Simona Grossi


My goal is not to categorize, critique, or refine existing doctrine, but to challenge the idea that the Supreme Court’s case-by-case approach to personal jurisdiction represents an arc of progress. In my view, all too often the Court’s apparent refinements operate as detours from the fundamental principles at stake. The result is a clutter of doctrinal tests that is inconsistent with principle and confuses more than it informs. In Part II, I briefly explore the traditional bases of jurisdiction and the Court’s elaboration of the minimum contacts test in International Shoe Co. v. State of Washington. 9 Here, I show that both the traditional and minimum contacts approaches are premised largely on the existence of connecting factors and reasonable expectations. In short, each form operates (with one exception) from the perspective of fundamental principles unadorned by doctrinal explication. Part III shows how the Court’s post-International Shoe jurisprudence has elevated fact-driven and case-specific doctrine over the underlying fundamental principles. This phenomenon is particularly apparent with respect to the purposeful availment requirement and with the standards applied to the stream-of-commerce and effects tests. Here, I also examine some of the resulting confusion in lower courts. Part IV offers and defends a model statute that is designed to return personal jurisdiction to a fundamental-principles approach shorn of restrictive and redundant doctrine. Part V offers concluding remarks.