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Courts

Duke Law

Separation of powers

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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

A General Defense Of Erie Railroad Co. V. Tompkins, Ernest A. Young Jan 2013

A General Defense Of Erie Railroad Co. V. Tompkins, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins was the most important federalism decision of the Twentieth Century. Justice Brandeis’s opinion for the Court stated unequivocally that “[e]xcept in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the state. . . . There is no federal general common law.” Seventy-five years later, however, Erie finds itself under siege. Critics have claimed that it is “bereft of serious intellectual or constitutional support” (Michael Greve), based on a “myth” that must be “repressed” (Craig Green), and even “the worst decision of ...


Checks And Balances: Congress And The Federal Court, Paul D. Carrington Jan 2006

Checks And Balances: Congress And The Federal Court, Paul D. Carrington

Faculty Scholarship

This essay was published as a chapter in Reforming the Supreme Court: Term Limits for Justices (Paul D. Carrington & Roger Cramton eds, Carolina Academic Press 2006). Its point is that Congress has long neglected its duty implicit in the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers to constrain the tendency of the Court, the academy and the legal profession to inflate the Court's status and power. The term "life tenure" is a significant source of a sense of royal status having not only the adverse cultural effects noted by Nagel, but also doleful effects on the administration and enforcement of ...