Seventh Circuit Review


In Bennett v. Southwest Airlines Co., the Seventh Circuit was asked to rule on the contours of federal question jurisdiction. In the court’s analysis, it offered a recitation of the evolution of the boundaries of federal question jurisdiction where federal issues are embedded in state law claims. This history, especially in the Supreme Court, has been characterized by change. Much of the first 100 years of federal question jurisdiction, governed by the statutory grant of § 1331, was more broadly defined than the recent interpretation represented by the "Modern Test" announced by the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Engineering & Manufacturing. The trend on the national level appears to be moving towards greater restrictions on the types of cases that gain access to the federal courts. In particular, the recent introduction of caseload factors into the jurisdictional calculus, through the second prong of the Modern Test, raises questions as to whether these restrictions may have gone too far. This Note discusses the Seventh Circuit’s application of the Supreme Court's new Modern Test and reviews the implications of the caseload prong.

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