Conflict of Laws - Constitutional Limitations on Choice of Law
Zenk, Ann M.
INTRODUCTION|The United States Supreme Court in Allstate Insurance Co. v. Hague held that neither the due process clause nor the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution were violated when the Minnesota Supreme Court applied its own substantive law in a choice of law situation to allow "stacking" of uninsured motorist coverage. In so holding, the Court examined what limits the federal constitution imposes on choice-of-law decisions by the states; "[o]ur sole function is to determine whether the Minnesota Supreme Court's choice of its own substantive law in this case exceeded federal constitutional limits." This casenote will examine the constitutional limitations imposed by the due process and full faith and credit clauses. The plurality opinion and dissent state that the standards restricting state choice-of-law authority under the due process and full faith and credit clause are merged, and thus the Court should take a similar approach under both clauses. Justice Stevens concurred with the majority but disagreed with them on this point, stating that a proper analysis requires a separate consideration of each clause. This casenote will argue that Stevens' opinion represents the proper analysis of the limitations on state choice-of-law decisions by the United States Constitution. This article also explores the concept of legislative jurisdiction and distinguishes it from its constitutional counterpart of judicial jurisdiction. Through an analysis of the fragmented opinions of the Court, the article concludes that Justice Stevens' approach to constitutional limitations on choice-of-law is to be preferred...
15 Creighton L. Rev. 543 (1981-1982)
Creighton University School of Law