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This article, written as part of a symposium celebrating the work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the occasion of her fifteenth year on the Supreme Court, examines the strain of sensible legal pragmatism that informs Justice Ginsburg's writing in the fields of Civil Procedure and Federal Jurisdiction. Taking as its point of departure the Supreme Court's decision in City of Chicago v. International College of Surgeons, in which Ginsburg dissented, the article develops an argument against strict textualism in federal jurisdictional analysis. In its place, the article urges a purposive mode of interpretation that approaches jurisdictional text with a presumption in favor of respecting and preserving stable institutional arrangements unless Congress's purpose in altering those arrangements is clear - an analytical mode that Justice Ginsburg's work exemplifies.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jurisdiction, Civil Procedure, Textualism, Statutory Interpretation, Supreme Court, Pragmatism, Federal Courts

Publication Title

Ohio State Law Journal

Publication Citation

70 Ohio St. L.J. 839 (2009).