Historical First: A Can’t-Miss Socratic Answer

–From Robert Campbell, Pacific Coast University McGeorge School of Law, Date of event: 2002

A funny Socratic moment occurred in our California Community Property course, when a classmate was briefing Boggs v. Boggs 520 U.S. 833 (1997).

Parties to the litigation were Sandra Boggs, widow of Isaac Boggs, and Isaac’s sons, Thomas F. Boggs, Harry M. Boggs, and David B. Boggs, who were the offspring of Issac Boggs and his first wife, Dorothy Boggs, also deceased.

This case held that ERISA preempts a state’s community-property law which might otherwise allow a non-participant spouse to make a testamentary transfer of an interest in an undistributed pension plan.

After an analysis of the facts, issues, rules and applications, our classmate was getting to the end of his recitation and declared, with relief: “In conclusion, Boggs won!”

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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