to rely on more specific jurisdictional provisions that contained no amount-in-controversy requirements. They often turned to 28 U.S.C. [section] 1337, which gives district courts "original jurisdiction of any civil action or proceeding arising under any Act of Congress regulating commerce or protecting trade and commerce against restraints and monopolies" and which imposes no amount-in-controversy requirement in most scenarios. 28 U.S.C. [section] 1337(a). "Congress' elimination of [section] 1331's amount in controversy requirement rendered the grant of jurisdiction in [section] 1337 superfluous." ErieNet, Inc. v. Velocity Net, Inc., 156 F.3d 513, 520 (3d Cir. 1998) ("Accordingly, any action that could be brought in federal court under [section] 1337 could also be brought under [section] 1331.").
(51.) 175 U.S. 162, 167 (1899).
(52.) Id. at 167-68.
(53.) Id. at 168.
(54.) Id. at 167-68 ("In the Territories of the United States, Congress has the entire dominion and sovereignty, national and local, Federal and state, and has full legislative power over all subjects upon which the legislature of a State might legislate within the State.... By the territorial statutes of Arizona, the original jurisdiction of suits for divorce is vested in the district courts of the Territory....").
(55.) 201 U.S. 303, 308 (1906).
(56.) Id. at 307.
(58.) Id. at 308.
(59.) Barber v. Barber ex rel. Cronkhite, 62 (21 How.) U.S. 582, 604 (1858) (Daniel, J., dissenting).
(60.) Poker, supra note 21, at 145 n.30.
(61.) See 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331 (2012).
(62.) See 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries *442 ("[B]y marriage, the husband and wife become one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated or consolidated into that of the husband, under whose wing and protection she performs everything."); 2 JAMES Kent, Commentaries on American Law 129 (New York, O. Halsted 2d ed. 1832) ("The legal effects of marriage are generally deducible from the principle of the common law, by which the husband and wife are regarded as one person, and her legal existence and authority in a degree lost and suspended during the existence of the matrimonial union.").
(63.) See, e.g., Married Women's Property Act, ch. 200, [section] 3, 1848 N.Y. Laws 307, 308 ("It shall be lawful for any married female to receive, by gift, grant devise or bequest, from any person other than her husband and hold to her sole and separate use, as if she were a single female, real and personal property, and the rents, issues and profits thereof, and the same shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts.").
(64.) 280 U.S. 379 (1930).
(65.) See id. at 383-84.
(66.) Id. at 382.
(67.) U.S. CONST. art. III, [section] 2, cl. 2.
(68.) Popovici, 280 U.S. at 382.
(69.) Id. at 383.
(71.) Id. at 384.
(72.) 504 U.S. 689 (1992).
(73.) Id. at 699.
(74.) Id. at 699-700.
(75.) Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, [section] 11, 1 Stat. 73, 78.
(76.) Judicial Code and Judiciary Act, ch. 646, [section] 1332(a), 62 Stat. 869, 930 (1948) (codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. [section] 1332(a) (2012)); see also Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 698 ("The defining phrase, 'all suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity,' remained a key element of statutory provisions demarcating the terms of diversity jurisdiction until 1948, when Congress amended the diversity jurisdiction provision to eliminate this phrase and replace in its stead the term 'all civil actions.'").
(77.) 504 U.S. at 700 (quoting Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Prods. Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 227 n.8 (1957)); see also Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 554 (1989) (presuming no intent to change the status quo in the 1948 recodification of the Judicial Code), superseded by statute, Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-650, 104 Stat. 5089 (codified at 28 U.S.C. [section] 1367), as recognized in Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 558 (2005); Anderson v. Pac. Coast S.S. Co., 225 U.S. 187, 199 (1912) ("[I]t will not be inferred that Congress, in revising and consolidating the laws, intended to change their effect, unless such intention is clearly expressed.").
(78.) Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 704.
(79.) Harbach, supra note 7, at 154.
(80.) 542 U.S. 1 (2004).
(81.) Id. at 17.
(82.) Act of June 14, 1954, Pub. L. No. 83-396, [section] 7, 68 Stat. 249, 249 (codified as amended at 4 U.S.C. [section] 4 (2012)).
(83.) U.S. CONST. amend. I.
(84.) Newdow, 542 U.S. at 8.
(85.) Id. at 10.
(86.) Id. at 13 n.5.
(87.) Id. at 17.
(88.) Id. at 12.
(89.) Id. (quoting In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 593-94 (1890)).
(90.) Id. at 13 (citations omitted).
(91.) Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992).
(92.) 542 U.S. at 13.
(93.) 547 U.S. 293(2006).
(94.) Id. at 299 ("In Ankenbrandt ... this Court reined in the 'domestic relations exception.'" (citation omitted)).
(95.) 13A WRIGHT ET AL., supra note 1, [section] 3531.9.1.
(96.) The Supreme Court, 2003 Term--Leading Cases, 118 Harv. L. Rev. 248, 432 (2004).
(97.) Id. at 426.
(98.) Erwin Chemerinsky, Federal Jurisdiction 89 (5th ed. 2007).
(100.) Harbach, supra note 7, at 157-58.
(101.) Id. at 158; see also Dale Carpenter, Four Arguments Against a Marriage Amendment That Even an Opponent of Gay Marriage Should Accept, 2 U. St. Thomas L.J. 71, 84 n.58 (2004) (describing Newdow's rhetoric as "tailor-made for a future case involving a gay marriage claim"); Mary Anne Case, Marriage Licenses, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 1758, 1791 (2005) (noting that Newdow was decided at a time when Congress was weighing whether to prohibit same-sex marriage via constitutional amendment or rescind federal jurisdiction over the issue, and stating that "[t]here is every indication that the current Supreme Court [is reluctant] to decide the constitutional question of who may marry"); Cass R. Sunstein, The Right To Marry, 26 Cardozo L. Rev. 2081, 2114 (2005) (describing Newdow as "fresh support" for the idea that the Court should not adjudicate the same-sex marriage issue at the present moment).
(102.) Linda J. Silberman et al., Civil Procedure: Theory and Practice 328 (2d ed. 2006); see also Lori A. Catalano, Comment, Totalitarianism in Public Schools: Enforcing a Religious and Political Orthodoxy, 34 Cap. U. L. Rev. 601, 635 (2006) ("The majority in [Newdow] overextended this exception to include all cases involving 'delicate issues of domestic relations.'" (quoting Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 13 (2004))).
(103.) See infra Section III.B.
(104.) See, e.g., Mitchell-Angel v. Cronin, No. 95-7937, 1996 WL 107300, at *2 (2d Cir. Mar. 8, 1996) ("[F]ederal courts have discretion to abstain from exercising jurisdiction over" domestic-relations issues "as long as full and fair adjudication is available in state courts."); Am. Airlines v. Block, 905 F.2d 12, 14 (2d Cir. 1990) (finding that federal courts may abstain from hearing federal-question claims that are '"on the verge' of being matrimonial ... so long as there is no obstacle to their full and fair determination in state courts"); Hemon v. Office of Pub. Guardian, 878 F.2d 13, 14 (1st Cir. 1989) ("[F]ederal habeas corpus jurisdiction does not extend to state court disputes over child custody."); Coats v. Woods, 819 F.2d 236, 237 (9th Cir. 1987) ("Given the state courts' strong interest in domestic relations, we do not consider that the district court abused its discretion when it invoked the doctrine of abstention."); Lynk v. LaPorte Superior Court No. 2, 789 F.2d 554, 563 (7th Cir. 1986) ("The judge-made doctrine that prevents federal courts from adjudicating certain types of domestic relations case[s] under the diversity jurisdiction can be restated as a doctrine of abstention also applicable to cases brought in federal court under the federal-question jurisdiction."); Peterson v. Babbitt, 708 F.2d 465, 466 (9th Cir. 1983) (noting that "[t]he strong state interest in domestic relations matters" was one factor that led the court to conclude that "federal abstention in these cases [is] appropriate"); Csibi v. Fustos, 670 F.2d 134, 137 (9th Cir. 1982) (asserting that "[f]ederal courts may exercise their discretion to abstain from deciding" cases "where domestic relations problems are involved tangentially to other issues determinative of the case"); Tree Top v. Smith, 577 F.2d 519, 521 (9th Cir. 1978) ("[W]e would abstain from exercising federal jurisdiction unless we were presented with unique circumstances which overcame the long-standing policy of the federal courts to refrain from interfering in state domestic relations disputes."); Magaziner v. Montemuro, 468 F.2d 782, 787 (3d Cir. 1972) (finding that domestic-relations cases warranted application of the abstention doctrine); Lomtevas v. Cardozo, No. 05-CV-2779, 2006 WL 229908, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 31, 2006) (construing the exception as an abstention doctrine); Smith v. Pension Plan of Bethlehem Steel Corp., 715 F. Supp. 715, 718 (W.D. Pa. 1989) ("[W]e hold that the domestic relations exception is one of several
factors to be considered in determining whether to abstain from a federal question matter which implicates domestic relations issues."); see also Stein, supra note 20, at 670 ("Commentators, in turn, disagree not only about the merits of continuing to recognize such an exception, but also as to whether the exception is a jurisdictional or a jurisprudential bar to hearing cases.").
(105.) Harbach, supra note 7, at 141 ("Some lower federal courts applied the exception expansively to exclude a broad variety of domestic relations issues from federal review, while other lower courts construed the doctrine narrowly to bar only divorce, custody, and alimony decrees.").
(106.) 46 F.3d 1275 (2d Cir. 1995).
(107.) Id. at 1278.
(108.) Id. at 1284 ("This case ... is before this Court on federal question jurisdiction, not diversity. Therefore, the matrimonial exception does not apply.").
(109.) Mitchell-Angel, 1996 WL 107300, at *1.
(110.) Id. at *2 ("Mitchell argues that the district court erred in dismissing her amended complaint pursuant to the domestic-relations exception to federal jurisdiction. We disagree.... [T]his exception also has been applied to federal question jurisdiction.").
(112.) 468 F.2d 782 (3d Cir. 1972).
(113.) Id. at 783.
(115.) Id. at 787 (citing Albanese v. Richter, 161 F.2d 688 (3d Cir. 1947)).
