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46 Stanford Law Review 1447 (1994)


Federal district courts have viewed the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 as a mandate to adopt procedural rules inconsistent with existing law. But in this article, Professor Robel argues that the Act neither compels nor authorizes such local deviations. Citing examples from reforms underway in district courts nationwide, Professor Robel contends that courts' assertions of broad rulemaking authority rest on a misreading of the Act and of the compromise between Congress and the judiciary that led to its passage. Professor Robel cautions that the goal of national uniformity underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure should not be compromised lightly. However, she argues that, while probably unwise, the Civil Justice Reform Act was within Congress' con- stitutional power to enact. She concludes by urging rulemakers to more care- fully consider the costs and benefits of local rules.