Hodgson v. Bowerbank
United States Supreme Court
5 Cranch (9 U.S.) 303, 3 L. Ed. 108 (1809)
A group of British citizens (the British citizens) (plaintiffs) sued several merchants (the merchants) (defendants) in federal circuit court. The complaint filed by the British citizens stated that the merchants lived in Maryland but did not assert that the merchants were citizens of Maryland. The British citizens believed that the federal court had jurisdiction over the case under § 11 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which gave federal courts jurisdiction over all cases in which a noncitizen was a party. The merchants moved to dismiss the case, arguing that § 11 of the Judiciary Act extended the jurisdiction of federal courts beyond the limits of the United States Constitution. To support their argument, the merchants highlighted Article III, § 2 of the Constitution, which explained that federal courts have jurisdiction over cases between a state or citizens of the state and a foreign state or the citizens of the foreign state. The circuit court held that it had jurisdiction over the case under the Judiciary Act. The merchants appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)
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