(117.) 876 F.2d 308 (3d Cir. 1989).
(118.) See id. at 309-10.
(119.) Id. at 310.
(120.) Id. at 312-13.
(121.) Compare Williams v. Lambert, 46 F.jd 1275, 1283 (2d Cir. 1995) (stating that "the general policy that federal courts should abstain from deciding cases that involve matrimonial and domestic relations issues is not applicable here [in federal-question cases]"), and Hernstadt v. Hernstadt, 373 F.2d 316, 317-18 (2d Cir. 1967) ("When a pure question of constitutional law is presented, this Court has suggested that the District Court may assume jurisdiction even if the question arises out of a domestic relations dispute...."), with Mitchell-Angel v. Cronin, No. 95-7937, 1996 WL 107300, at *2 (2d Cir. Mar. 8, 1996) (indicating that the exception applies in federal-question cases). See also Ashmore v. Prus, 510 F. App'x 47, 49 (2d Cir. 2013) ("We expressly decline to address whether the domestic relations exception to federal subject matter jurisdiction applies to federal question actions."); Ashmore v. New York, No. 12-CV-3032QG), 2012 WL 2377403, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. June 25, 2012) (finding a constitutional claim "barred by the domestic relations exception to this court's jurisdiction"), affd on other grounds sub nom., Prus, 510 F. App'x 47; Puletti v. Patel, No. 05 CV 2293(SJ), 2006 WL 2010809, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. July 14, 2006) (applying the exception in a federal-question case); Chase v. Czajka, No. 04 Civ. 8228, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8743, at *19-23 (S.D.N.Y. May 12, 2005) (same); McArthur v. Bell, 788 F. Supp. 706, 708-09 (E.D.N.Y. 1992) (same).
(122.) Compare McLaughlin v. Pernsley, 876 F.2d 308, 312 (3d Cir. 1989) ("We recognize that domestic relations matters have traditionally been viewed as a limitation on the diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts.... But this action was not brought under the diversity statute."), and Flood v. Braaten, 727 F.2d 303, 308 (3d Cir. 1984) ("[T]he domestic relations exception does not apply to cases arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States."), with Magaziner v. Montemuro, 468 F.2d 782 (3d Cir. 1972) (declining to exercise jurisdiction over a federal civil rights claim). For district-court opinions within the Third Circuit, see Birla v. Birla, No. 07-1774 (MLC), 2007 WL 3227185, at *2 (D.N.J. Oct. 30, 2007), which applies the exception in a federal-question case; and Dixon v. Kuhn, No. 064224 (MLC), 2007 WL 128894, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan. 12, 2007), which also applies the exception.
(123.) Compare Catz v. Chalker, 142 F.3d 279, 291-92 (6th Cir. 1998) (holding that the exception applies to federal questions only in "core" domestic-relations cases), Agg v. Flanagan, 855 F.2d 336, 339 (6th Cir. 1988) ("The claim that the state's method of determining and enforcing child support is unconstitutional and contrary to federal law is not identical to a claim that a particular support order is too high. The domestic relations exception ... [does not apply to] the first."), Huff v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 675 F.2d 119, 122-23 (6th Cir. 1982) (stating that a federal court has jurisdiction to decide whether benefits that depended on domestic-relations issues existed under a federal statute), and Huynh Thi Anh v. Levi, 586 Fad 625, 627 (6th Cir. 1978) (declining to apply the exception to a habeas petition), with Firestone v. Cleveland Tr. Co., 654 F.2d 1212, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981) ("Even when brought under the guise of a federal question action, a suit whose substance is domestic relations generally will not be entertained in a federal court."). For a district-court case within the Sixth Circuit, see Smith v. Oakland County Circuit Court, 344 F. Supp. 2d 1030, 1064-66 (E.D. Mich. 2004), which applies the exception in a federal-question case.
(124.) Compare Jones v. Brennan, 465 F.3d 304, 307 (7th Cir. 2006) (suggesting that the exception should apply to federal questions), and Allen v. Allen, 48 F.3d 259, 261 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that "[t]he domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction prevents the district court from hearing" a constitutional claim that is "inextricably intertwined" with a challenge to an underlying custody decree), with Lynk v. LaPorte Superior Court No. 2, 789 F.2d 554, 558 (7th Cir. 1986) (exercising jurisdiction over a case involving family matters because it did not arise pursuant to diversity jurisdiction).
(125.) Compare Ruffalo ex rel. Ruffalo v. Civiletti, 702 F.2d 710, 718 (8th Cir. 1983) (implying that the exception is not a jurisdictional bar by declining to apply it in a federal-question suit because there was no "state forum in which the plaintiff may obtain relief'), and Overman v. United States, 563 F.2d 1287, 1292 (8th Cir. 1977) ("There is, and ought to be, a continuing federal policy to avoid handling domestic relations cases in federal court in the absence of important concerns of a constitutional dimension."), with Smith v. Huckabee, 154 F. App'x 552, 554-55 (8th Cir. 2005) (declining to hear a [section] 1983 case because it raised domestic relations issues), and Bergstrom v. Bergstrom, 623 F.2d 517, 520 (8th Cir. 1980) ("Where a constitutional issue arises out of a custody dispute, and the initial determination involves a reexamination of the custody arrangement, the proper course is to dismiss the case and remand to the state court."). Ruffalo purported not to decide whether the domestic-relations exception applies to federal questions because "[h]ere, the state court cannot grant effective relief." 702 F.2d at 718. It logically follows from this reasoning, however, that the exception cannot be a general limitation on federal-question jurisdiction. For district-court cases within the Eighth Circuit, see Whiteside v. Nebraska State Health & Human Services, No. 4:07CV3030, 2007 WL 2123754, at *1~2 (D-Neb. July 19, 2007), which applies the exception in a federal-question case; and Harden v. Harden, No. 8:07cv68, 2007 WL 700982, at *2 (D. Neb. Feb. 28, 2007), which also applies the exception.
(126.) Compare Atwood v. Fort Peck Tribal Court Assiniboine, 513 F.3d 943, 947 (9th Cir. 2008) ("[T]he domestic relations exception applies only to the diversity jurisdiction statute...."), with Tree Top v. Smith, 577 F.2d 519, 520 (9th Cir. 1978) (declining to exercise jurisdiction over a habeas petition). For district-court cases within the Ninth Circuit that apply the exception in a federal-question case, see Edland v. Edland, No. C08-5222RBL, 2008 WL 2001813, at *1 (W.D. Wash. May 7, 2008); Arroyo ex rel. Arroyo-Garcia v. County of Fresno, No. CV F 07-1443 AWI SMS, 2008 WL 540653, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2008); Andrews v. Jefferson County Colorado Department of Human Services, No. C07-02918 HRL, 2007 WL 3035447, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 16, 2007); Fisher v. California, No. 1:06-cv-00303-AWI-DLB-P, 2007 WL 1430091, at *1 (E.D. Cal. May 15, 2007); Banks v. Washington CPS, No. CV-06-0335-JLQ, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103043, at *2 (E.D. Wash. Jan. 11, 2007); Gates v. County of Lake, No. CIV. S-05-1374 DFL PAN PS, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32182, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 12, 2005); and Rousay v. Mieseler, No. CIV. S-05-1261 LKK PAN PS, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27431, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2005).
(127.) See, e.g., Johnson v. Rodrigues, 226 F.3d 1103, 1111-12 (10th Cir. 2000) (denying that the exception prevents federal courts from adjudicating constitutional questions since remaining state-law questions can be remanded to state courts).
(128.) See, e.g., Wideman v. Colorado, No. 06-CV-001423-WDM-CBS, 2007 WL 757639, at *7 (D. Colo. Mar. 8, 2007) (finding a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction over a constitutional claim pursuant to the domestic-relations exception); Fellows v. Kansas, No. 04-4131-JAR, 2005 WL 752129, at *4 (D. Kan. Mar. 31, 2005) (holding that the court "cannot decide" the plaintiff's federal-question claims due to the domestic-relations exception); Pettit v. New Mexico, 375 F. Supp. 2d 1140, 1151 (D.N.M. 2004) ("[T]he domestic relations exception precludes the Court from exerting jurisdiction over some, if not all, of Pettit's [federal-question] claims.").
(129.) 479 F.2d 1097 (6th Cir. 1973).
(130.) Id. at 1098.
(132.) 654 F.2d 1212, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981).
(133.) 142 F-3d 279 (6th Cir. 1998).
(134.) Id. at 281.
(135.) Id. at 283-84, 289-90.
(136.) Id. at 290.
(137.) Id. at 291 (emphasis added).
(138.) Id. at 291-92.
(139.) Id. at 292.
(140.) Id. at 291 (concluding "that the case is best described as" a noncore case).
(141.) 929 F.2d 20, 22 (1st Cir. 1991) (alteration in original) (citations omitted).
(142.) Id. at 23.
(143.) 878 F.2d 13, 15 (1st Cir. 1989).
(144.) See id. at 14-15.
(145.) Stein, supra note 20, at 679.
(146.) Sup. Ct. R. 10(a).
(147.) U.S. CONST. art. III, [section] 2 (emphasis added).
(148.) Eagle Forum Brief, supra note 12, at 4.
(149.) Calabresi & Sinel, supra note 25, (manuscript at 5).
(150.) Jones v. Brennan, 465 F.3d 304, 306 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Ohio ex rel. Popovici v. Agler, 280 U.S. 379, 384 (1930) (asserting that federal jurisdiction over "suits against consuls and vice-consuls" does not "include what formerly would have belonged to the ecclesiastical Courts"); Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 165 (1878) ("[U]pon the separation of the ecclesiastical courts from the civil[,] the ecclesiastical [courts] were supposed to be the most appropriate for the trial of matrimonial causes and offences against the rights of marriage...."); Eagle Forum Brief, supra note 12, at 4-5 ("[C]ases at law were heard before the Court of King's Bench or the Court of Common Pleas, and cases in equity were heard before the Court of Exchequer or the Court of Chancery. In 1787, only Ecclesiastical Courts could hear marriage-related cases...."); 13E WRIGHT EXAL., supra note 1, [section] 3609 ("Traditionally, the exceptions were rationalized on the basis of an historic analysis of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the English courts....").
