Judy Cornett

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Florida Law Review


With elegant style and in devastating detail, Professor Michael Hoffheimer has analyzed the slow death spiral of personal jurisdiction under the Roberts Court. He accurately identifies one source of the frustration scholars and lower courts have felt in trying to make sense of the Roberts Court’s personal jurisdiction jurisprudence: the Court purports to be applying settled law while simultaneously unsettling well-established principles. Professor Hoffheimer perspicaciously describes how this sleight of hand both leads to and masks the Court’s failure “to offer a clear rule of decision,” its failure “to explain the policies that motivate its changing approach to personal jurisdiction,” and its implication that the lower courts are sloppily ignoring settled law when, in fact, they are struggling to apply the Court’s newly adopted personal jurisdiction principles. In the course of his analysis, Professor Hoffheimer displays a mastery of the history and current contours of personal jurisdiction as he urges the Court to “acknowledge” that it is recasting the law of personal jurisdiction, to “provide reasons” for its new, wildly restrictive agenda, and to “construct a narrative” that would explain why these new restrictions are required by the Due Process Clause or “some other appropriate constitutional authority.”

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