Emory Law Journal


Allan Erbsen


Constitutional law governing personal jurisdiction in state courts inspires fascination and consternation. Courts and commentators recognize the issue¿s importance, but cannot agree on the purpose that limits on personal jurisdiction serve, which clauses in the Constitution (if any) supply those limits, and whether current doctrine implementing those limits is coherent. This Article seeks to reorient the discussion by developing a framework for thinking about why and how the Constitution regulates personal jurisdiction. It concludes that principles animating the emerging field of horizontal federalism¿the constitutional relationship between states¿should guide jurisdictional rules and instigate sweeping reevaluation of modern jurisprudence. In particular, the Article questions two pillars of the Supreme Court¿s jurisprudence. More generally, the Article creates a framework for thinking about personal jurisdiction that ties the subject into analogous debates about ostensibly distinct areas of constitutional law and provides a foundation for testing competing normative critiques of modern doctrine.