(151.) 13E Wright et al., supra note 1, [section] 3609.
(152.) Calabresi & Sinel, supra note 25, (manuscript at 42).
(153.) Jurisdiction and Removal Act of 1875, ch. 137, 18 Stat. 470; see Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 807 (1986) (referring to "the Judiciary Act of 1875").
(154.) Calabresi & Sinel, supra note 25, (manuscript at 42).
(155.) Id. (manuscript at 42-43) (emphasis omitted).
(156.) Id. (manuscript at 43).
(157.) Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 700 (1992); see also supra Section I.A.
(158.) Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 700-01. Courts generally do not presume that Congress has amended a statute by implication. See Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders v. Defs. of Wildlife, 551 U.S. 644, 662 (2007) (noting that repeals by implication are disfavored); Chem. Mfrs. Ass'n v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 470 U.S. 116, 128 (1985) ("[A]bsent an expression of legislative will, we are reluctant to infer an intent to amend the Act so as to ignore the thrust of an important decision."); Reg'l Rail Reorganization Act Cases, 419 U.S. 102, 134 (1974) ("A new statute will not be read as wholly or even partially amending a prior one unless there exists a 'positive repugnancy' between the provisions of the new and those of the old that cannot be reconciled." (quoting In re Penn Cent. Transp. Co., 384 F. Supp. 895, 943 (Reg'l Rail Reorg. Ct. 1974))); United States v. Welden, 377 U.S. 95, 103 n.12 (1964) ("Amendments by implication ... are not favored."); United States v. Madigan, 300 U.S. 500, 506 (1937) ("[T]he modification by implication of the settled construction of an earlier and different section is not favored.").
(159.) Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 700 ("Whatever Article III may or may not permit, we thus accept the Barber dictum as a correct interpretation of the Congressional grant." (quoting Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon v. Rosenstiel, 490 F.2d 509, 514 (2d Cir. 1973)).
(160.) See, e.g., Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 704 (noting the "special proficiency developed by state tribunals over the past century and a half in handling issues that arise in the granting of [divorce, child custody and alimony] decrees"); Fernos-Lopez v. Figarella Lopez, 929 F.2d 20, 22 (1st Cir. 1991) (noting "the strong state interest in domestic relations"); Vaughan v. Smithson, 883 F.2d 63, 65 (10th Cir. 1989) ("[T]he states have a strong interest in domestic relations matters...."); Drewes v. Ilnicki, 863 F.2d 469, 471 (6th Cir. 1988) ("[T]he exception ... continues to the present day because the field of domestic relations involves local problems...."); Raftery v. Scott, 756 F.2d 335, 343 (4th Cir. 1985) ("[T]he state through its courts has a stronger and more direct interest in the domestic relations of its citizens than does the federal court."); Ruffalo ex rel. Ruffalo v. Civiletti, 702 F.2d 710, 717 (8th Cir. 1983) ("[F]ederal courts have consistently refused to entertain diversity suits involving domestic relations [due to] the strong state interest in domestic relations matters...."); Csibi v. Fustos, 670 F.2d 134, 136-37 (9th Cir. 1982) ("States have an interest in family relations superior to that of the federal government...."); Ellison v. Sadur, 700 F. Supp. 54, 55 (D.D.C. 1988) ("This exception is largely grounded in the belief that state courts have a particularly strong interest ... in resolving disputes involving family relationships."); Tuerffs v. Tuerffs, 117 F.R.D. 674, 675 (D. Colo. 1987) (observing the "state's strong interest in domestic relations cases"); Yelverton v. Yelverton, 614 F. Supp. 528, 529 (N.D. Ind. 1985) ("[D]omestic relations matters, being of local concern, are best left to the jurisdictional province of state courts."); see also Kirby v. Mellenger, 830 F.2d 176, 178 (nth Cir. 1987) ("The reasons for federal abstention in these cases are apparent: the strong state interest in domestic relations matters, the competence of state courts in settling family disputes, the possibility of incompatible federal and state court decrees in cases of continuing judicial supervision by the state, and the problem of congested dockets in federal courts."); Crouch v. Crouch, 566 F.2d 486, 487 (5th Cir. 1978) (same); Rush, supra note 22, at 8-9 ("Reasons for this abstention include the [superior] competence and expertise of state courts in settling family disputes, the strong interests of the state in domestic relations matters, the risk of inconsistent federal and state court rulings in cases of continuing state court jurisdiction, and congested federal dockets.").
(161.) See, e.g., Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 703-04 ("Issuance of decrees of this type not infrequently involves retention of jurisdiction by the court and deployment of social workers to monitor compliance. As a matter of judicial economy, state courts are more eminently suited to work of this type than are federal courts, which lack the close association with state and local government organizations dedicated to handling issues that arise out of conflicts over divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees."); Femos-Lopez, 929 F.2d at 22 (noting "the relative expertise of state courts"); Vaughan, 883 F.2d at 65 (noting that states "have developed an expertise in settling family disputes"); Rykers v. Alford, 832 F.2d 895, 899 (5th Cir. 1987) ("[T]he state courts have greater expertise and interest in domestic matters."); Ruffalo, 702 F.2d at 717 (observing "the competence of state courts in settling family disputes" (quoting Crouch, 566 F.2d at 487)); Lloyd v. Loeffler, 694 F.2d 489, 492 (7th Cir. 1982) ("At its core are certain types of cases, well illustrated by divorce, that the federal courts are not, as a matter of fact, competent tribunals to handle.... They are not local institutions, they do not have staffs of social workers, and there is too little commonality between family law adjudication and the normal responsibilities of federal judges to give them the experience they would need to be able to resolve domestic disputes with skill and sensitivity."); Csibi, 670 F.2d at 137 ("[S]tate courts have more expertise in the field of domestic relations."); McCullough ex rel. Jordan v. McCullough, 760 F. Supp. 613, 616 (E.D. Mich. 1991) ("[State courts] have developed a proficiency and expertise in these cases." (quoting Firestone v. Cleveland Tr. Co., 654 F.2d 1212, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981))); Ellison, 700 F. Supp. at 55 (asserting that state courts "have developed special competence" in family law issues); Tuetffs, 117 F.R.D. at 675 (noting "the competence of state courts to settle [domestic] disputes").
(162.) As amici in Obergefell put it, "[L]eaving states responsible to shape family law in light of the flux in family forms is most likely to promote sound policies responsive to the needs of American families over time." Kuykendall et al. Brief, supra note 12, at 12.
(163.) Id. at 15.
(164.) Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 404 (1975).
(165.) 133 S. Ct. 267s, 2691 (2013).
(166.) Kuykendall et al. Brief, supra note 12, at 14.
(167.) See id. at 16-17 (arguing that without an exception to family law cases raising federal questions, "a party failing to gain a favorable outcome in state courts or the democratic process could file in federal court").
(168.) Windsor, 133 S. Ct at 2689.
(169.) Cf. Alexander M. Bickel, The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar OF POLITICS (1962) (discussing the threat of overly active courts to majoritarian political processes).
(170.) While federal courts rarely hear "legal subjects affected by the laws of marriage and divorce," state courts "primarily, routinely, and exhaustively" hear cases involving "[p]roperty rights and distribution, child custody and support, [and] the disposition of estates." Brief of States II, supra note 12, at 7.
(171.) Kuykendall et al. Brief, supra note 12, at 15 ("If the Fourteenth Amendment speaks to the rights of states to license same-sex marriage, the same logic speaks to a variety of institution-based topics within family law ... such as divorce, the best interests of children and defining the meaning of the word 'parent.'").
(172.) Id. at 19.
(173.) Richard Maloy, Forum Shopping? What's Wrong with That?, 24 Quinnipiac L. Rev. 25, 25 (2005).
(174.) Henry M. Hart, Jr., The Power of Congress To Limit the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts: An Exercise in Dialectic, 66 Harv. L. Rev. 1362, 1401 (1953).
(175.) Id. Others also make this claim. See, e.g., Martin H. Redish, Constitutional Limitations on Congressional Power To Control Federal Jurisdiction: A Reaction to Professor Sager, 77 Nw. U. L. Rev. 143 (1982).
(176.) Hart, supra note 174, at 1401.
(177.) See infra Section III.A.2.
(178.) See, e.g., Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 494 n.35 (1976) ("[W]e are unwilling to assume that there now exists a general lack of appropriate sensitivity to constitutional rights in the trial and appellate courts of the several States. State courts, like federal courts, have a constitutional obligation to safeguard personal liberties and to uphold federal law."); see also Paul M. Bator, Finality in Criminal Law and Federal Habeas Corpus for State Prisoners, 76 Harv. L. Rev. 441, 509 (1963) ("There is no intrinsic reason why the fact that a man is a federal judge should make him more competent, or conscientious, or learned with respect to the applicable federal law than his neighbor in the state courthouse.").
(179.) Martin H. Redish & Curtis E. Woods, Congressional Power To Control the Jurisdiction of Lower Federal Courts: A Critical Review and a New Synthesis, 124 U. Pa. L. Rev. 45, 47 & n.8 (1975).
(180.) See, e.g., Chemerinsky, supra note 98, at 311-14; 1 Barbara J. Van Arsdale et al., Federal Procedure, Lawyers Edition [section] 1:261 (2013); 13E Wright et al., supra note 1, [section][section] 3609, 3690.1; Michael B. Mushlin, Unsafe Havens: The Case for Constitutional Protection of Foster Children from Abuse and Neglect, 23 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 199, 270 (1988); Rush, supra note 22, at 20 ("[Do]mestic relations cases that raise federal questions should be treated like other federal question cases."); Thomas H. Dobbs, Note, The Domestic Relations Exception Is Narrowed After Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 28 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1137, 1137 (1993) (explaining that the exception limits federal "jurisdiction over matters of domestic relations even when litigants could establish diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy requirements"); Moore, supra note 22, at 878 (arguing that in federal-question cases implicating domestic relations, "[t]he question federal courts should ask ... is whether the parties claiming federal jurisdiction are truly alleging a nonfrivolous constitutional claim or are merely involved in a domestic relations dispute which has no reason for being in the federal courts under the federal question statute" (citation omitted)); Maryellen Murphy, Comment, Domestic Relations Exception to Diversity Jurisdiction: Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 28 New Eng. L. Rev. 577, 577 (1993) (describing the exception as "a limitation on federal court diversity jurisdiction"); Swenson, supra note 22, at 1096; Anthony B. Ullman, Note, The Domestic Relations Exception to Diversity Jurisdiction, 83 Colum. L. Rev. 1824, 1824 (1983); Francis M. Dougherty, Annotation, "Domestic Relations" Exception to Jurisdiction of Federal Courts Under Diversity of Citizenship Provisions of 28 U. S.C.A. [section] 1332(a), 100 A.L.R. Fed. 700 (1990).
