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Associate Dean Randy Kozel develops a theory of precedent in new book

Author: Kevin Allen

In the American legal system, it’s a generally accepted view that judges should not disrupt the decisions of their predecessors unless they have a compelling reason to do so. The principle is known by the Latin phrase stare decisis – “to stand by things decided.” The goal is to preserve the law’s core without permanently entrenching every judicial mistake.

The key question is: When should judges break from precedent? After all, even Supreme Court justices disagree about the role of precedent in particular cases.

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