|Bulletin n. 2/2016|
Mandilk James G.
|The Modification of Decrees in the Original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court|
|in Yale Law Journal (The) , vol. 125 - n. 7 , 2016|
|Interstate disputes in the Supreme Courtís original jurisdiction often implicate long-term interests, such as state boundaries or rights to interstate bodies of water. Decades after the Court issues a ruling in an original jurisdiction case, the parties may ask the Court to revise its decree. However, the Courtís current standard for considering modification requests is underdeveloped and inconsistent. With the rights of entire state populations on the line, there are strong considerations on both sides: interests in ensuring that an original jurisdiction decree is sufficiently final, but also in ensuring that in the event of significant, unexpected changes, the Supreme Court can modify its decree. This Note surveys all original jurisdiction cases since 1791 and concludes that the Court revises its decrees far more often than its purported standard would suggest. It then proposes a clearer finality principle that accurately reflects its behavior and effectively accommodates the competing needs for finality and justice. Tracing the historical development of decree modifications from the days of Lord Francis Bacon through the merger of law and equity and onward to the Courtís recent institutional-reform cases, this Note argues that the general finality principle that has developed through these cases in the district courts is normatively and descriptively superior to the one-off test announced by the Supreme Court in original jurisdiction cases.|