(181.) Harbach, supra note 7, at 143 n.46 ("Few of what are regarded as the foundational cases arose in the context of diversity jurisdiction.").
(182.) In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 596-97 (1890).
(183.) Perrine v. Slack, 164 U.S. 452, 453 (1896).
(184.) Simms v. Simms, 175 U.S. 162, 168-69 (1899).
(185.) De la Rama v. De la Rama, 201 U.S. 303, 308 (1906).
(186.) Ohio ex rel. Popovici v. Agler, 280 U.S. 379, 382 (1930).
(187.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1.
(188.) Barber v. Barber ex rel. Cronkhite, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 583-84 (1858).
(189.) Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 17 (2004).
(190.) 409 U.S. 810 (1972).
(191.) See, e.g., Andrew Janet, Note, Eat, Drink, and Marry: Why Baker v. Nelson Should Have No Impact on Same-Sex Marriage Litigation, 89 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1777 (2014); Robert Barnes, Supreme Court: Was Gay Marriage Settled in 1972 Case?, Wash. Post (Aug. 17, 2014), http:// www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courtsjaw/supreme-court-was-gay-marriage-settled-in -1972-case/2014/08/17/1a5e41f8-23c6-ne4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html [http://perma.cc /DD8Q-ECBK]; Lyle Denniston, Gay Marriage and Baker v. Nelson, SCOTUSblog (July 4, 2012, 4:52 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/07/gay-marriage-and-baker-v-nelson [http://perma.cc/YX3V-RNR3]; Lyle Denniston, Testing the Status of Baker v. Nelson, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 28, 2014, 4:50 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/10/testing-the -status-of-baker-v-nelson [http://perma.cc/s2QC-49WV].
(192.) Emergency Application, supra note 13, at 16.
(193.) Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971), appeal dismissed, 409 U.S. 810.
(194.) Appellee's Motion To Dismiss Appeal and Brief at 3, Baker, 409 U.S. 810 (No. 71-1027).
(196.) 325 U.S. 226, 233 (1945) (quoting Ohio ex. rel. Popovici v. Agler, 280 U.S. 379, 383-84 (1930)).
(197.) 409 U.S. 810.
(198.) Emergency Application, supra note 13, at 16.
(199.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1 (emphasis added).
(201.) See David I. Levine et al., Remedies: Public and Private 452 (5th ed. 2009) ("[W]hether the relief sought should be characterized as legal or equitable turns on how the court's order would be enforced. Equity courts ordered defendants, personally, to act, and enforced their orders by their contempt power. Law courts relied on separate administrative proceedings to enforce their judgments.").
(202.) Ecclesiastical courts had exclusive jurisdiction over "[m]atrimonial causes," until the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, 20 & 21 Viet. c. 85 (Eng.), was passed. Calabresi & Sinel, supra note 25, (manuscript at 5). Nonetheless, historically the courts of equity heard marital cases frequently. Equity courts
gave security to women who held real and personal estates by means of future equitable interests not recognised at the common law, granted protection to the estate of the jointress and accorded a right to separated or divorced women to take a share of their husband's estate commensurate with the portion which they brought into marriage.
Maria L. Cioni, Women and Law in Elizabethan England with Particular Reference to the Court of Chancery, at i (1985). In certain circumstances, equity courts even let women sue their husbands. Id. at 30; Tim Stretton, Women Waging Law in ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND 143-54 (1998). Equity courts offered married women an alternative to the common-law courts for asserting judicially enforceable rights. See Mary R. Beard, Woman as Force in History: A Study in Traditions and Realities 136-44, 198-204 (1946); Stretton, supra, at 25-26. Through the doctrine of the "separate estate," equity courts could evade coverture, "the common law fiction that a married woman had virtually no legal identity separate from her husband," and even allowed married women to sue their husbands. Stretton, supra, at 26-28.
The Court of Requests, a '"poor man's Chancery,' a national equity court which flourished for just over a century and a half between the time of Henry VII and the onset of the Civil War," id. at 7, was also hospitable to women's marital claims, id. at 129-54 (providing a broad overview of the litigation patterns of married women in the Court of Requests, including suits by women both with and against their husbands). Female litigants in the Court of Requests were common. Id. According to Tim Stretton, "On average one third of the cases that came before the 'Masters', or judges, of Requests involved a female plaintiff or defendant.... [They] were accustomed to dealing with women litigants in numbers every day the court was in session." Id. (citations omitted).
Marriage cases, especially those based on married women's property or alimony claims, also regularly came to the chancery courts. Allison Anna Tait, The Beginning of the End of Coverture: A Reappraisal of the Married Woman's Separate Estate, 26 Yale J.L. & FEMINISM 165, 208 n.255 (2014) ("Marital litigation could occur in various fora including but not limited to Chancery."). For a review of the claims brought by married women in chancery courts, see id. at 207-11. As one commentator put it, chancery courts "laid the foundations for married women's property rights." CIONI, supra, at i. Chancery courts were "careful not to tread too heavily on ecclesiastical jurisdiction and maintained a policy of avoiding inquiry into the merits of marital disputes." Tait, supra, at 208. As one chancery court acknowledged, the "Ecclesiastical Court ... has exclusive cognizance of the rights and duties arising from the state of marriage." Legard v. Johnson (1797) 30 Eng. Rep. 1049, 1052, 3 Ves. Jun. 352, 359. Nonetheless, chancery courts did not abstain from hearing cases that raised marital questions, especially those involving "questions relating to the regulation of trusts." Tait, supra, at 208 ("The controlling factor in Chancery's taking jurisdiction in these cases was the presence of questions relating to the regulation of trusts."). Another commentator has observed that the sort of married women's claims heard in chancery courts can generally be sorted "broadly into two camps: proprietary ... and contractual." Michael Macnair, The Conceptual Basis of Trusts in the 17th and 18th Centuries, in Itinera Fiduciae: Trust and Treuhand in Historical Perspective 207, 235 (Richard Helmholz & Robert Zimmermann eds., 1998). On rare occasions, English equity courts even dissolved marriages. See, e.g., Terrell v. Terrell (1581) 21 Eng. Rep. 104, 123, Tothill 4, 59 (issuing two divorce decrees); 1 George Spence, The Equitable Jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery 702 (Philadelphia, Lea and Blanchard 1846) ("It is not unlikely, however, that the Court of Chancery, under its clerical chancellors, exercised jurisdiction to decree a divorce a vinculo matrimonii.").
(203.) 136 U.S. 586, 593-94 (1890) (emphasis added).
(204.) Ohio ex rel. Popovici v. Agler, 280 U.S. 379, 383 (1930).
(205.) Barber v. Barber ex rel. Cronkhite, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 604-05 (1858) (Daniel, J., dissenting).
(206.) As seen supra Section I.A, not all early domestic-relations cases invoked this reasoning. Some, such as In re Burrus, gave no reasoning at all, 136 U.S. at 593-94, while others, such as De la Rama v. De la Rama, asserted that domestic-relations cases cannot satisfy the technical requirements of diversity jurisdiction, 201 U.S. 303, 308 (1906), a rationale that neither applies exclusively to domestic-relations matters nor necessarily always applies to particular domestic-relations controversies. Thus, these cases are also entitled to little weight.
(207.) Barber, 62 U.S. (21 How.) at 604-os.
(208.) Erwin C. Surrency, The Courts in the American Colonies, 11 Am. J. Legal Hist. 253, 275 (1967) ("As no ecclesiastical courts were established in the colonies, the governors of the royal colonies were authorized to assume the jurisdiction over matters arising from the administration and the probate of wills."). Probate cases, "which came within the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in England, were generally handled in America by the governor." Id. at 253. Meanwhile, chancery courts, though "a well-established part of the English judicial system at the time of settlement of the American colonies," were mostly nonexistent in the American colonies. Id. at 271 ("[F]ew of these courts were established permanently in the colonies."). The significance of the fact that the early American colonies did not have ecclesiastical courts to the issue of the domestic-relations exception has not entirely escaped judicial attention. See, e.g., Lloyd v. Loeffler, 694 F.2d 489, 491-92 (7th Cir. 1982) ("The usual account of the domestic relations exception ... assumes without discussion that the proper referent is English rather than American practice, though if only because there was no ecclesiastical court in America [and] American law and equity courts had a broader jurisdiction in family-law matters than their English counterparts had."). Although asserting that "[p]robably the reference to law and equity in the first judiciary act is mainly to English practice rather than to the diverse judicial systems of the colonies and states," Lloyd acknowledges that "it would be odd if the jurisdiction of England's ecclesiastical courts, theocratic institutions unlikely to be well regarded in America, should have been thought to define the limits of the jurisdiction of the new federal courts." Id. at 492.
(209.) In general, colonial jurisdictional boundaries were hazy and ill-defined. "[T]he colonists never created the numerous courts with limited jurisdiction similar to those found in England at that period," and as a result colonial courts often "combined the jurisdiction generally exercised by different courts in England." Surrency, supra note 208, at 261. While "[a]ttempts were made to introduce courts baron, an exchequer court, and a few others," all failed. Id. Even when colonists created different courts, they "were not consistent in the titles given" to them. Id. at 267 ("[T]he records revealed significant changes in titles."). Oftentimes "the title of the same court was confusing for it was not given precisely, and the petitioners would address it differently." Id. at 254. Although "English courts were taken as a model," in practice, names were affixed to courts "which had little resemblance to their namesakes." Id. at 263. Erwin Surrency summarizes the situation in the colonies as follows:
The courts in the American colonies were patterned after those in England, but often the American variety bore little resemblance to the English prototype. The names may have been the same, but the jurisdiction and the operation of the courts varied greatly, and hence the American variety bore little resemblance to the English courts.
