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Thursday, February 17, 2022

Stare Decisis Factors

I also taught Admiralty today and we discussed one of my favorite opinions. Moragne v. States Marine Lines, Inc. held that there is a general maritime law remedy for wrongful death, and in so doing overruled a prior Supreme Court decision. In this unanimous opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan II said this about stare decisis:

Very weighty considerations underlie the principle that courts should not lightly overrule past decisions. Among these are the desirability that the law furnish a clear guide for the conduct of individuals, to enable them to plan their affairs with assurance against untoward surprise; the importance of furthering fair and expeditious adjudication by eliminating the need to relitigate every relevant proposition in every case; and the necessity of maintaining public faith in the judiciary as a source of impersonal and reasoned judgments. The reasons for rejecting any established rule must always be weighed against these factors.

I've always thought that this was a better explication of stare decisis than what Casey said. If Roe v. Wade is overruled in June, I wonder how the opinion will read when compared to these factors. 

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on February 17, 2022 at 01:53 PM | Permalink


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