Shaffer v. Heitner is one of a long series of Supreme Court cases addressing the scope of state-court territorial authority. Indeed, Shaffer is the first of a dozen modern cases that delineated the Court's current conception of the constitutional limits on state-court jurisdictional authority.

Determining whether a court has jurisdiction to hear a dispute is an important preliminary step in any litigation. But the constitutional doctrine the Court has developed in this area is also an interesting window on the Court's more general understanding of the allocation of power among the states.

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