Id. at 266. As such, "one should not conclude that a separate type of court existed because another title is found in use or is referred to by varying names in contemporary sources." Id. at 267.
(210.) See 2 George Elliott Howard, A History of Matrimonial Institutions 353-60 (photo, reprint 1999) (1904).
(211.) Charles Warren, New Light on the History of the Federal Judiciary Act of 1789, 37 Harv. L. Rev. 49, 50, 59-61 (1923).
(212.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1 (emphasis added).
(213.) Some federal courts have recognized this fact. See, e.g., Lynk v. LaPorte Superior Court No. 2, 789 F.2d 554, 558 (7th Cir. 1986) ("The existence of the exception rests on dubious historical, but powerful pragmatic, grounds."); Lloyd, 694 F.2d at 491 ("The historical account is unconvincing."); see also 13E WRIGHT ET AL., supra note 1, [section] 3609 (noting that the "debate over the accuracy of this historic characterization [of the domestic-relations exception] has cast doubt on the legitimacy of that rationale").
214. Akhil Reed Amar, A Neo-Federalist View of Article III: Separating the Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, 65 B.U. L. Rev. 205, 240 (1985) [hereinafter Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction] ("Nine specific-and overlapping--categories of cases are spelled out ... but these categories are not all of equal importance. The judicial power must extend to 'all' cases in the first three categories; not so with the final six enumerated categories, where the word 'all' is nowhere to be found. The implication of the text, while perhaps not unambiguous, is strong: although the judicial power must extend to all cases in the first three categories, it may, but need not, extend to all cases in the last six."). Article III, Section 2 reads, in relevant part:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;-to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;-to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1. As Amar notes, "'All' is used not once, not twice, but three separate times in the opening sentence of section 2. The word is then omitted six times. This selective repetition and omission tends to confirm the presumption of intentional insertion." Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra, at 242. Amar has discussed and elaborated on this argument in a series of books and articles, including Akhil Reed Amar, America's Constitution: A Biography 227-29 (2005) [hereinafter Amar, America's Constitution]; Akhil Reed Amar, Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated: A Reply, 138 U. PA. L. Rev. 1651 (1990); Akhil Reed Amar, Taking Article III Seriously: A Reply to Professor Friedman, 85 Nw. U. L. Rev. 442 (1991); and Akhil Reed Amar, The Two-Tiered Structure of the Judiciary Act of 1789, 138 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1499 (1990) [hereinafter Amar, Two-Tiered Structure].
(215.) Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat) 304, 334 (1816); see also Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 174 (1803) ("It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect; and therefore such a construction is inadmissible, unless the words require it."); Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 242 ("The selective use by the Framers of the word 'all' may not be lightly presumed to be unintentional. Where possible, each word of the Constitution is to be given meaning; no words are to be ignored as mere surplusage."). Amar notes that
the presumption of intentional insertion ... is further strengthened by the next sentence of Article III, which carefully modifies the cases affecting public ambassadors falling within the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction with the qualifier "all," thus harmonizing with the language of the jurisdictional menu: "In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, ... the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction."
Id. (citations omitted) (quoting U.S. CONST, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 2).
(216.) Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 242 ("The records of the Constitutional Convention also strongly corroborate the notion that the Framers used the word 'all' intentionally and with care, purposefully establishing a two-tiered jurisdictional structure."). For more on the historical evidence from the Constitutional Convention that the Framers intended to create a two-tiered system of federal jurisdiction, see id. at 242-45, which details the series of revisions made to the original draft of Article III.
(217.) See id. at 242. Compare 2 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, at 46 (Max Farrand ed., 1911) [hereinafter Records] (showing the Constitutional Convention's initial resolution concerning the subject of federal jurisdiction, whose specific vocabulary choices gestured toward a nascent two-tiered jurisdictional structure), with id. at 146-47 (showing the first draft of the Committee of Detail produced by Edmund Randolph and John Rutledge, which reflected an embryonic two-tiered jurisdictional structure), id. at 172-73 (showing a later draft by James Wilson and John Rutledge, which preserved the two-tiered structure of the prior draft), id. at 576 (showing the draft produced by the Committee of Style, which omitted the word "all" in establishing the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction), and id. at 661 (showing the final draft, which included the word "all").
(218.) See U.S. CONST, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 3; Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 240-41.
(219.) See Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 215 ("These are words of obligation.... Unless clearly overruled or modified by other language of the Constitution, this mandatory language must be given effect.").
(220.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 2, cl. 1 (emphasis added).
(221.) Robert N. Clinton, A Mandatory View of Federal Court Jurisdiction: A Guided Quest for the Original Understanding of Article III, 132 U. Pa. L. Rev. 741, 782 (1984). As Clinton explained:
[T]he Wilson-Rutledge draft and the Committee report retained the mandatory phrase "shall extend" when referring to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This phrase had been included in the original Randolph plan and its various amendments during the early portion of the Convention deliberations. The Convention and the Committee apparently invoked "shall" in its mandatory sense rather than as future tense. The repeated consensus on the need for judicial independence and the fear of legislative encroachment on judicial powers strongly suggest that the framers did not intend to create any congressional power to determine the scope of jurisdiction of the federal judiciary. Indeed, no suggestion of any congressional power to determine jurisdiction was voiced in the earlier Convention deliberations. When a suggestion for congressional power over jurisdiction did briefly surface in the Randolph-Rutledge draft, the drafters carefully used the discretionary "may assign," as they also did when referring to congressional power to distribute judicial powers to inferior federal courts. Thus, the drafters fully understood the difference between the mandatory "shall" and the discretionary "may," and almost invariably used "shall" where a mandatory obligation was intended.
Id.; see also Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 231 ("These opening words of Article III are rich with meaning. [T]hey establish that the judicial power of the United States must be vested in the federal judiciary as a whole.").
(222.) Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat) 304, 328 (1816). Martin stressed that "[t]he judicial power of the United States shall be vested (not may be vested) in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish." Id. Martin then discussed in further detail the obligatory nature of the usage of the word "shall" in Article III. Id. at 328-30; see also Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 215 n.41 ("The 'shall' language can be read as authorizing, rather than obliging, federal jurisdiction, but the branch that is thereby empowered is the federal judiciary, not Congress. Thus, even if the Article III empowerment can be declined by the federal judiciary, it must be honored by--and is therefore mandatory vis-a-vis--Congress.").
(223.) In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison described " [t]he mutability of the laws of the States" as "a serious evil," whose "injustice ... has been so frequent and so flagrant as to alarm the most ste[a]dfast friends of Republicanism." 5 The Writings of James Madison 27 (Gaillard Hunt ed., 1904). He believed that the "evils" of the states "contributed more to that uneasiness which produced the Convention, and prepared the Public mind for a general reform" than those of the national government under the Articles of Confederation, and he thought that any "reform" that did not "make provision for private rights" as against the states "must be materially defective." Id. As Amar notes, the idea of a federal judiciary that would protect the Constitution against nonenforcement by state courts is consistent with "the entire Federalist enterprise of establishing a new and stronger federal government[, which] was largely conceived of as a way to erect a strong bulwark of individual rights against overweening state governments." Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 247 n.134.
(224.) Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 249 ("[T]he clear understanding of the Convention was that state court decisions must be reviewable by the national judiciary."). The Federalists did not trust the state courts. 3 Records, supra note 217, at 207 (including the statement of Luther Martin). Madison stated, "Confidence can (not) be put in the State Tribunals as guardians of the National authority and interests. In all the States these are more or less dependent] on the Legislatures." 2 id. at 27-28. Madison did not want to give the entire task of upholding the Constitution over to the "biassed [sic] directions of a dependent [state] Judge." 3 THE WRITINGS OF JAMES MADISON, supra note 223, at 97. Edmund Randolph's warning was just as stark: "[T]he Courts of the States [cannot] be trusted with the administration of the National laws." 2 Records, supra note 217, at 46. The Convention's intention that appellate review of state-court decisions concerning federal questions would lie in the federal courts is expressed clearly in Madison's letter to Jefferson:
We arrive at the agitated question whether the Judicial Authority of the U. S. [sic] be the constitutional resort for determining the line between the federal & State jurisdictions. Believing as I do that the General Convention regarded a provision within the Constitution for deciding in a peaceable & regular mode all cases arising in the course of its operation, as essential to an adequate System of Government] that it intended the Authority vested in the Judicial Department as a final resort in relation to the States, for cases resulting to it in the exercise of its functions, (the concurrence of the Senate chosen by the State Legislatures, in appointing the Judges, and the oaths & official tenures of these, with the surveillance of public Opinion, being relied on as guarantying their impartiality); and that this intention is expressed by the articles declaring that the federal Constitution & laws shall be the supreme law of the land, and that the Judicial Power of the U. S. [sic] shall extend to all cases arising under them: Believing moreover that this was the prevailing view of the subject when the Constitution was adopted & put into execution; that it has so continued thro[ugh] the long period which has elapsed; and that even at this time an appeal to a national decision would prove that no general change has taken place: thus believing I have never yielded my original opinion indicated in the "Federalist" N[o.] 39 to the ingenious reasonings of Col: [sic] Taylor ag[ainst] this construction of the Constitution.
9 The Writings of James Madison, supra note 223, at 141-42. Madison expressed this view once again in the Federalist Papers: "[I]n controversies relating to the boundary between the two [federal and state] jurisdictions, the tribunal which is ultimately to decide, is to be established under the general government." The Federalist No. 39, at 245 (James Madison) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961); see also Raoul Berger, Congress v. the Supreme Court 286 n.6 (1969) ("[I]t was only 'initial,' original, not final, jurisdiction that was to be 'left to the state courts,' subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court."). When ratification of the Constitution was being debated in Connecticut, Oliver Ellsworth explained that the federal judiciary would be a check both on federal laws that extend beyond Congress's enumerated powers and state laws that impinge on federal power:
If the general legislature should at any time overleap their limits, the judicial department is a constitutional check. If the United States go beyond their powers, if they make a law which the Constitution does not authorize, it is void; and the judicial power, the national judges, who to secure their impartiality, are to be made independent, will declare it to be void. On the other hand, if the states go beyond their limits, if they make a law which is a usurpation upon the federal government the law is void; and upright, independent judges will declare it to be so.
