history of the contested use of foreign law in American courts
fishman at duq.edu
fishman at duq.edu
Fri Mar 16 06:17:31 PDT 2012
For a description of reception of English law into the early republic, see
Elizabeth Gaspar Brown, British Statutes in American Law, 1776-1836
(1964). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a report in 1808 identifying
English statutes accepted into Pennsylvania, in Binney's Reports (but
don't have exact vol. and page no.).
> There is a history of popular opposition to the use of foreign law in
> American courts.
> At the time of the revolution many states passed reception statutes, i.e.,
> receiving the common law up to that time. But not all. Pennyslvania,
> originally," repealed" the common law at the start of the Revolution.
> Apparently, this proved unworkable and in 1777 received the common law
> through 1776.
> Circa 1808, in Kentucky, there was a movement to "repeal" the use of
> British (UK) precedents in KY courts. Henry Clay participated in the
> process of amending the statute. According to some histories, Clay limited
> the scope of the statute by putting in language that permitted use of
> British precedents up to 1776. According to others, Clay expanded the
> scope of the statute. Originally, the bill only prohibited the use of
> British precedent as binding authority, but Clay's amendments prohibited
> courts from considering such authority, even if not binding. I don't know
> the truth of the matter. PossiblyÂ both? But it does show that the public
> has taken an interest from time to time with regard to the applicationÂ of
> foreign law in American courts.
> Seth Barrett Tillman
> Natâl Univ. of Ireland, Lecturer of Law
> http://ssrn.com/author=345891Â Â
> Seth Barrett Tillman, Opening Statement, Citizens United and the Scope of
> Professor Teachoutâs Anti-Corruption Principle, 106 Nw. U. L. Rev.
> Colloquy (forthcoming circa April-May 2012) (on file with author),
> Â _______________________________________________
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Joel Fishman, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Lawyer Services
Co-Director, Pennsylvania Constitution Web Site
Duquesne University Center for Legal Information/
Allegheny County Law Library
921 City-County Bldg.
414 Grant St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412.350.5353; fax: 412.350.5889
email: fishman at duq.edu
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