The federal diversity statute grants alienage jurisdiction
to "foreign citizens" and "foreign statutes," allowing them
to bring state-law claims against U.S. citizens in federal
'court. When the European Community (EC), an
intergovernmental organization of European states, sued
an American corporation for state-law violations, for the
first time a federal court had to determine whether the EC
qualified as a foreign state. The EC argued that it was
essentially a foreign state for the purposes of alienage
jurisdiction. Relying on the definition of foreign state in
the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA),
which the diversity statute references, the court
determined that the EC was a supranational organization
that was independent of its member states, yet it could not
properly be considered a foreign state.
This Note argues that the definition of foreign state for
alienage jurisdiction should be decoupled from the FSIA's
definition because the FSIA's definition does not account
for supranational organizations like the EC. The
definition of foreign state in the diversity statute should
provide a framework for federal courts to consider state-
law claims of supranational organizations. This change
would not only effectuate the policy justifications behind
alienage jurisdiction, but it would also retain the
definition of foreign state that Congress created for
determining foreign sovereign immunity.
Dixon, John T.
"Supranational Diversity: Why Federal Courts Should Have Diversity Jurisdiction Over Cases Involving Supranational Organizations Like the European Union,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 47:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol47/iss1/7