Even this statutory requirement, it is to be observed, is a limited one, its application being limited to trials at common law, the entire field of equity procedure thus being omitted from its control.16 differently by the federal courts sitting in the State and the state courts: that there would be one law when a suitor went into the state courts, and another law when the suitor went into the federalaccurts, in relation to a cause of action arising within the State, - a result which must necessarily follow if the law of the State can be disregarded upon any view which the federal judges may take of what the law of the State ought to be rather than what it is."
In the comparatively early case of Boyle v. Zacharie17 the Supreme Court said: . . . " The acts of Maryland regulating the proceedings on injunctions, and other chancery proceedings, and giving certain effects to them in courts of law, are of no force in relation to the courts of the United States.
The whole question of the binding force upon the federal courts of state laws as interpreted by the state courts is considered in the Dred Scott case (Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393; 15 L. ed. 691), a majority of the court agreeing that the court was bound by the last decision of the Missouri court as to the effect of Scott's temporary residence in a free State.
16 By an act of May 8, 1792, it was provided, that the procedure in equity cases in the federal courts should be according to the peculiar principles, rules, and usages of equity as distinguished from common law courts.
17 6 Pet. 635; 8 L. ed. 527.
"The chancery jurisdiction given by the Constitution and laws of the United States is the same in all the States of the Union, and the rule of decision is the same in all In the exercise of that jurisdiction the courts of the United States are not governed by the State practice; but the act of Congress of 1792 (ch. 36) has provided that the modes of proceeding in equity suits shall be according to the principles, rules and usages which belong to courts of equity, as contradistinguished from courts of law. And the settled doctrine of this court is, that the remedies in equity are to be administered, not according to the state practice but according to the practice of courts of equity in the parent country, as contradistinguished from courts of law, subject of course to the provisions of the act of Congress, and to such alterations and rules as in the exercise of the powers delegated by those acts, the courts of the United States may, from time to time, prescribe." 18
18 Cf. Russell v. Southard, 12 How. 139; 13 L. ed. 927; Bein v. Heath. 12 How. 168; 13 L. ed. 939; Payne v. Hook, 7 Wall. 425; 19 L. ed. 260; Robinson v. Campbell, 3 Wh. 212; 4 L. ed. 372; U. S. v. Howland, 4 Wh. 108; 4 L. ed. 526; AlcConihay v. Wright, 121 U. S. 201; 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 940; 30 L. ed. 932; Neves v. Scott, 13 How. 268; 14 L. ed. 140.
In Neves v. Scott (13 How. 268; 14 L. ed. 140) the court say: "Whenever a case in equity may arise and be determined under the judicial power of the United States, the same principles of equity must be applied to it, and it is for the courts of the United States, and for this court in the last resort, to decide what those principles are, and to apply such of them to each particular case, as they may find justly applicable thereto. These principles may take part of the law of a State, or they may have been modified by its legislation, or usages, or they may never have existed in its jurisprudence. Instances of each kind may now be found in the several States. But in all the States, the equity law, recognized by the Constitution and by Acts of Congress, and modified by the latter, is administered by the courts of the United States, and upon appeal by this court."
In Payne v. Hook (7 Wall. 425; 19 L. ed. 260) the court, with reference to the argument that inasmuch as under the law of the State a chancery court had not jurisdiction in the premises, the federal court sitting as such had not, said: "If legal remedies are sometimes modified in the federal courts to suit the changes in the laws of the States, and the practice of their courts, it is not so with the equitable. The equity jurisdiction conferred on the federal courts is the same that the High Court of Chancery in England possesses; is subject to neither limitation nor restraint by state legislation, and is uniform throughout the different States of the Union."
It does not clearly appear from the citations and quotations just how far the federal courts, when exercising their equity jurisdiction, are disposed to go in refusing to follow the substantive rules and law of the States. It is, however, quite clear that they take a very proper stand when they assert that their equity jurisdiction may not in any way be burdened by state law either by way of definition of what shall constitute equitable causes of action, or what procedure shall be followed or remedies applied. But in not a few cases the language, though for the most part obiter, is much broader than this, and indicates an apparent willingness to go beyond this and refuse to follow state law, even in statute form, with reference to substantive matters of law as distinguished from procedure and remedies.19