To make a point about frivolous lawsuits, Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers is suing God.
Although such a case might have political or social merits, my first thought was that a cheeky court willing to hear Chambers would come to the same conclusion as the court in Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, where a Pennsylvania court found that it lacked jurisdiction over Satan (who was being sued), as the defendant was "a foreign prince" probably beyond that court's jurisdictional reach.
It occurs to me, however, that suing God might present a different set of jurisdictional issues than suing Satan. I'll merely get the conversation started and hope that you all can expand it via the comments:
- Foreseeability: Here the omniknowledgeability (yes, I shall create that word) of The Almighty works against He/She/It if He/She/It wants to avoid lawsuit in Nebraska. Even if God is a non-resident of Nebraska (naturally, you'd need to test for domicile to determine its status), the ability of God to foresee that its actions would cause in-state injury could subject it to Nebraska's jurisdiction under Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984). Of course, Chambers's complaint would still need to arise out of these Nebraska-directed-Almighty actions, as Calder concerns specific personal jurisdiction. To satisfy the broader general personal jurisdiction standard, God's actions would need to satisfy the continuous and systematic contacts that SCOTUS reiterated in Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408 (1984).
- One Person, All Persons? If we're talking about a Triune God, it's unclear to me whether getting jurisdiction of One Person is sufficient, or whether jurisdiction of all Three Persons must be obtained. Since tag jurisdiction – transient jurisdiction where notice is served on a party while that party is physically in the jurisdiction (e.g. visiting friends) – does not apply to corporations, an analogous jurisdictional limit might apply to a deity with multiple instantiations. See Burnham v. Superior Court, 495 U.S. 604, 609 n.1 (1990).
- Book of Mormon Connection? Although various Mormon scholars believe that the Book of Mormon describes God as physically present in the Great Lakes region several hundred years ago, it is unclear if God was physically present in Nebraska at this time, or whether these corporeal contacts should even factor in to determining jurisdiction several hundred years later.
- Other jurisdictional possibilities are out there, – Agency Law, Foreign Relations, etc. – so please feel free to add them in the comments section. Also note that Australian cinema has already addressed this question.
Update (9/21/07): God has answered the complaint and is disputing jurisdiction.