Courts & Justice Law Journal
Advocatus Iustitia Aeque
1 Cts. & Just. L.J.
ARTICLE | VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
The Irrelevance of Jurisdictionality in Fort Bend County v. Davis
by Professor Scott Dodson, UC Hastings College of the Law
1 Cts. & Just. L.J. 16 (2019)
For the last fifteen years or so, the Supreme Court has fixated on questions involving the characterization of rules and statutes as “jurisdictional.” The quest began in Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, when the Court noted that jurisdiction “is a word of many, too many, meanings.” Subsequent opinions have brought new attention and thinking to questions of jurisdiction. The Court’s focus has undoubtedly had a salutary effect, especially in erecting a clearer framework for deciding such jurisdictional-characterization questions.
This laser-like focus on jurisdictionality, however, has had the unfortunate, ancillary effect of distracting from important questions about the particular effects of a rule or statute. In some cases, the question of effects is actually the real question of relevance to the case, while the jurisdictional-characterization question fades to irrelevancy. A recent case, Fort Bend County v. Davis, illustrates why.
Humoud Y. Alfadhli
Emily M. Strak
/ April 2019 / C&JLJ ___________________________