The New York Times reports here ("Giving the Law a Religious Perspective," 11/22/04) on the new law school at Liberty University, beginning with this sentence:
"The class in civil procedure, at the new Liberty School of Law here, began with a prayer."
The topic in class that day was the Supreme Court's decision in Erie v. Tompkins, and the professor declared it was bad:
"The Erie decision, which is viewed as uncontroversial in much of the legal academy, represented a disastrous wrong turn, Professor Tuomala said. In ruling that federal courts may not apply general principles in some cases but must follow state laws, he said, the Supreme Court denied the possibility of 'a law that's fixed, that's uniform, that applies to everybody, everyplace, for all time.'"
Now, that's odd. I can't remember what if anything we learned in law school about the Erie doctrine, but that wasn't it. Just the other day I was thinking that questions of federal common law are a royal pain to unravel.
Ann Althouse has more here. She says, in essence, don't teach those kids to go around arguing against the Erie doctrine, that would really be a legal argument without a prayer (or something like that).