Lawrence B. Solum

Corporations and the Original Meaning of “Citizens” in Article III

Co-author(s)
Moller, Mark
PUBLISHER
Hastings Law Journal
DATE
2020
 

Abstract

Article III grants confers the judicial power of the United States over controversies between "citizens" of different states. In Section 1332(c) of Title 28 of the United States Code, Congress has provided that for the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, corporations are citizens of the state in which they are incorporated and the state in which their principal place of business is located. This raises the question whether corporations are citizens within the original public meaning of Article III of the Constitution. This Article demonstrates that in 1787 the word "citizen" referred only to natural persons and therefore that corporations cannot be considered "citizens" within the original public meaning of Article III. As a consequence, Section 1332(c) is unconstitutional from an originalist perspective.

Citation

Mark Moller & Lawrence B. Solum, Corporations and the Original Meaning of “Citizens” in Article III, 72 Hastings Law Journal 169-228 (2020).
 

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