Document Type


Citation Information

Please cite to the original publication


Federal jurisdiction and practice still remains the lawyer's dream world. As the editors here point out, before the 1934 Act authorizing new rules of civil procedure, federal practice was "a comparatively placid pool," with the votaries thereof accepting with equanimity the complexities of conformity and the dominion of "general" law, "peculiarities which however strange to the tyro possessed a pleasurable element of the esoteric." How true this was! The pleasures and the mysteries of the federal field were distinctly matters for the expert with the knowledge as well as the kind of mind to know and to enjoy these problems. Then came the persistent and successful reform of the procedure itself, but it was accompanied by a drastic revulsion against general law in favor of the substantive law of the several states. That kept the balance of indecision about the same as before. Moreover, in spite of some appeals for reform, nothing substantial has been done to make clear such mysteries as the confines and the boundaries of federal jurisdiction, removal of cases from state courts, the separable controversy, the jurisdictional amount, venue, service of process, and the federal question. Indeed, these seem to increase in complexity as the spate of federal regulatory legislation brings more and more cases to the federal courts. It is a field of law both fascinating and important-a proper subject for a law course. That clients may suffer from unneeded complexities perhaps should not overdistress us; we should remember Baron Surrebutter's famous answer to Crogate's inquiry as to how the suitors liked the new sort of changes afforded by rules of special pleading in 1834: "Mr. Crogate, that consideration has never occurred to me, nor do I conceive that laws ought to be adapted to suit the tastes and capacities of the ignorant."

Date of Authorship for this Version



Book Review: Cases and Materials on Federal Courts, 55 Yale Law Journal 853 (1946)

Included in

Law Commons