jurisdiction; forum; civil procedure; civil litigation


The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States induced immediate speculation about how his tenure would affect various areas of the law. In civil-procedure circles, the intuition is that his status as a probusiness, antiregulation Republican seems likely to push procedural doctrine generally in pro-defendant directions. That intuition seems sound in the specific procedural subtopic of jurisdictional doctrine relating to forum selection. In this Essay, I document recent pre-Trump, pro-defendant trends in personal jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction, and I detail how those trends impose significant burdens on plaintiffs. I then explain why the remainder of Trump’s presidency is likely to entrench those trends through judicial appointments, rulemaker stasis, and congressional efforts. The result is likely to be less an alteration of pre-Trump law than a reinforcement and expansion of it.