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Choice of Law
Federal statutory law, enacted pursuant to constitutional
authority, is clearly controlling over state statutory and
decisional law. U.S. Const. Art. VI, cl. 2. Frequently, the
federal law applicable in government litigation is decisional
rather than statutory. See, e.g., Clearfield Trust Co. v. United
States, supra; United States v. Little Lake Misere Land Co., 412
U.S. 580, 590-94 (1973); United States v. View Crest Garden
Apartments, Inc., 268 F.2d 380 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 361 U.S.
884 (1959). Thus, the rights of parties to government contracts
and negotiable instruments are to be determined by federal rather
than state law. See Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, supra;
United States v. Allegheny County, 322 U.S. 174 (1944); United
States v. First National Bank of Atlanta, Ga., supra; cf. Free v.
Bland, 369 U.S. 663 (1962). The rationale for this rule is found
in the necessity for uniform construction and application of such
contracts and instruments throughout the United States. See
Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, supra; T.H. Rogers Lumber
Co. v. Apel, 468 F.2d 14 (10th Cir. 1972). |
The relationship between federal and state law was significantly affected by the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Kimbell Foods, Inc., supra. See Commercial Litigation Branch Monograph "Choice of Laws Decisions in Federal Courts after Kimbell Foods" (November 1983).