Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Myth of Stare Decisis

With two recent supreme court confirmation hearings under out belt, I suppose its fair to assume that the witless masses now have some idea of what precident is. Those who follow politics like it was some blasphamous horse race saw Alito and Roberts grilled on the subject. The Democrats on the committee wanted to make sure that the fast one they pulled in the 70's didn't get to close a look. Meanwhile the Republicans were coming ever so close to letting the cat out of the bag.

And to what furious feline do I refer?

A simple thing really. The term Stare Decisis refers to precident. Stare Decisis sounds better though. One of the best ways to pass one over on the great unwashed is to give it a latin name. To them, it sounds like something from God Himself. What? You didn't know God spoke Latin?

Let me waste no more words here. Stare Decisis is a myth. Its nothing more than a judge's trick. Its the fancy latin name for the cover over his ass. Its not a limit on judicial power. When a court wants to overturn something, they do. All the precident in the world won't stop them. The great thing about precident, for them, is its usefullness as a pressure relief valve. When they are under the gun about a decision they don't want to make, they can always fall back on good ol' Stare Decisis. The people here terms like that and their eyes glaze over. They assume its some gross legaleze that they have no desire to comprehend.

Stare Decisis isn't in the mind of judges. It's in the toolbox. It's something to fallback on when your spine fails you. Its something you ignore otherwise. No court ever refused to overturn law it thought was bad, in the name of Stare Decisis.

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