58 Alb. L. Rev. 575 (1994-1995)
The Supreme Court Waves Good-Bye to Frye: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

handle is hein.journals/albany58 and id is 585 raw text is: NOTE
THE SUPREME COURT WAVES GOOD-BYE TO
FRYE: DAUBERT V. MERRELL DOW
PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. *
I. INTRODUCTION
On June 28, 1993, the last day of the 1992-1993 term, the United
States Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision, Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,' and flung open the doors of the
district courts to expert witnesses. Ending a twenty-year inter-
circuit split, the Court unanimously held2 that the Federal Rules of
Evidence3 superseded the general acceptance standard for expert
scientific evidence-a standard which had been first enunciated in
Frye v. United States4 and had come under increasing criticism over
the previous two decades.5 In lieu of this standard, the Supreme
Court, interpreting articles IV and VII of the Federal Rules of Evi-
 In memory of Richard J. Kitzinger.
1 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993).
2 Written by Justice Blackmun, the opinion was unanimous with respect to parts I and II-A.
Justices White, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas joined Justice Blackmun with
respect to parts II.B., II.C., III, and IV. Chief Justice Rehnquist filed an opinion concurring in
part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Stevens joined. Id.
3 Enacted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence do not use the language general
acceptance in establishing a criterion for the admissibility of expert testimony. FED. R. EVID.
art. VII. The legislative history surrounding Article VII is similarly silent as to the effect of
the Federal Rules of Evidence on the Frye test. See Rules of Evidence: Hearings Before the
Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. (1974); Proposed Rules of Evidence:
Hearings Before the Special Subcomm. on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws of the House
Comm. on the Judiciary, 93d Cong., 1st Sess. (1974); S. REP. No. 1277, 93d Cong., 2d Sess.
(1974), reprinted in 1974 U.S.C.C.A.N. 7051; H.R. CONF. REP. No. 1597, 93d Cong., 2d Sess.
(1974), reprinted in 1974 U.S.C.C.A.N. 7098; H.R. REP. No. 650, 93d Cong., 1st Sess. (1974),
reprinted in 1974 U.S.C.C.A.N. 7075.
4 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923). The District of Columbia Circuit Court held that while
courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well-recognized
scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be
sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it
belongs. Id. at 1014 (emphasis added). This proposition will be referred to throughout this
Note as the Frye test. For a more detailed analysis of the general acceptance test, see infra
notes 21-100 and accompanying text.
5 See infra notes 40-100 and accompanying text.

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