Vanderbilt Law Review


Joe H. Foy

First Page



In the recent case of National Mutual Insurance Ca. v. Tidewater Transfer Co.,' the Act of April 20, 1940, allowing citizens of the District of Columbia and of the territories to sue and be sued in the district courts on the basis of diverse citizenship, was held constitutional insofar as it applies to citizens of the District of Columbia. The practical effect of the decision, in allowing Congress to remove a basic inequality among citizens of the United States, is perhaps commendable. However, there are broad theoretical implications in this holding, emphasized by sharp debate among the justices, which could go far toward eliminating important limitations upon the capacity of federal courts to receive jurisdiction through congressional enactment. Some of the implications of the decision will be discussed in this Note, without attempting to give complete or positive answers to the questions raised or to treat fully the historical development of the federal court system. As a basis for this discussion certain postulates of constitutional law which have long been accepted as ultimate limitations upon the jurisdiction of the federal courts must be noticed.