I received a number of comments that it seems inefficient for different states to have different laws and legal systems. Here are a few thoughts on this:
1. Many people might agree with you. In fact, there are “uniform laws” adopted by most or all the states for precisely that reason – – so that each state will apply the same law. For example, in connection with business (the Uniform Commercial Code or UCC) and criminal law (the Model Penal Code), many states enacted similar codes.
2. In any event, most laws tend to be fairly similar. For example, no one could seriously believe that in his home state it would be illegal to start a fire in the lobby of a hotel but that in another state that type of dangerous activity could possibly be legal.
3. There are some advantages to having different legal systems and statutes in each state.
First, states can specialize in areas of law. For example, Delaware has well-developed law regarding corporations. States in the west or south developed useful law regarding cattle branding. New York is not famous for cattle branding but many people respect New York’s sophisticated commercial laws and courts.
Second, different states can experiment with different laws and states can learn from each other. For example, California law regarding torts tends to be ahead of the rest of the United States. Other states can follow California if they think California’s courts and legislature have good ideas. Different legal systems encourage states to revise their laws based on positive examples from other states.
I mentioned the Uniform Commercial Code above, here is a video on the UCC I recently uploaded.