The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3789, and if it
were presented to the President, the Attorney General would recommend that
he veto the bill.
H.R. 3789 would grant Federal district courts jurisdiction in almost all
class action cases where any class member is a citizen of a State different
from the State of any defendant. This would have the effect of
transferring a significant number of class actions into Federal court and
"federalizing" class action standards. States should be permitted to
manage their own courts unless it can be demonstrated that there is a
nationwide problem interfering with the fair adjudication of cases. Since
this has not been demonstrated, the responsibility for handling class
action litigation should continue to be shared between the State and
Class action litigation provides an important mechanism for vindicating the
rights of plaintiffs whose individual claims would not warrant separate
litigation and for resolving large numbers of related claims in a single
action. H.R. 3789 also would require class action cases that are not
certified in Federal court to be remanded to State courts and stripped of
their class allegations, even if such a class could have been certified
under applicable State standards. This provision would eliminate a viable
remedy for individuals suffering injuries who could not otherwise afford to
bring suit on their own and would significantly infringe on State courts'
ability to offer redress to their citizens.
H.R. 3789 would move substantial numbers of State class actions to Federal
courts at a time when the Chief Justice, among others, has expressed
serious concerns about the workload of the Federal courts. A study by the
Federal Judicial Center demonstrated that class actions are much more
resource-intensive than other kinds of civil litigation. Particularly at a
time when so many vacancies on the Federal bench exist, moving virtually
all class actions to Federal courts would be counterproductive.