Event Title

Why Does Precedent get Overturned? Agreements and Disagreements within the Legal Community

Research Mentor(s)

Chen, Paul

Description

The Supreme Court follows the Doctrine of Stare Decisis, of which dictates that the Court must follow previous precedent in making decisions. It exists to maintain consistency in law. However, despite this, the Court at times overturns precedent, although rarely. Further, from the Legal Model of Supreme Court decision making analysis claims that the Court bases their decisions solely on law, and in turn the Court should always follow Stare Decisis. How could the Legal Model explain the rare instances of the Supreme Court overturning precedent? This essay answers the question by synthesizing arguments within various research papers written by legal scholars, finding the main claims that could explain how overturning precedent may not conflict with the Doctrine of Stare Decisis. The result were three primary arguments, as well as one final argument that I developed from reading these papers. There is the theory of workability, in which one must analyze whether a precedent can be consistently applied throughout all legal areas, especially in congress and lower Courts. Secondly, there is whether a precedent is Sound/Well-reasoned, or if there is a legal conflict with other areas of law, or potentially such a strong resistance from society that consistently application may be impossible. Third, there is anachronisms and Hole Punching, where precedent may have either aged beyond current society, or has had other decisions punch holes in the precedent. Finally, there is my theory of legal housecleaning, whether a precedent is on track to become defunct (such as Korematsu).

Document Type

Event

Start Date

May 2020

End Date

May 2020

Department

Political Science

Genre/Form

student projects, posters

Type

Image

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 22nd, 5:00 PM

Why Does Precedent get Overturned? Agreements and Disagreements within the Legal Community

The Supreme Court follows the Doctrine of Stare Decisis, of which dictates that the Court must follow previous precedent in making decisions. It exists to maintain consistency in law. However, despite this, the Court at times overturns precedent, although rarely. Further, from the Legal Model of Supreme Court decision making analysis claims that the Court bases their decisions solely on law, and in turn the Court should always follow Stare Decisis. How could the Legal Model explain the rare instances of the Supreme Court overturning precedent? This essay answers the question by synthesizing arguments within various research papers written by legal scholars, finding the main claims that could explain how overturning precedent may not conflict with the Doctrine of Stare Decisis. The result were three primary arguments, as well as one final argument that I developed from reading these papers. There is the theory of workability, in which one must analyze whether a precedent can be consistently applied throughout all legal areas, especially in congress and lower Courts. Secondly, there is whether a precedent is Sound/Well-reasoned, or if there is a legal conflict with other areas of law, or potentially such a strong resistance from society that consistently application may be impossible. Third, there is anachronisms and Hole Punching, where precedent may have either aged beyond current society, or has had other decisions punch holes in the precedent. Finally, there is my theory of legal housecleaning, whether a precedent is on track to become defunct (such as Korematsu).