Federal Courts Article

The Structural Safeguards of Federal Jurisdiction

Vol. 124 No. 4 Scholars have long debated Congress’s power to curb federal jurisdiction and have consistently assumed that the constitutional limits on Congress’s authority (if any) must be judicially enforceable and found in the text and structure of Article III. In this Article, I challenge that fundamental assumption. I argue that the primary constitutional protection for the federal judiciary lies instead in the bicameralism and presentment requirements of Article I. These Article I lawmaking procedures give competing political factions (even political minorities) considerable power to “veto” legislation. Drawing on recent social science and legal scholarship, I argue that political factions are particularly likely to use their structural veto to block jurisdiction-stripping legislation favored by their opponents.