This article is about choice of law, not jurisdiction. Suffice it that the court of appeals was prepared to equate a damp Convair with a Cunarder. It is a very interesting fact that in admirality cases, unlike diversity cases, the governing substantive law, in whatever court, is predominantly federal; the Supreme Court has consistently held that the grant of admiralty jurisdiction to federal courts by the Constitution gives federal judges power to create federal decisional law, although the similarly worded diversity grant does not. If this distinction is justifiable, it must be because of the different purposes the Court has perceived in the two jurisdictional provisions. The admiralty clause is said to represent a policy of uniform federal regulation of the shipping industry, while diversity jurisdiction exists only to protect nonresidents from local prejudice in the administration of state law.
David P. Currie,
The Choice Among State Laws in Maritime Death Cases,
21 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol21/iss3/1