3 Records, supra note 217, at 240-41.
(225.) See Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 245 n.130 (surveying the views of the Framers and showing that they did not believe it was very important to vest the federal judiciary with diversity jurisdiction). According to Madison, diversity jurisdiction was not "a matter of much importance. Perhaps it might be left to the state courts." 3 The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 533 (Jonathan Elliot ed., 2d ed. 1901) [hereinafter Debates]. Edmund Randolph felt similarly, saying he did "not see any absolute necessity for ... [federal diversity] jurisdiction in these cases." 3 id. at 572. Other Framers felt the same way, such as Edmund Pendleton, 3 id. at 549 ("[T]hose decisions might be left to the state tribunals."); John Marshall, 3 id. at 556 ("Were I to contend that [diversity jurisdiction] was necessary in all cases, and that the government without it would be defective, I should not use my own judgment."); and James Wilson, 2 id. at 491 ("[Diversity] jurisdiction, I presume, will occasion more doubt than any other part...."). As Charles Lee asserted before the Supreme Court, "The jurisdiction given to the federal courts in cases between citizens of different states, was, at the time of the adoption of the constitution, supposed to be of very little importance to the people." Hepburn v. Ellzey, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 445, 450 (1805).
(226.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 1 ("The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."); Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 235 ("By virtue of their tenure and salary guarantees, Article III judges are constitutionally assured the structural independence to interpret and pronounce the law impartially. No such constitutional guarantee applies for state judges."). Alexander Hamilton asserted that the proposed Constitution's salary provision "bears every mark of prudence and efficacy; and it may be safely affirmed that, together with the permanent tenure of their offices, it affords a better prospect of their independence than is discoverable in the constitutions of any of the States in regard to their own judges." The Federalist No. 79, supra note 224, at 473-74 (Alexander Hamilton). This attitude also found expression in early Supreme Court decisions. In Martin, the Court observed that "[t]he constitution has presumed ... that state attachments, state prejudices, state jealousies, and state interests, might sometimes obstruct, or control, or be supposed to obstruct or control, the regular administration of justice." Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 304, 347 (1816). Five years later, it said:
It would be hazarding too much to assert, that the judicatures of the States will be exempt from the prejudices by which the legislatures and people are influenced, and will constitute perfectly impartial tribunals. In many States the judges are dependent for office and for salary on the will of the legislature. The constitution of the United States furnishes no security against the universal adoption of this principle. When we observe the importance which that constitution attaches to the independence of judges, we are the less inclined to suppose that it can have intended to leave these constitutional questions to tribunals where this independence may not exist....
Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264, 386-87 (1821).
(227.) U.S. CONST, art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2 ("[H]e shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law...."). Note that Article II lacks any analogous conferral of power on the President to nominate and appoint state judges.
(228.) Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 236.
(229.) Id. At North Carolina's ratifying convention, Archibald Maclaine said:
[I]f they be the judges of the local or state laws, and receive emoluments for acting in that capacity, they will be improper persons to judge of the laws of the Union. A federal judge ought to be solely governed by the laws of the United States, and receive his salary from the treasury of the United States. It is impossible for any judges, receiving pay from a single state, to be impartial in cases where the local laws or interests of that state clash with the laws of the Union, or the general interests of America.
4 Debates, supra note 225, at 172.
(230.) See U.S. Const, art. II, [section] 4 ("The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." (emphasis added)). In The Federalist No. 81, Alexander Hamilton discussed
the important constitutional check which the power of instituting impeachments ... would give [Congress] upon the members of the judicial department. This is alone a complete security. There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body intrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations.
The Federalist No. 81, supra note 224, at 485 (Alexander Hamilton); see also 3 Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States [section] 1583, at 447 (1833) ("[J]udges of the state courts would be wholly irresponsible to the national government for their conduct in the administration of national justice ... Amar points out that while the Article II impeachment mechanism ensured a degree of accountability for federal judges, "[t]he limitations on federal impeachment are equally important: unlike state judges, Article III judges may be removed from office only for misbehavior, and not merely because legislators dislike them for partisan and political reasons--or for no reason." Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 237.
(231.) Martin, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) at 342 ("It was foreseen that in the exercise of their ordinary jurisdiction, state courts would incidentally take cognizance of cases arising under the constitution, the laws, and treaties of the United States. Yet to all these cases the judicial power, by the very terms of the constitution, is to extend.").
(232.) Id. at 346.
(233.) Id. at 347.
(234.) See Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 264, 302 (1821) (reproducing Virginia's argument that "considering the nature of this case, and that a State is a party, the judicial power of the United States does not extend to the case, and that, therefore, this Court cannot take jurisdiction at all"). The petitioner rejected this claim, asserting that "[t]his is a case arising under the constitution and laws of the Union, and therefore the jurisdiction of the federal Courts extends to it by the express letter of the constitution, and the case of Martin v. Hunter has determined that this jurisdiction may be exercised by this Court in an appellate form." Id. at 345.
(235.) Id. at 386.
(236.) Id. at 386-87.
(237.) See U.S. CONST, art. III, [section] 1, cl. 1.
(238.) Steven G. Calabresi & Gary Lawson, The Unitary Executive, Jurisdiction Stripping, and the Hamdan Opinions: A Textualist Response to Justice Scalia, 107 COLUM. L. Rev. 1002, 1005 (2007) (footnote omitted).
(239.) Id. at 1006 ("Similarly, the Vesting Clause of Article III vests the federal judiciary with all of the federal judicial power, and by designating the Supreme Court as 'Supreme' and other federal tribunals as 'inferior to' the Supreme Court, the Constitution requires the Supreme Court to have supervisory power over all subordinates within its department."); see U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 1.
(240.) Calabresi & Lawson, supra note 238, at 1006.
(241.) U.S. CONST. art. III, [section] 1 (emphasis added).
(242.) Id. art. II, [section] 1, cl. 1 (emphasis added).
(243.) Id. art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2 (emphasis added); see also Calabresi & Lawson, supra note 238, at 1007 (arguing that just as "an [executive] officer can only be 'inferior' for purposes of the Appointments Clause if he or she has an effective superior ... a federal court can be an 'inferior' court only if it is subject to review and correction by a superior" (footnotes omitted)).
(244.) U.S. Const, art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2.
(245.) 520 U.S. 651, 662 (1997) ("Generally speaking, the term 'inferior officer' connotes a relationship with some higher ranking officer or officers below the President: Whether one is an 'inferior' officer depends on whether he has a superior.").
(246.) Professors Calabresi and Lawson disagree with Amar on the scope of congressional power to alter the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction pursuant to the Exceptions and Regulations Clause. See U.S. CONST. art. III, [section] 2, cl. 2 ("In all [nonoriginal jurisdiction cases], the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."). Amar asserts that Congress may "shift final resolution of any cases within the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction to any other Article III court that Congress may create." Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 230. Calabresi and Lawson, on the other hand, say that Congress cannot strip the Supreme Court of any of its original or appellate jurisdiction: "Congress [may] move cases back and forth between the Supreme Court's original and appellate jurisdiction but not ... remove cases from that jurisdiction altogether." Calabresi & Lawson, supra note 238, at 1008. The difference between these two views rests on whether one reads Article III, Section 1 as vesting "[t]he judicial Power of the United States," U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 1, in the Supreme Court and inferior federal courts individually and severally, or in a single unit, consisting of the Supreme Court and inferior courts, within which Congress may reallocate appellate jurisdiction as it pleases. This is a challenging interpretive question, but Calabresi and Lawson's persuasive analogy between the symmetric relationships of "a President," id. art. II, [section] 1, cl. 1 (emphasis added), to "inferior [executive] Officers," id. art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2 (emphasis added), and "one supreme Court" to "inferior Courts," id. art. III, [section] 1 (emphasis added), supports reading Article III to give the Supreme Court supervisory authority over all cases in inferior federal courts. Either way, the domestic-relations exception, as applied to federal questions, is unconstitutional to the extent it would divest all federal courts, Supreme and inferior, of jurisdiction over federal questions involving domestic-relations issues.
(247.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 1.
(249.) Id. art. II, [section] 1, cl. 1.
(250.) 521 U.S. 898, 922-23 (1997) ("[U]nity in the Federal Executive ... would be shattered, and the power of the President would be subject to reduction, if Congress could act as effectively without the President as with him, by simply requiring state officers to execute its laws."). See generally The Federalist No. 70, supra note 224, at 421 (Alexander Hamilton) (arguing for a unitary executive); Steven G. Calabresi & Saikrishna B. Prakash, The President's Power To Execute the Laws, 104 Yale L.J. 541 (1994) (arguing that the Constitution creates a unitary executive).
(251.) For more on the "unitary executive" theory, see, for example, Amar, America's Constitution, supra note 214, at 131-32; John W. Dean, Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches 102 (2007); Steven G. Calabresi & Kevin H. Rhodes, The Structural Constitution: Unitary Executive, Plural Judiciary, 105 Harv. L. Rev. 1153, 1165-68 (1992); Steven G. Calabresi & Nicholas Terrell, The Fatally Flawed Theory of the Unbundled Executive, 93 MINN. L. Rev. 1696, 1696-97 (2009); and Lee S. Liberman, Morrison v. Olson: A Formalistic Perspective on Why the Court Was Wrong, 38 Am. U. L. Rev. 313, 315 (1989). See also sources cited supra notes 238, 250.
(252.) U.S. Const, art. III, [section] 1 (emphasis added).
(253.) Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 705 (1988) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (discussing executive power).
(254.) Printz, 521 U.S. at 922-23.
(255.) Id. at 923.
(256.) See sources cited supra note 104.
(257.) See, e.g., Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44 (1971) ("This underlying reason for restraining courts of equity from interfering with criminal prosecutions is reinforced by an even more vital consideration, the notion of 'comity,' that is, a proper respect for state functions, a recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of a Union of separate state governments, and a continuance of the belief that the National Government will fare best if the States and their institutions are left free to perform their separate functions in their separate ways."); La. Power & Light Co. v. City of Thibodaux, 360 U.S. 25, 28 (1959) (stating that abstention "reflects] a deeper policy derived from our federalism"); R.R. Comm'n v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496, 500 (1941) ("Few public interests have a higher claim upon the discretion of a federal chancellor than the avoidance of needless friction with state policies.").
