Judge Alito dissenting on the exclusive initial jurisdiction of the Supreme Court


In an order issued yesterday, the Supreme Court dismissed a motion filed by the state of Texas for leave to file a lawsuit against the state of California over a California law that prohibits travel funded or sponsored by the state in any state whose laws do not meet specified standards of discrimination.

In an interesting dissent (pp. 12-21 here) which does not touch on the substance of California law, Justice Alito, joined by Justice Thomas, argues that the statutory mandate of Congress that the “Supreme Court will have original jurisdiction and exclusive on all controversies between two or more states ”obliges the court to allow Texas to file its complaint. Noting that the Court’s action “is in accordance with a practice which the Court has followed for the past 45 years”, Alito objects that the Court “has never provided a convincing justification for this practice”.

I’m sure judges give themselves the luxury of choosing which cases they want to decide, but when it comes to a state-to-state complaint, hopefully they will provide a rationale. convincing to act in apparent disregard of the Congressional Mandate.


Thelma J. Longworth

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