2001 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal Thomas Jefferson Prize for Best Student Note


The Internet has created a blossoming cyber-economy and a new way of conducting business. Unfortunately for those looking for jurisdictional certainty, however, cyberspace also effectively eliminates geographic boundaries. The unprecedented circumstances set by this new frontier have put federal courts in the unenviable position of deciding whether Internet-based cases meet diversity jurisdiction requirements. Examining the constitutional history and recent use of diversity, this Note argues that the Founders did not foresee an era where every contract or sales case would end up in federal court; rather, they intended diversity jurisdiction to be a rare and perhaps temporary proposition. The author argues that the potential of Internet-based contacts to throw a large number of cases into federal court could overburden the federal system. This Note suggests that the solution to this problem lies in courts following the Founder's intent.