JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd., 536 U.S. 88, 10 (2002)

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INFRASTRUCTURE LTD. Opinion of the Court

them in these courts, and this has prevented many wealthy gentlemen from trading or residing among us." 3 id., at 583. Madison also remarked that alienage jurisdiction was necessary to "avoid controversies with foreign powers" so that a single State's courts would not "drag the whole community into war." Id., at 534; see also The Federalist No. 80, p. 536 (J. Cooke ed. 1961) (A. Hamilton) ("[A]n unjust sentence against a foreigner [may] be an aggression upon his sovereign" rendering alienage jurisdiction "essential to . . . the security of the public tranquility").

Thus, the First Congress granted federal courts the alien-age jurisdiction authorized in the Constitution, even while general federal-question jurisdiction was withheld. See Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, 11, 1 Stat. 78 (providing for jurisdiction where "an alien is a party" and more than $500 in controversy). The language of the statute was amended in 1875 to track Article III by replacing the word "aliens" with "citizens, or subjects," Act of Mar. 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 470, the phrase that remains today. Although there is no need here to decide whether the current drafting provides jurisdiction up to the constitutional hilt, cf. Tennessee v. Union & Planters' Bank, 152 U. S. 454 (1894) (despite similar language, federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. 1331 does not extend as far as Article III), there is no doubt that the similarity of 1332(a)(2) to Article III bespeaks a shared purpose.

The relationship between the BVI's powers over corporations and the sources of those powers in Crown and Parliament places the United Kingdom well within the range of concern addressed by Article III and 1332(a)(2). The United Kingdom exercises ultimate authority over the BVI's statutory law, including its corporate law and the law of corporate charter, and it exercises responsibility for the BVI's external relations. These exercises of power and responsibility point to just the kind of relationship that the Framers believed would bind sovereigns "by inclination, as well as duty, to redress the wrong[s]" against their nationals, 2 El-

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