Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

The Norm of Stare Decisis

Jack Knight and Lee Epstein
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Nov., 1996), pp. 1018-1035
DOI: 10.2307/2111740
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111740
Page Count: 18
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Norm of Stare Decisis
Preview not available

Abstract

Precedent might affect Supreme Court decision making in a number of ways. One conception, the conventional view scrutinized by Segal and Spaeth, sees precedent as the primary reason why justices make the decisions that they do. A second regards precedent as a normative constraint on justices acting on their personal preferences. On this account, justices have a preferred rule that they would like to establish in the case before them, but they strategically modify their position to take account of a norm favoring respect for precedent in order to produce a decision as close as is possible to their preferred outcome. If precedent is a norm, researchers would be unlikely to detect its presence by conventional examinations of the vote. Rather, it would manifest itself throughout the decision making process in some of the following ways: attorneys' attention to precedent and justices' appeals to and respect for the doctrine. Counts of attorneys' use of authorities in written briefs, of justices' appeals to precedent during conference discussion, of justices' invocation of precedent in their opinions, and of the Court's alterations of stare decisis. Since the data support our account of stare decisis as a norm that structures judicial decisions, we question research designs that focus solely on how precedent affects the disposition of cases.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[1018]
    [1018]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1019
    1019
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1020
    1020
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1021
    1021
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1022
    1022
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1023
    1023
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1024
    1024
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1025
    1025
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1026
    1026
  • Thumbnail: Page 
[1027]
    [1027]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1028
    1028
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1029
    1029
  • Thumbnail: Page 
[1030]
    [1030]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1031
    1031
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1032
    1032
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1033
    1033
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1034
    1034
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1035
    1035