Washington Law Review


Eric Stein


The modest purpose of this paper is to inquire, in a specific contemporary context, why, by whom, and through what process a uniform rule is accepted or imposed in place of diverse rules. The first, methodological part of the paper offers a pattern for an analysis; the second part applies the pattern and illustrates the working of the process in the field of family law. I have chosen family law because in that field there has traditionally been concern for regional differences and because there has been an instructive interplay between regional and central powers. It may not come as a surprise that the inquiry will lead us to issues at the heart of the federal process. Moreover, the institutional analysis will bring us to the threshold of societal problems arising out of cultural heterogeneity and caused by value conflicts of private against public good and equality against individual achievement.

First Page