Stare decisis

From Conservapedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Stare decisis means adherence by courts in current legal cases to principles established by prior court decisions. Literally, it is Latin for "to stand by that which was decided." It is justified by preserving reasonable expectations of the legal system, and by maintaining consistency.

In general, when a lawyer is attempting to have a case considered where Stare decisis seems appropriate he or she has three options. 1) Explain to the court why Stare decisis does not rule this particular set of facts, which is to say, "Why this case is different from Brown v. Board of Education". 2) Explain to the court why the prior stare decisis was wrongly held. In arguing Lawrence v. Texas, the plaintiff had to state where Browers had gone wrong, and ask the Court to reconsider Browers before moving on to Lawrence. The third option is one only the Judges may do, and that is to "ignore" the stare decsis.

When a prior decision was a mistake, it is controversial what role stare decisis should play in perpetuating that mistake. In particular, stare decisis is emerging as the primary liberal argument for perpetuating Roe v. Wade (1973), the decision that established abortion on demand in the United States.

Justice Antonin Scalia explained the conservative view of stare decisis in a concurring and dissenting opinion joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas in 2007:[1]

"Stare decisis is not an inexorable command" or "a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision." [2] It is instead "a principle of policy," [3] and this Court has a "considered practice" not to apply that principle of policy "as rigidly in constitutional as in nonconstitutional cases." [4] This Court has not hesitated to overrule decisions offensive to the First Amendment (a "fixed star in our constitutional constellation," if there is one,[5] -- and to do so promptly where fundamental error was apparent. Just three years after our erroneous decision in Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, [6], the Court corrected the error in Barnette. Overruling a constitutional case decided just a few years earlier is far from unprecedented.

Justice Scalia then set forth in a footnote to the above paragraph a remarkable list of rougly 20 significant examples where the U.S. Supreme Court has discarded stare decisis in favor of correcting a mistake.[7]

In Payne v. Tennessee (1991), Chief Justice William Rehnquist list examples of how the U.S. Supreme Court rejected stare decisis in the period 1971 to 1991:[8] That list, here.[9]

Another overturned precedent was described by Justice Anthony Kennedy in his concurrence in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 613 (2002):

Though it is still my view that Apprendi v. New Jersey, [10], was wrongly decided, Apprendi is now the law, and its holding must be implemented in a principled way. As the Court suggests, no principled reading of Apprendi would allow Walton v. Arizona,[11] to stand. It is beyond question that during the penalty phase of a first-degree murder prosecution in Arizona, the finding of an aggravating circumstance exposes "the defendant to a greater punishment than that authorized by the jury's guilty verdict." Apprendi, supra, at 494. When a finding has this effect, Apprendi makes clear, it cannot be reserved for the judge.

In the Payne v. Tennessee (1991) decision cited above, Justice John Paul Stevens declared in dissent that the disregard of stare decisis put [many] (presumably those found 5-4) decisions at risk for being overruled in the future. [12]

Based on the majority's new criteria for overruling, these decisions, too, must be included on the "endangered precedents" list...(The list has over 15 important rulings)[13]; Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n of Ill., 496 U.S. 91, 110 L. Ed. 2d 83, 110 S. Ct. 2281 (1990) (First Amendment right to advertise legal specialization); Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 108 L. Ed. 2d 100, 110 S. Ct. 975 (1990) (due process right to procedural safeguards aimed at assuring voluntariness of decision to commit oneself to mental hospital); James v. Illinois, 493 U.S. 307, 107 L. Ed. 2d 676, 110 S. Ct. 648 (1990) (Fourth Amendment right to exclusion of illegally obtained evidence introduced for impeachment of defense witness); Rankin v. McPherson, 483 U.S. 378, 97 L. Ed. 2d 315, 107 S. Ct. 2891 (1987) (First Amendment right of public employee to express views on matter of public importance); Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44, 97 L. Ed. 2d 37, 107 S. Ct. 2704 (1987) (Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment right of criminal defendant to provide hypnotically refreshed testimony on his own behalf); Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648, 95 L. Ed. 2d 622, 107 S. Ct. 2045 (1987) (rejecting applicability of harmless error analysis to Eighth Amendment right not to be sentenced to death by "death qualified" jury); Maine v. Moulton, 474 U.S. 159, 88 L. Ed. 2d 481, 106 S. Ct. 477 (1985) (Sixth Amendment right to counsel violated by introduction of statements made to government informant-codefendant in course of preparing defense strategy); Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 83 L. Ed. 2d 1016, 105 S. Ct. 1005 (1985) (rejecting theory that Tenth Amendment provides immunity to States from federal regulation); Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522, 80 L. Ed. 2d 565, 104 S. Ct. 1970 (1984) (right to obtain injunctive relief from constitutional violations committed by judicial officials).

