I will focus on a different, less discussed front: federal common law. The ALI’s influence on this front is more recent.
Legislative Recommendations (excerpt of the Revised Style Manual approved by the ALI Council in January 2015)The American Law InstituteModel or uniform codes or statutes and other statutory proposals are addressed mainly to legislatures, with a view toward legislative enactment. a. Nature of Model Codes. Unlike its Restatements, the Institute’s legislative recommendations are written with a view...
Questions have been raised in recent meetings of our Advisers and Members Consultative Groups, particularly in connection with our newly launched Restatement of Copyright, about what role our Restatements can play in areas in which there is a comprehensive federal statute.
In an effort to show that the ALI’s influence is not confined to the states, in my last letter I focused on the impact of our work on the development of federal common law, both in the Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. In this letter, I look more specifically at the use of ALI materials by the Supreme Court during the 2013 to 2015 Terms.
Linking these two iconic institutions in American law might seem strange at first glance. As we all know, the ALI is the most prominent law reform organization in the United States. Its charter states that it was established “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law.” The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is the bane of every law review editor’s existence and the most important force in promoting consistency in legal citations.