Class of 2024
- "Unraveling Stare Decisis: The Interplay and Impact of Precedent in the U.S. Judicial System" with mentor Isabella (Working project)
Unraveling Stare Decisis: The Interplay and Impact of Precedent in the U.S. Judicial System
Started June 20, 2023
Abstract or project description
This paper embarks on a meticulous exploration of stare decisis, a pivotal yet complex doctrine within the U.S. judicial system. Initiating with a historical deep dive and theoretical unpacking of the doctrine, the research underscores its dual mandate: imparting stability and predictability to the law. Moving into the hierarchical mechanics of stare decisis, it dissects its sway over jurisprudential decision-making and illustrates the mechanisms of precedent creation, adherence, and occasional departure within the Supreme Court. By engaging with critical case law, such as Gideon v. Wainwright, Smith v. Allwright, and Brown v. Board of Education, the paper draws out the circumstances and rationale guiding the Court's shifts from precedent. Further, the paper scrutinizes the tension between stare decisis and the competing interests of intertwined judicial constituents; notably, litigants' reliance interests and judges' interpretive legal methods. The paper critiques and focuses on stare decisis’ ability to ossify outdated or flawed legal norms, and the tension it creates between legal stability and jurisprudential change. Collectively, this paper will illuminate the nuances of stare decisis, and its influence on the law and the fabric of society.