After briefly cataloging the types of federal court cases that raise difficult conceptual issues regarding personal jurisdiction, this article will explore in detail the possible function and content of a uniquely federal concept of personal jurisdiction.
After rejecting functions based on constitutional concern for litigant convenience" and federalism of the Erie R.R. v. Tompkins vein, other roles for the concept will be considered. This exploration will be expanded to consider the functions presently served by limitations on service of process and federal venue and the ability of those doctrines to subsume all useful aspects of the personal jurisdiction inquiry. A substantial departure from existing doctrine will be advocated including a uniquely federal concept of personal jurisdiction predicated on the "presence" of defendant within the United States, abandonment of most limits on service of process and original venue, and a heavy reliance on transfer of venue to protect litigant convenience and judicial efficiency. The gravest concerns regarding those changes will be seen to involve forum shopping for favorable choice of law. The ultimate genesis of these concerns resides in the structure of the American federal system, it is not attributable to the advocated changes in methodology of asserting the federal judicial power. Nevertheless, in the later stages of the article, an argument will be made in favor of a federal choice of law rule as the best means of minimizing the potential evils of forum shopping that arise under the advocated system. Taken together, these several changes provide a more effective basis for operating a unified system of federal courts in the present highly complex federal system.
Robert Haskell Abrams, Power, Convenience, and the Elimination of Personal Jurisdiction in the Federal Courts, 58 Ind. L.J. 1 (1982)