(258.) See, e.g., Pullman, 312 U.S. at 501 (describing abstention as a matter of "wise discretion" that rests on "considerations of policy" (quoting Cavanaugh v. Looney, 248 U.S. 453, 457 (1919)))
(259.) For example, Pullman abstention enjoins federal courts from adjudicating cases only for long enough to give state courts enough time to determine whether they can be addressed on state-law grounds. Id. ("If there was no warrant in state law for the Commission's assumption of authority there is an end of the litigation; the constitutional issue does not arise.... Or, if there are difficulties in the way of this procedure of which we have not been apprised, the issue of state law may be settled by appropriate action on the part of the State to enforce obedience to the order."). Abstention is only warranted when state courts can resolve the dispute "with full protection of the constitutional claim," id., and federal district courts may retain jurisdiction "pending a [state court] determination of proceedings, to be brought with reasonable promptness," id. at 501-02. The Younger abstention only prevents federal courts from "stayfing] or enjoin[ing] pending state-court proceedings except under special circumstances," Younger, 401 U.S. at 41, or granting "declaratory relief ... when a prosecution involving the challenged statute is pending in state court at the time the federal suit is initiated," id. at 41 n.2, not from adjudicating the underlying merits issues once state court proceedings have concluded. Likewise, the Colorado River abstention requires federal courts to dismiss cases when parallel proceedings are being carried out in state courts only in certain "limited" circumstances. Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 818 (1976) ("[T]he circumstances permitting the dismissal of a federal suit due to the presence of a concurrent state proceeding for reasons of wise judicial administration," though "considerably more limited than the circumstances appropriate for abstention ... do nevertheless exist."). It too does not prevent federal courts from adjudicating cases once state proceedings have concluded. Under the Burford abstention, federal courts abstain out of "proper regard for the rightful independence of state governments in carrying out their domestic policy," Burford v. Sun Oil Co., 319 U.S. 315, 318 (1943) (quoting Pennsylvania v. Williams, 294 U.S. 176, 185 (1935)), but "ultimate review of the federal questions is fully preserved," id. at 334. Finally, the Thibodaux abstention merely permits state courts to construe state statutes concerning "matter[s] close to the political interests of a State" before federal courts weigh in; "[t]here is only postponement of decision for its best fruition." Thibodaux, 360 U.S. at 29.
(260.) Both of these rationales are central to the domestic-relations exception. See supra Section II.B.
(261.) U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, [section] 1.
(262.) See, e.g., Nat'l Cable & Telecomms. Ass'n v. Brand X Internet Servs., 545 U.S. 967, 983-84 (2005) (recognizing that state courts are not bound in interpreting state law by prior federal-court interpretations); Cambria-Stoltz Enters, v. TNT Invs., 747 A.2d 947, 952 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2000) (holding that Pennsylvania state courts are not bound by the Third Circuit's construction of state law). Under this principle, lower federal court opinions should be reversed if an intervening state-court decision has changed the state law. See Nolan v. Transocean Air Lines, 365 U.S. 293, 295-96 (1961) (setting aside a judgment of a lower federal court because the relevant state law had changed since the U.S. district court handed down its ruling); Huddleston v. Dwyer, 322 U.S. 232, 236 (1944) ("[A] judgment of a federal court ruled by state law and correctly applying that law as authoritatively declared by the state courts when the judgment was rendered, must be reversed on appellate review if in the meantime the state courts have disapproved of their former rulings and adopted different ones."); Vandenbark v. Owens-III. Glass Co., 311 U.S. 538, 543 (1941) ("[N]isiprius and appellate tribunals alike should conform their orders to the state law as of the time of the entry. Intervening and conflicting decisions will thus cause the reversal of judgments which were correct when entered.").
Federal courts exercising diversity jurisdiction are supposed to resolve state-law questions as would state courts. See Guar. Tr. Co. of N.Y. v. York, 326 U.S. 99, 109 (1945) ("[I]n all cases where a federal court is exercising jurisdiction solely because of the diversity of citizenship of the parties, the outcome of the litigation in the federal court should be substantially the same, so far as legal rules determine the outcome of a litigation, as it would be if tried in a State court."); Benjamin C. Glassman, Making State Law in Federal Court, 41 Gonz. L. Rev. 237, 238 (2006) ("[T]he task of the federal court is to predict how the state supreme court would decide the issue."); see also Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938) ("Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State.").
(263.) See Amar, Two-Tiered Structure, supra note 214, at 1530-31.
(264.) See Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 235-37; supra Section III.A.2.
(265.) See Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 230-37.
(266.) Ordinarily, litigants can elect to adjudicate federal-question disputes in federal forums. The plaintiff can file in federal court, see 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331 (2012), while the defendant can remove a case to federal court, see, e.g., id. [section] 1441(a).
(267.) See, e.g., Daniels v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 492 (1953) ("We have repeatedly indicated that a denial of certiorari means only that, for one reason or another which is seldom disclosed, and not infrequently for conflicting reasons which may have nothing to do with the merits and certainly may have nothing to do with any view of the merits taken by a majority of the Court, there were not four members of the Court who thought the case should be heard."); United States v. Carver, 260 U.S. 482, 490 (1923) ("The denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case, as the bar has been told many times.").
(268.) Supreme Court Case Selections Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-352, [section] 3, 102 Stat. 662, 662 (codified at 28 U.S.C. [section] 1257).
(269.) Act of Feb. 13, 1925, ch. 229, 43 Stat. 936 (codified as amended in scattered sections of 28 U.S.C.).
(270.) Arthur D. Heilman, The Business of the Supreme Court Under the Judiciary Act of 1925; The Plenary Docket in the 1970's, 91 Harv. L. Rev. 1711, 1712 (1978) (describing the status quo prior to the Judiciary Act of 1925, a description that also fits the pre-1988 Act status quo); see Felix Frankfurter & James M. Landis, The Business of the Supreme Court : A Study in the Federal Judicial System 203-16 (1928).
(271.) Heilman, supra note 270, at 1713.
(272.) Unlike denials of certiorari, summary dispositions have precedential value and are binding on lower courts. See Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332, 344-45 (1975) ("[T]he lower courts are bound by summary decisions by this Court 'until such time as the Court informs [them] that [they] are not.'" (second and third alterations in original) (quoting Doe v. Hodgson, 478 F.2d 537, 539 (2d Cir. 1973))). For a discussion of the different purposes that summary dispositions can serve, see Alex Hemmer, Courts as Managers: American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock and Summary Disposition at the Roberts Court, 122 Yale L.J. Online 209 (2013).
(273.) Under current law, cases brought in state court can be heard in the federal judiciary only through a writ of certiorari. See 28 U.S.C. [section] 1257; id. [section][section] 1441-1455 (authorizing removal).
(274.) See sources cited supra note 259.
(275.) Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 700 (1992).
(276.) Id. Congress had presumably revised the jurisdictional statutes, the Court said, "with full cognizance of the Court's nearly century-long interpretation of the prior statutes, which had construed the statutory diversity jurisdiction to contain an exception for certain domestic relations matters." Id. "With respect to such a longstanding and well-known construction of the diversity statute, and where Congress made substantive changes to the statute in other respects," the Court reasoned, "we presume, absent any indication that Congress intended to alter this exception, ... that Congress 'adopt[ed] that interpretation' when it reenacted the diversity statute." Id. at 700-01 (quoting Lorillard v. Pons, 434 U.S. 575, 580 (1978)).
(277.) The diversity-jurisdiction statute has been revised eight times since 1948. See Act of July 26, 1956, Pub. L. No. 84-808, 70 Stat. 658, amended by Act of July 25, 1958, Pub. L. No. 85-554, [section] 2, 72 Stat. 415, 415, amended by Act of Aug. 14, 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-439, [section] L 78 Stat. 445, 445, amended by Act of Oct. 21, 1976, Pub. L. No. 94-583, [section] 3, 90 Stat. 2891, 2891, amended by Act of Nov. 19, 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-702, [section][section] 201(a), 202(a), 203(a), 102 Stat. 4646, 4646, amended by Act of Oct. 19, 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-317, [section] 205(a), 110 Stat. 3847, 3850, amended by Act of Feb. 18, 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-2, [section] 4(a), 119 Stat. 4, 9-12, amended by Act of Dec. 7, 2011, Pub. L. No. 112-63, [section][section] 101-102, 125 Stat. 758, 758-59. The federal-question jurisdiction statute has been revised three times since 1948. See sources cited infra note 305.
(278.) See, e.g., FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 144 (2000) ("Under these circumstances, it is evident that Congress' tobacco-specific statutes have effectively ratified the FDA's long-held position...."); Lorillard, 434 U.S. at 580 ("Congress is presumed to be aware of an administrative or judicial interpretation of a statute and to adopt that interpretation when it re-enacts a statute without change."); Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 414 n.8 (1975) (explaining that Congress intended to ratify a prevailing judicial construction of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it enacted a later statute); Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258, 283-84 (1972) ("We continue to be loath ... to overturn those cases judicially when Congress, by its positive inaction, has allowed those decisions to stand for so long and, far beyond mere inference and implication, has clearly evinced a desire not to disapprove them legislatively."); Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. v. Gullett Gin Co., 340 U.S. 361, 366 (1951) ("Under these circumstances it is a fair assumption that by reenacting without pertinent modification the provision with which we here deal, Congress accepted the construction placed thereon by the Board and approved by the courts."); Nat'l Lead Co. v. United States, 252 U.S. 140, 146-47 (1920) ("The reenacting of the drawback provision four times, without substantial change, ... amounts to an implied legislative recognition and approval of the executive construction of the statute ... for Congress is presumed to have legislated with knowledge of such an established usage of an executive department of the government."); United States v. Smith, 521 F.2d 957, 968 n.24 (D.C. Cir. 1975) ("Congress, which considered the FRE at great length, can be presumed to have been aware of the interpretation of the business records exception current in the courts when it approved Rule 803(6)."); Carroll Elec. Co. v. Snelling, 62 F.2d 413, 416 (1st Cir. 1932) ("[T]his considered opinion of an experienced and distinguished judge may fairly be regarded as adopted by the lawmaking body. We think that this construction was ... adopted by Congress.").
