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The Supreme Court’s Overruling of Constitutional Precedent

Via – The Supreme Court’s Overruling of Constitutional Precedent Updated. Report#: R45319. Author(s): Brandon J. Murrill. Date: September 24, 2018.
“By exercising its power to determine the constitutionality of federal and state government actions, the Supreme Court has developed a large body of judicial decisions, or “precedents,” interpreting the Constitution. How the Court uses precedent to decide controversial issues has prompted debate over whether the Court should follow rules identified in prior decisions or overrule them. The Court’s treatment of precedent implicates longstanding questions about how the Court can maintain stability in the law by adhering to precedent under the doctrine of stare decisis while correcting decisions that rest on faulty reasoning, unworkable standards, abandoned legal doctrines, or outdated factual assumptions. Although the Supreme Court has shown less reluctance to overrule its decisions on constitutional questions than its decisions on statutory questions, the Court has nevertheless stated that there must be some special justification—or, at least “strong grounds” — that goes beyond disagreeing with a prior decision’s reasoning to overrule constitutional precedent. Consequently, when deciding whether to overrule a precedent interpreting the Constitution, the Court has historically considered several “prudential and pragmatic” factors that seek to foster the rule of law while balancing the costs and benefits to society of reaffirming or overruling a prior holding…”

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