Federal Jurisdiction—Fannie Mae

Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp., No. 14-1055

The Federal National Mortgage Association—better known as “Fannie Mae”—is a quasi-governmental enterprise that operates under a federal charter but that has private owners. Fannie Mae’s charter authorizes the entity to sue and be sued “in any court of competent jurisdiction, State or Federal.” 12 U.S.C. § 1723a(a). The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether that provision confers original jurisdiction on the federal courts for any case in which Fannie Mae is a party.

Such sue-and-be-sued clauses arise in a variety of federal statutes, involving individuals and entities such as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. The United States filed a certiorari-stage brief taking the position that Fannie Mae’s charter does not provide district courts with original jurisdiction of suits brought by or against Fannie Mae.