References

  1. FEC v. Wis. Right to Life, Inc., 127 S. Ct. 2652, 2674 (2007)
  2. Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 828, 111 S. Ct. 2597, 115 L. Ed. 2d 720 (1991) (quoting Helvering v. Hallock, 309 U.S. 106, 119, 60 S. Ct. 444, 84 L. Ed. 604, 1940-1 C.B. 223 (1940)).
  3. Payne, supra, at 828, 111 S. Ct. 2597, 115 L. Ed. 2d 720,
  4. Glidden Co. v. Zdanok, 370 U.S. 530, 543, 82 S. Ct. 1459, 8 L. Ed. 2d 671 (1962).
  5. West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642, 63 S. Ct. 1178, 87 L. Ed. 1628 (1943))
  6. 310 U.S. 586, 60 S. Ct. 1010, 84 L. Ed. 1375 (1940)
  7.  :See, e.g., Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 116 S. Ct. 1114, 134 L. Ed. 2d 252 (1996) (overruling Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co., 491 U.S. 1, 109 S. Ct. 2273, 105 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1989)); Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 115 S. Ct. 2097, 132 L. Ed. 2d 158 (1995) (overruling in part Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC, 497 U.S. 547, 110 S. Ct. 2997, 111 L. Ed. 2d 445 (1990)); United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S. 688, 113 S. Ct. 2849, 125 L. Ed. 2d 556 (1993) (overruling Grady v. Corbin, 495 U.S. 508, 110 S. Ct. 2084, 109 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1990)); Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 111 S. Ct. 2597, 115 L. Ed. 2d 720 (1991) (overruling South Carolina v. Gathers, 490 U.S. 805, 109 S. Ct. 2207, 104 L. Ed. 2d 876 (1989), and Booth v. Maryland, 482 U.S. 496, 107 S. Ct. 2529, 96 L. Ed. 2d 440 (1987)); Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 106 S. Ct. 662, 88 L. Ed. 2d 662 (1986) (overruling in part Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S. Ct. 1908, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420 (1981)); Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 105 S. Ct. 1005, 83 L. Ed. 2d 1016 (1985) (overruling National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 96 S. Ct. 2465, 49 L. Ed. 2d 245 (1976)); United States v. Scott, 437 U.S. 82, 98 S. Ct. 2187, 57 L. Ed. 2d 65 (1978) (overruling United States v. Jenkins, 420 U.S. 358, 95 S. Ct. 1006, 43 L. Ed. 2d 250 (1975)); National League of Cities, supra, (overruling Maryland v. Wirtz, 392 U.S. 183, 88 S. Ct. 2017, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1020 (1968)); Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 94 S. Ct. 1347, 39 L. Ed. 2d 662 (1974) (overruling in part Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S. Ct. 1322, 22 L. Ed. 2d 600 (1969); State Dept. of Health and Rehabilitative Servs. of Fla. v. Zarate, 407 U.S. 918, 92 S. Ct. 2462, 32 L. Ed. 2d 803 (1972); and Sterrett v. Mothers' & Children's Rights Organization, 409 U.S. 809, 93 S. Ct. 68, 34 L. Ed. 2d 70 (1972)); Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973) (overruling Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney General of Mass., 383 U.S. 413, 86 S. Ct. 975, 16 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1966)); Perez v. Campbell, 402 U.S. 637, 91 S. Ct. 1704, 29 L. Ed. 2d 233 (1971) (overruling Kesler v. Department of Public Safety of Utah, 369 U.S. 153, 82 S. Ct. 807, 7 L. Ed. 2d 641 (1962)).
  8. Payne v. Tenn., 501 U.S. 808, 828 (1991).
  9. Perez v. Campbell, 402 U.S. 637, 29 L. Ed. 2d 233, 91 S. Ct. 1704 (1971) (overruling Kesler v. Department of Public Safety of Utah, 369 U.S. 153, 7 L. Ed. 2d 641, 82 S. Ct. 807 (1962)); Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 31 L. Ed. 2d 274, 92 S. Ct. 995 (1972) (overruling Pope v. Williams, 193 U.S. 621, 48 L. Ed. 817, 24 S. Ct. 573 (1904)); Lehnhausen v. Lake Shore Auto Parts Co., 410 U.S. 356, 35 L. Ed. 2d 351, 93 S. Ct. 1001 (1973) (overruling Quaker City Cab Co. v. Pennsylvania, 277 U.S. 389, 72 L. Ed. 927, 48 S. Ct. 553 (1928)); Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419, 93 S. Ct. 2607 (1973) (overruling Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney General of Mass., 383 U.S. 413, 16 L. Ed. 2d 1, 86 S. Ct. 975 (1966)); North Dakota Pharmacy Bd. v. Snyder's Drug Stores, Inc., 414 U.S. 156, 38 L. Ed. 2d 379, 94 S. Ct. 407 (1973) (overruling Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105, 73 L. Ed. 204, 49 S. Ct. 57 (1928)); Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 39 L. Ed. 2d 662, 94 S. Ct. 1347 (1974) (overruling in part Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 22 L. Ed. 2d 600, 89 S. Ct. 1322 (1969); State Dept. of Health & Rehabilitative Services of Florida v. Zarate, 407 U.S. 918, 32 L. Ed. 2d 803, 92 S. Ct. 2462 (1972); and Sterrett v. Mothers' & Children's Rights Organization, 409 U.S. 809, 34 L. Ed. 2d 70, 93 S. Ct. 68 (1972)); Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522, 42 L. Ed. 2d 690, 95 S. Ct. 692 (1975) (overruling in effect Hoyt v. Florida, 368 U.S. 57, 7 L. Ed. 2d 118, 82 S. Ct. 159 (1961)); Michelin Tire Corp. v. Wages, 423 U.S. 276, 46 L. Ed. 2d 495, 96 S. Ct. 535 (1976) (overruling Low v. Austin, 80 U.S. 29, 13 Wall. 29, 20 L. Ed. 517 (1872)); Virginia State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 48 L. Ed. 2d 346, 96 S. Ct. 1817 (1976) (overruling Valentine v. Chrestensen, 316 U.S. 52, 86 L. Ed. 1262, 62 S. Ct. 920 (1942)); National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 49 L. Ed. 2d 245, 96 S. Ct. 2465 (1976) (overruling Maryland v. Wirtz, 392 U.S. 183, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1020, 88 S. Ct. 2017 (1968)); New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U.S. 297, 49 L. Ed. 2d 511, 96 S. Ct. 2513 (1976) (overruling Morey v. Doud, 354 U.S. 457, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1485, 77 S. Ct. 1344 (1957)); Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 50 L. Ed. 2d 397, 97 S. Ct. 451 (1976) (overruling Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 93 L. Ed. 163, 69 S. Ct. 198 (1948)); Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady, 430 U.S. 274, 51 L. Ed. 2d 326, 97 S. Ct. 1076 (1977) (overruling Spector Motor Service, Inc. v. O'Connor, 340 U.S. 602, 95 L. Ed. 573, 71 S. Ct. 508 (1951)); Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 53 L. Ed. 2d 683, 97 S. Ct. 2569 (1977) (overruling Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 24 L. Ed. 565 (1878)); Department of Revenue of Washington v. Association of Washington Stevedoring Cos., 435 U.S. 734, 55 L. Ed. 2d 682, 98 S. Ct. 1388 (1978) (overruling Puget Sound Stevedoring Co. v. State Tax Comm'n, 302 U.S. 90, 82 L. Ed. 68, 58 S. Ct. 72 (1937)); United States v. Scott, 437 U.S. 82, 57 L. Ed. 2d 65, 98 S. Ct. 2187 (1978) (overruling United States v. Jenkins, 420 U.S. 358, 43 L. Ed. 2d 250, 95 S. Ct. 1006 (1975)); Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322, 60 L. Ed. 2d 250, 99 S. Ct. 1727 (1979) (overruling Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U.S. 519, 40 L. Ed. 793, 16 S. Ct. 600 (1896)); United States v. Salvucci, 448 U.S. 83, 65 L. Ed. 2d 619, 100 S. Ct. 2547 (1980) (overruling Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 4 L. Ed. 2d 697, 80 S. Ct. 725 (1960)); Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609, 69 L. Ed. 2d 884, 101 S. Ct. 2946 (1981) (overruling Heisler v. Thomas Colliery Co., 260 U.S. 245, 67 L. Ed. 237, 43 S. Ct. 83 (1922)); Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527, 103 S. Ct. 2317 (1983) (overruling Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 12 L. Ed. 2d 723, 84 S. Ct. 1509 (1964)); Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 79 L. Ed. 2d 67, 104 S. Ct. 900 (1984) (overruling in part Rolston v. Missouri Fund Comm'rs, 120 U.S. 390, 30 L. Ed. 721, 7 S. Ct. 599 (1887)); United States v. One Assortment of 89 Firearms, 465 U.S. 354 (1984) (overruling Coffey v. United States, 116 U.S. 436, 29 L. Ed. 684, 6 S. Ct. 437 (1886)); Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 83 L. Ed. 2d 1016, 105 S. Ct. 1005 (1985) (overruling National League of Cities v. Usery, supra); United States v. Miller, 471 U.S. 130, 85 L. Ed. 2d 99, 105 S. Ct. 1811 (1985) (overruling in part Ex parte Bain, 121 U.S. 1, 30 L. Ed. 849, 7 S. Ct. 781 (1887)); Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 88 L. Ed. 2d 662, 106 S. Ct. 662 (1986) (overruling in part Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420, 101 S. Ct. 1908 (1981)); Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986) (overruling in part Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 13 L. Ed. 2d 759, 85 S. Ct. 824 (1965)); Solorio v. United States, 483 U.S. 435, 97 L. Ed. 2d 364, 107 S. Ct. 2924 (1987) (overruling O'Callahan v. Parker, 395 U.S. 258, 23 L. Ed. 2d 291, 89 S. Ct. 1683 (1969)); Welch v. Texas Dept. of Highways and Public Transportation, 483 U.S. 468, 97 L. Ed. 2d 389, 107 S. Ct. 2941 (1987) (overruling in part Parden v. Terminal Railway of Alabama Docks Dept., 377 U.S. 184, 12 L. Ed. 2d 233, 84 S. Ct. 1207 (1964)); South Carolina v. Baker, 485 U.S. 505, 99 L. Ed. 2d 592, 108 S. Ct. 1355 (1988) (overruling Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429, 39 L. Ed. 759, 15 S. Ct. 673 (1895)); Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 104 L. Ed. 2d 459, 109 S. Ct. 1874 (1989) (overruling in part Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224, 94 S. Ct. 1800 (1974)); Alabama v. Smith, 490 U.S. 794, 104 L. Ed. 2d 865, 109 S. Ct. 2201 (1989) (overruling Simpson v. Rice (decided with North Carolina v. Pearce), 395 U.S. 711, 23 L. Ed. 2d 656, 89 S. Ct. 2072 (1969)); Healy v. Beer Institute, 491 U.S. 324, 105 L. Ed. 2d 275, 109 S. Ct. 2491 (1989) (overruling Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. v. Hostetter, 384 U.S. 35, 16 L. Ed. 2d 336, 86 S. Ct. 1254 (1966)); Collins v. Youngblood, 497 U.S. 37, 111 L. Ed. 2d 30, 110 S. Ct. 2715 (1990) (overruling Kring v. Missouri, 107 U.S. 221, 27 L. Ed. 506, 2 S. Ct. 443 (1883); Thompson v. Utah, 170 U.S. 343, 42 L. Ed. 1061, 18 S. Ct. 620 (1898)); California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565, 114 L. Ed. 2d 619, 111 S. Ct. 1982 (1991) (overruling Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753, 61 L. Ed. 2d 235, 99 S. Ct. 2586 (1979)).
  10. 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000)
  11. 497 U.S. 639, 111 L. Ed. 2d 511, 110 S. Ct. 3047 (1990),
  12.  :See, e. g., Metro Broadcasting v. FCC, 497 U.S. 547, 111 L. Ed. 2d 445, 110 S. Ct. 2997 (1990) (authority of Federal government to set aside broadcast licenses for minority applicants); Grady v. Corbin, 495 U.S. 508, 109 L. Ed. 2d 548, 110 S. Ct. 2084 (1990) (right under Double Jeopardy Clause not to be subjected twice to prosecution for same criminal conduct); Mills v. Maryland, supra (Eighth Amendment right to jury instructions that do not preclude consideration of nonunanimous mitigating factors in capital sentencing); United States v. Paradise, 480 U.S. 149, 94 L. Ed. 2d 203, 107 S. Ct. 1053 (1987) (right to promotions as remedy for racial discrimination in government hiring); Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399, 91 L. Ed. 2d 335, 106 S. Ct. 2595 (1986) (Eighth Amendment right not to be executed if insane); Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747, 90 L. Ed. 2d 779, 106 S. Ct. 2169 (1986) (reaffirming [*852] right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973)); Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402, 87 L. Ed. 2d 290, 105 S. Ct. 3232 (1985) (Establishment Clause bar on governmental financial assistance to parochial schools).
  13.  : Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, 497 U.S. 62, 111 L. Ed. 2d 52, 110 S. Ct. 2729 (1990) (First Amendment right not to be denied public employment on the basis of party affiliation)

See also

Essay:Reversible Court Decisions

Personal tools