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Lewis & Clark Law Review

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This Essay contrasts the jurisdictional regime followed in termination of parental rights and other child custody cases with the regime that has dominated recent Supreme Court personal jurisdiction cases. Jurisdiction in child custody cases has long been based upon the connection of the child, not the defendant parent, to the jurisdiction. Recent Supreme Court cases, on the other hand, have focused nearly exclusively on the defendant’s connection to the forum state. This Essay argues that the Supreme Court cases betray a failure of the Court to provide a consistent constitutional justification for the jurisdictional limitations it has imposed. The Essay suggests that the regime followed in child custody cases can be reconciled with the various justifications that the Court has offered for limiting the scope of personal jurisdiction and further suggests that the child custody jurisdictional regime provides a useful example of a constitutionally permissible jurisdictional regime based upon the interest of the forum state in resolving the dispute and the connection of the litigation to the forum state.


First published in the Lewis & Clark Law Review at 19 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 811 (2015).



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