Helping Students to Organize Their Thoughts About the Erie Doctrine

Volume 99

William Casto

This little Essay presents a framework for teaching the Erie Doctrine. It is not a grand analysis of the federal courts’ puzzle. It does not even offer a wondrously insightful vision of one of the puzzle’s colorful pieces. Rather, the purpose is quite modest. The essay simply aims to help students to organize their thoughts about whether a particular legal issue is governed by state or federal law. Given the Essay’s limited and wholly heuristic purpose, the usual endless parade of all possible cases and the careful rehearsal of exquisite and finely-tuned factors and considerations are eschewed.

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