3 Cranch (7 U.S.) 267 (1806), argued 12 Feb. 1806, decided 13 Feb. 1806 by vote of 6 to 0; Marshall for the Court. Article III of the Constitution provides that federal judicial authority extends to controversies “between Citizens of different States.” The Strawbridge case raised for the first time the knotty problem of diversity jurisdiction involving multiple parties and produced what is known today as the rule of “complete diversity.” Construing section 11 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (the original grant of diversity jurisdiction) rather than the Constitution itself, Chief Justice John Marshall held that, where multiple parties assert different “interests,” each party must have an adequate jurisdictional basis for being in federal court. The practical effect of this holding was to require that all parties on one side must be diverse from all parties on the other. This requirement remains law today, but only as a matter of statutory construction, not as a mandate of the Constitution itself.
William M. Wiecek