Showing posts from March, 2018

Stare Decisis: What It Is, Why It Is Important, And More Controversial Than You Might Think (Oh, And Spider-Man)

Stare decisis might be the first Latin legal term you learn in law school.  It was for me.  But like all Latin terms, you quickly find an English equivalent: judicial precedent. The concept is both simple and complex, straightforward and convoluted.  It will be the subject of this post; it's also the subject of the book pictured above, all 910 pages of it.  I will attempt to make stare decisis--judicial precedent--a concept you can understand and maybe even apply.  And Spider-Man will help. First, the simple.  "Stare decisis" is Latin for "stand by things decided".*  In the simplest of terms, it is the doctrine of precedent, which is when an issue is brought to the court that has already been decided and there is a precedent--a case decided by the court that answers the issue before it--to that effect, and that is how the case should be decided.  If I am bringing a case about X and the court can point to a case that has already decided X (a precedent) I