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Most law review writing exists more to be written than to be read and then only to be read by other members of the academy. Not so with this Review and this Article. Anticipating a readership of practicing lawyers, of litigators, gives me pause, I must admit. My assignment to write about "Our Federalism" seems to deal with a rather arcane topic in federal jurisdiction. My hope here is to demonstrate just how important and how practical the doctrine is so that some lawyer in some federal court somewhere might participate better in the lawmaking partnership between the bench and the bar. Charles Dickens, who once worked in a law office, observed, "[w]e lawyers are always curious, always inquisitive, always picking up odds and ends for our patchwork minds, since there is no knowing when and where they may fit into some comer. My purpose then is to get behind the slogan, "Our Federalism," to place it in the context of abstention doctrines generally, to trace the evolution of this particular variety of abstention, to focus on Pennzoil and its aftermath, and to speculate about the future of this doctrine that has so intrigued courts, commentators, and counsel.

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