Relations between the Federal and State Courts

By Mitchell Wendell | Go to book overview

Part III
SWIFT V.TYSON:AN EXPERIMENT IN NATION-WIDE UNIFORMITY

CHAPTER VI
THE COMMON LAW

THAT it was obligatory on the states to abide by judgments of the federal judiciary was seriously disputed only during the first generation or so after the adoption of the Constitution. Martin v. Hunter's Lessee laid the question of open warfare between national and state courts at rest, but that case left a number of equally important matters for later disposition. It should be remembered that neither the Constitution nor Martin v. Hunter's Lessee stands for the proposition that the state courts are merely inferior members of a national legal organization. Of course, the Supreme Court of the United States has a power of review wherever interests., of a federal nature require it. It is equally true, however, that the primary function of our state judiciaries is the enforcement of state law, and in this field their authority is usually final.

If it were possible to keep all questions of local law in the state courts and all matters of federal law in national courts, the relations among our several judicial systems would be fairly simple. Each set of courts would complement the others,

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