Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stare decisis predictable as a lightning bolt

Important and controversial civil liberties cases are still decided on the basis of prior authority and, perhaps, gain acceptance for the result on that basis. But that fact further diminishes the appeal of decisions resting on stare decisis, leaving the doctrine with the predictability of a lightning bolt: it will strike on occasion, but when and where can only be known after the fact.
Henry P. Monaghan, Our Perfect Constitution, 56 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 353, 390 (1981) (footnote omitted)

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