Article Title

Waiving Jurisdiction


This Article explains why courts treat subject-matter jurisdiction as sacrosanct, demonstrates why this reaction is unwarranted, and advocates that, in cases like Kroger, a defect in the district court’s subject-matter jurisdiction should be deemed waived if not raised before trial begins or any adjudication is made on the merits.

This Article proceeds in four parts. Part I briefly reviews why the current system of strong rhetoric, riddled with myriad exceptions, is cumbersome, confusing, and unnecessary. Part II examines other structural constitutional doctrines that courts have nonetheless deemed waivable: mootness, sovereign immunity, and territorial conceptions of personal jurisdiction. In Part III, the Article explores why these other doctrines provide justifications for the waivability of constitutional subject-matter jurisdiction. Finally, Part IV demonstrates how this new proposal could extend beyond jurisdiction to other justiciability doctrines and statutory prerequisites to suit.

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Jurisdiction Commons