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2022

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Brigham Young University

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Acid Rain: Detoxifying Diversity Jurisdiction’S Poisonous Cycle, Baerett Nelson, Gavyn Roedel Apr 2022

Acid Rain: Detoxifying Diversity Jurisdiction’S Poisonous Cycle, Baerett Nelson, Gavyn Roedel

Brigham Young University Prelaw Review

Diversity jurisdiction authorizes federal courts to act as impartial tribunals over certain matters of state law. To preserve states' judicial sovereignty, the US Supreme Court has prohibited diversity courts from directly interpreting state law, holding that federal courts must "predict" the legal outcome as if a state court had adjudicated. However, litigant abuse hinders consistency in legal outcomes. Discrepancies between courts spur forum shopping, which cyclically generates more legal incongruence. This paper identifies a "toxic cycle" plaguing diversity jurisdiction and offers five prescriptions which courts and Congress must use to reverse it.