Stare Indecisis

Stare Indecisis : The Alteration of Precedent on the Supreme Court, 1946-1992

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Although the concept of precedent is basic to the operation of the legal system, there has not yet been a full-length empirical study of why US Supreme Court justices have chosen to alter precedent. This book attempts to fill this gap by analyzing those decisions of the Vinson, Warren, and Burgers courts, as well as the first six terms of the Rehnquist Court - a span of 47 years (1946-1992) - which formally altered precedent. The authors summarize previous studies of precedent and the Court, assess the conference voting of justices, and compile a list of overruling and overruled cases. Additionally, the authors draw a distinction between personal and instituional stare decisis. By using the attitudinal model of Supreme Court decision making, the authors find that it is the individual justices' ideologies which explain their voting behavior.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 40 b/w illus.
  • 1139243292
  • 9781139243292

Review quote

"...Saul Brenner and Harold Spaeth are prolific and productive scholars who over the years have enriched our discipline prodigiously. In their latest work they have made imaginative forays into some nooks and crannies of Supreme Court behavior that have not received much recent attention. The result is a book that will be a necessary reference and starting point for all those who would further enlarge our knowledge of a very craggy vineland." American Political Science Review " is a delight to read. The writing is lucid, lively, and few words are wasted conveying a lot of interesting information. ...this work will be an indispensable aid... ...will prove to be a valuable resource for innumerable projects. The method employed by Brenner and Spaeth convincingly overcomes the shortcomings of prior studies and results in the production of a list of cases for analysis that will be accepted as the standard for future analyses." The Law and Politics Book Review
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Table of contents

1. Preface; 2. A survey of the empirical literature; 3. A list of cases; 4. Some characteristics of the overruling and the overruled cases; 5. The conference votes; 6. Attitudinal voting; 7. Personal and institutional stare decisis; 8. Ideology; 9. Conclusion; Appendices.
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