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The Rules were enacted in 1975, with subsequent amendments. U.S. states are free to adopt or maintain evidence rules different from the Federal Rules, but a substantial majority have adopted codes that are based, in whole or part, on the FRE.
Because they govern the initial presentation of evidence in a trial, the Rules primarily serve to govern federal trial courts rather than appellate courts, as appellate courts, due to their function and scope address very few questions touching upon the facts of a case. Appellate courts do, however, monitor the application of the rules to ensure consistent application and coherent development of the federal common law of evidence. The Rules are also a focus of most Evidence courses in American law schools.
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