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The U.S. Supreme Court's 2002–2003 Decisions on Federal Court Access

By Jane Perkins, Gill Deford, Matthew Diller & Gary F. Smith

In its 2002–2003 term the U.S. Supreme Court issued several opinions of interest to practitioners in legal services. Most significant, the Court upheld the constitutionality of Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account programs and, in a case examining states' sovereign immunity, allowed private individuals to sue for violations of the Family Medical Leave Act. The Court reaffirmed the importance of consistent application of the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment; expanded the concept of standing; made positive references to the class action mechanism; addressed ripeness and supplemental jurisdiction; expanded the scope of federal removal jurisdiction; and considered the jurisdiction of federal magistrate judges.

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