(279.) 2B Norman Singer & Shambie Singer, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction [section] 49:8 (7th ed. 2014).
(280.) Id. (footnote omitted).
(281.) Fed. Base Ball Club v. Nat'l League, 259 U.S. 200, 208-09 (1922).
(282.) Flood, 407 U.S. at 283-84.
(283.) Brown & Williamson, 529 U.S. at 144.
(284.) Id. at 143.
(285.) See, e.g., Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 409-10 (1975) (upholding a state statute imposing a one-year residency requirement for persons petitioning for divorce as consistent with the Due Process Clause); Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 380-83 (1971) (striking down a law conditioning the right to obtain a divorce on ability to pay court fees as inconsistent with the Due Process Clause with respect to the indigent).
(286.) See, e.g., Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 75 (2000) (striking down a state visitation rights statute on the grounds that it violated the petitioner's substantive "due process right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of her daughters").
(287.) See, e.g., Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110, 130 (1989) (holding a state paternity statute consistent with the Due Process Clause); Clark v. Jeter, 486 U.S. 456, 465 (1988) (striking down, under the Equal Protection Clause, a state statute of limitations on paternity actions).
(288.) See, e.g., Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762, 776 (1977) (striking down, under the Equal Protection Clause, a state law that prohibited illegitimate children from inheriting from their fathers by intestate succession); Weber v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 406 U.S. 164, 175-76 (1972) (holding that a state workman's compensation law that denied rights to a dependent's unacknowledged illegitimate children violated the Equal Protection Clause).
(289.) See, e.g., Chafin v. Chafin, 133 S. Ct. 1017, 1027-28 (2013) (wading into a custody dispute to decide a question of Article III mootness); Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429, 434 (1984) (reversing a state court's grant of custody to the child's father because the state court had considered the possible injurious effects of private racial bias on the child in violation of the Equal Protection Clause); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 769 (1982) (holding that under the Due Process Clause, a state must support its allegations by at least a clear and convincing evidence standard before permanently terminating parental rights); Smith v. Org. of Foster Families for Equal. & Reform, 431 U.S. 816, 856 (1977) (upholding, under the Due Process Clause, state regulations concerning the removal of foster children from foster homes); Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 658-59 (1972) (striking down, under the Due Process Clause, a state law declaring children of unmarried fathers to be state wards upon the death of their mother). In 2013, the Court resolved a child-custody dispute on statutory grounds. Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2565 (2013) (interpreting a federal statute relating to custody proceedings involving American Indian children). It has also resolved a custody dispute on treaty grounds. Abbott v. Abbott, 560 U.S. 1, 22 (2010) (upholding a lower court ruling against a father seeking the return of his child under a treaty).
(290.) See, e.g., Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268, 283 (1979) (striking down a state alimony law that imposed obligations on husbands but not wives as violative of the Equal Protection Clause).
(291.) See, e.g., Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248, 265, 267 (1983) (holding that the failure to notify a putative father of pending adoption proceedings did not violate the Due Process Clause or Equal Protection Clause where the father never sought to establish a substantial relationship with his child); Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U.S. 380, 394 (1979) (striking down, under the Equal Protection Clause, a state law that let an unwed mother--but not an unwed father--block the adoption of their child); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 256 (1978) (upholding a state law prohibiting the father of an illegitimate child, who had never attempted to legitimate said child, from contesting the child's adoption by the mother's husband under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause).
(292.) See, e.g., Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, 390-91 (1978) (striking down a state statute requiring noncustodial parents who are obligated to pay child support to receive a court approval order before marrying in or out of state). One might think that Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), would be on point. However, Loving involved a criminal statute, id. at 4, and "[c]riminal cases are and always have been understood as being cases in law or equity both in England and in the United States," Calabresi & Sinel, supra note 25, (manuscript at 5). Likewise, Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977), involved a challenge to a criminal ordinance limiting occupancy of a dwelling to a nuclear family, id. at 496-97, so Moore, too, is not the sort of case to which the domestic-relations exception might apply.
(293.) See, e.g., Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000); Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110 (1989); Palmore, 466 U.S. 429; Orr, 440 U.S. 268.
(294.) See, e.g., Chafin, 133 S. Ct. 1017; Zablocki, 434 U.S. 374; Org. of Foster Families for Equal. & Reform, 431 U.S. 816; Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393 (1975); Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371 (1971)
(295.) 401 U.S. at 382-83.
(296.) 434 U.S. at 388-91.
(297.) 491 U.S. at 125.
(298.) Id. at 124.
(299.) Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 75 (2000).
(300.) Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762, 776 (1977).
(301.) Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268, 271 (1979).
(302.) Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429, 430-31, 434 (1984).
(303.) Id. at 433.
(304.) See 2B Singer & Singer, supra note 279, [section] 49:8.
(305.) Act of July 25,1958, Pub. L. No. 85-554, [section] U 72 Stat. 415, 415, amended by Act of Oct. 21,1976, Pub. L. No. 94-574, [section] 2, 90 Stat. 2721, 2721, amended by Act of Dec. 1, 1980, Pub. L. No. 96486, [section] 2(a), 94 Stat. 2369, 2369; Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 700 (1992).
(306.) See Barbara Ann Atwood, Domestic Relations Cases in Federal Court: Toward a Principled Exercise of Jurisdiction, 35 Hastings L.J. 571, 588 (1984).
(307.) Congress may only change the law via bicameralism and presentment. See, e.g., U.S. Const. art. I, [section] 7, els. 2-3; Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 438 (1998); INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 945-51 (1983).
(308.) See Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at 700 (asserting that Congress intended "no changes of law or policy ... from [these] changes of language" (quoting Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Prods. Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 227 (1957))).
(309.) Atwood, supra note 306, at 588 (emphasis added).
(310.) Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon v. Rosenstiel, 490 F.2d 509, 514 (2d Cir. 1973).
(311.) 504 U.S. at 700.
(312.) Andrews v. Andrews, 188 U.S. 14, 32 (1903), abrogated by Sherrer v. Sherrer, 334 U.S. 343 (1948).
(313.) Rush, supra note 22, at 8-9.
(314.) Moore, supra note 22, at 879; see also id. at 882 ("The mere fact that a claimed violation of constitutional rights took place in a domestic relations context should not bar a federal court from reviewing such constitutional issues.").
(315.) Perhaps recognizing this, at least one court has refused to apply the exception to a federal question notwithstanding docket-congestion threats. See, e.g., Crouch v. Crouch, 566 F.2d 486, 488 (5th Cir. 1978) ("Because none of the rationales for the domestic relations exception obtain in this case -with the possible exception of congested federal dockets-we uphold the district court's exercise of jurisdiction and proceed to determine the merits.").
(316.) Hooks v. Hooks, 771 F.2d 935, 942 (6th Cir. 1985). This qualification is unremarkable, as federal courts generally are not supposed to resolve issues of state law; cf. Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 628 F.3d 1191, 1193 (9th Cir. 2011) (certifying a question of state law to the California Supreme Court on which no controlling precedent existed).
(317.) Burt Neuborne, The Myth of Parity, 90 Harv. L. Rev. 1105, 005-06 (1977).
(318.) Id. at 1131.
(319.) Hart, supra note 174, at 1363-64.
(320.) Id. at 1364; see also U.S. Const, art. Ill, [section] 2, cl. 2.
(321.) Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 216.
(322.) Hart, supra note 174, at 1365.
(323.) Amar, Two Tiers of Federal Jurisdiction, supra note 214, at 216.
(324.) Neuborne, supra note 317, at 1105.
(325.) Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 494 n.35 (1976).
(326.) Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 759 (1991) (Blackmun, J., dissenting).
(328.) U.S. Const, art. VI, cl. 2.
(329.) The FEDERALIST No. 44, supra note 224, at 286 (James Madison).
(330.) Coleman, 501 U.S. at 759 (Blackmun, J., dissenting).
(331.) Id.; see also William J. Brennan, Jr., Federal Habeas Corpus and State Prisoners: An Exercise in Federalism, 7 Utah L. Rev. 423, 442 (1961) ("Federalism is a device for realizing the concepts of decency and fairness which are among the fundamental principles of liberty and justice lying at the base of all our civil and political institutions.").
(332.) Coleman, 501 U.S. at 759 (Blackmun, J., dissenting).
(334.) See V.L. v. E.L., No. 15-648, 2016 WL 854160 (U.S. Mar. 7, 2016) (per curiam).
(335.) Though this Note addresses only the domestic-relations exception, its analysis also carries heavy implications for the lawfulness of other doctrines that might be invoked to limit the scope of federal-question jurisdiction, including the probate exception to federal jurisdiction. See Markham v. Allen, 326 U.S. 490, 494 (1946) ("[A] federal court has no jurisdiction to probate a will or administer an estate...."). Notably, in 2006, the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the probate exception much as it had earlier narrowed the domestic-relations exception, expressly echoing Ankenbrandt. Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 311 (2006) (confining the probate exception to "the general principle that, when one court is exercising in rem jurisdiction over a res, a second court will not assume in rem jurisdiction over the same res"). Under the reasoning provided in this Note, applying the probate exception to federal questions would likely be unlawful, although this is ultimately a question for another day.
(336.) Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 177 (1803).
Yale Law School, J.D. expected 2016. I am grateful to Akhil Reed Amar, Robert Black, Philip C. Bobbitt, Nicholas Parrillo, Allison Anna Tait, and Alec Webley for their help, support, and feedback. I also thank Jane Ostrager, Hyungwoo Lee, Marissa Roy, Elizabeth Ingriselli, Charlie Bridge, Rebecca Lee, Michael Clemente, and the extraordinary editors of the Yale Law Journal for their invaluable suggestions and tireless efforts over the course of the production process. All errors are entirely my own. This Note is dedicated to Steven G. Calabresi, the epitome of a wise, warmhearted, and generous mentor, from whom I have learned so much and still have so much to learn.
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|Title Annotation:||II. The Case for Applying the Exception to Federal Questions C. The Precedential Argument through Conclusion, with footnotes, p. 1395-1427|
|Author:||Silverman, Bradley G.|
|Publication:||Yale Law Journal|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2016|
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