No Welcome Mat, No Problem?: Federal-Question Jurisdiction after Grable


For nearly 20 years, the Supreme Court’s federal-question jurisprudence was muddied after the Court’s decision in Merrell-Dow. Last term, the Court issued a much-needed clarification in Grable. But that clarification needs clarification. In this Article, Professor Ryan endeavors to provide a candid synthesis of what the law is after Grable. While this area is rich with debate about what the law should be, a candid post-Grable synthesis is needed both to guide courts and to provide a common ground for these debates. Even such a modest task, however, is formidable. Federal-question jurisdiction is not a concept that can be viewed without its historical and theoretical underpinnings. And a bald reading of Grable does not reveal the nuances that exist, as many years of precedent have been synthesized into a new test. Professor Ryan traces the evolution of the meaning of the words “arising under” in the federal-question statute up to and through Grable and analyzes the new test in light of history, evolution, and policy.



Date of this Version

January 2006