Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1

Document 44

Mossman v. Higginson

4 Dall. 12 1800

By the Court: The decisions on this subject, govern the present case; and the eleventh section of the judiciary act can, and must receive a construction, consistent with the constitution. It says, it is true, in general terms, that the circuit court shall have cognizance of suits "where an alien is a party;" but as the legislative power of confering jurisdiction on the federal courts, is in this respect, confined to suits between citizens and foreigners, we must so expound the terms of the law, as to meet the case, "where, indeed, an alien is one party," but a citizen is the other. Neither the constitution, nor the act of congress, regard, on this point, the subject of the suit, but the parties. A description of the parties is therefore indispensable to the exercise of jurisdiction. There is here no such description. . . .

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1, Document 44
The University of Chicago Press

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