Commentary and analysis of five cases decided by the Supreme Court on its 1990-91 docket. Cases discussed include Carnival Cruise Lines Inc. v. Shute; International Primate Protection League v. Administrators of Tulane Educational Fund; Salve Regina v. Russell; Connecticut v. Doehr; and Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete. In Carnival Cruise Lines, the Court endorsed, extended, and upheld as enforceable the use of forum-selection clauses in consumer contracts. The contractual forum selection clause at issue was contained in a cruise passenger’s ticket, specifying Miami, Florida as the litigation forum. The court based its decision on its precedent in The Bremen v. Zapata Off-shore Co., in which the Court previously upheld forum selection clauses in commercial contracts. In International Primate Protection League, a unanimous Court held that the League had standing to challenge the removal of a state case to federal court, determining that the concrete injury requirement was satisfied by the loss of the League’s right to sue in the forum of its choice – Louisiana state court – and this injury was directly traceable to the defendant’s action in removing the case to federal court. In Salve Regina College, the Court held that an appellate court must provide a de novo review of a district court judge’s determination of applicable law, a departure from the long-standing rule of appellate deference to district court determinations of state law. In Connecticut v. Doehr, the Court struck down Connecticut’s prejudgment attachment statute as a violation of due process. The Court modified its prevailing test in Mathews v. Eldridge, setting forth a new three-part test. Finally, in Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., the Court simply held that race-based exclusion of jurors through preemptory challenges in civil cases violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
Linda S. Mullenix, Supreme Court Review: Forum Shoppers Should Discover a Wider Market, National Law Journal, Aug. 19, 1991, at S12.