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There is, of course, 'no federal general common law.' Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938). Nevertheless, the Court has recognized the need and authority in some limited areas to formulate what has come to be known as 'federal common law.' See United States v. Standard Oil Co., 332 U.S. 301, 308 (1947). These instances are 'few and restricted,' Wheeldin v. Wheeler, 373 U.S. 647, 651 (1963), and fall into essentially two categories: those in which a federal rule of decision is 'necessary to protect uniquely federal interests,' Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, 376 U.S. 398, 426 (1964), and those in which Congress has given the courts the power to develop substantive law, Wheeldin v. Wheeler, supra, at 652.

The vesting of jurisdiction in the federal courts does not in and of itself give rise to authority to formulate federal common law, United States v. Little Lake Misere Land Co., 412 U.S. 580, 591 (1973), nor does the existence of congressional authority under Art. I mean that federal courts are free to develop a common law to govern those areas until Congress acts. Rather, absent some congressional authorization to ...

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