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53 Nw. U. L. Rev. 541 (1958-1959)
Erie Doctrine and the Constitution

handle is hein.journals/illlr53 and id is 551 raw text is: Northwestern University
LAW REVIEW
VOLUME 53         NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1958              NUMBER 5
The Erie Doctrine and the Constitution*
By Alfred Hill
IV. The Effectuation of State Policy in the Federal Courts:
Questions of Substantive Law
(a) General Considerations
T HE problems faced by the federal courts in the effectuation of
state policy can probably be seen in better perspective if note
is briefly taken of problems faced by the state courts in effectuat-
ing the policies of other states.
When a court sitting in State B undertakes to adjudicate a con-
troversy having all its contacts with State A, the court is compelled
by the Constitution to apply the law of State A.159 Whether the
court of State B in such a case is really applying the law of
State A, or whether it is applying the internal law of State B as
shaped by constitutional exigency is beside the point-whatever
usefulness this type of analysis may have for the solution of cer-
tain types of problems,60 it is without apparent relevance here.
But the issues of conflict of laws on the state level, with which
we are concerned, are usually a good deal more complicated. For
one thing, the controversy may have significant contacts with
more than one state. It then becomes necessary to make a choice
of the law to be applied. Even if foreign law is deemed to be
applicable in the light of traditional choice of law rules, and the
claimed right is valid under such foreign law, the question never-
theless remains of the extent to which the forum state is free, in
pursuance of its own policy, to bar enforcement of the claimed
right in its own courts. Again, even when it has been determined
that the controversy should be resolved in accordance with the
foreign law, there remains the necessity of drawing a line between
* This article is the second of two installments. The first appeared in the previous
issue of this Review. Byrd v. Blue Ridge Rural Elec. Coop., 356 U.S. 525 (1958),
which was not discussed in the first installment, is referred to herein where relevant,
but particularly at pp. 601-07 infra.
159. Home Ins. Co. v. Dick, 281 U.S. 397 (1930).
160. See CooK, THE LoGICAL AND LEGAL BASES OF THE CON-mcr OF LAWS
(1942), particularly ch. 1; Cheatham, American Theories of Conflict of Laws: Their
Role and Utility, 58 HARv. L. REv. 361 (1945).
541

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