Should Like Cases be Treated Alike?
University of Southern California - Gould School of Law
November 10, 2004
USC Law and Public Policy Research Paper No. 04-26
Are there any good reasons to treat previous judicial decisions as legally binding in similar cases, just because they are similar, even if the underlying reasons of the previous decisions determined the result? I argue in this short essay that this is the relevant question about treating like cases alike, and I offer two possible principles that may ground an affirmative answer: the principle that justice should be seen to be done, and the principle of protected expectations. Both answers are criticized as over inclusive and only partly defensible. Finally, the essay concludes with a suggestion that there are two modes of analogical reasoning in adjudication, and that one of them may rationalize a certain type of cases in which like cases should be treated alike.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Date posted: November 10, 2004
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