In a recent article, we proposed that the Declaratory Judgment Act of 1934 was intended, contrary to the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation, to enlarge the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts. When Congress considered the Act, jurisdictional concerns centered around whether declaratory judgments would violate the case-or-controversy clause, not whether introduction of the device would expand the federal question jurisdiction Congress already had authorized. There is, indeed, substantial evidence that Congress intended to expand federal question jurisdiction to include at least two, and possibly three, case models; there is virtually no evidence supporting the contrary position taken by the Supreme Court in Skelly Oil Co. v. Phillips Petroleum Co. and subsequent cases. We concluded that a complaint seeking declaratory relief ought to be evaluated for jurisdictional purposes on its face, under the same rules as complaints seeking coercive relief. Certainly nothing in the history of the Declaratory Judgment Act suggests that a complaint seeking declaratory relief should be denied federal adjudication merely because the court would have lacked jurisdiction if the complaint instead had sought coercive relief. We therefore argued that the jurisdictional analysis prescribed by the Court in Skelly Oil should be abandoned, and that the Declaratory Judgment Act should be recognized as having created a cause of action and expanded federal question jurisdiction.
Donald L. Doernberg & Michael B. Mushlin, History Comes Calling: Dean Griswold Offers New Evidence About the Jurisdictional Debate Surrounding the Enactment of the Declaratory Judgment Act, 37 UCLA L. Rev. 139 (1989), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/48/.