Schauer on Precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court

11 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2008

See all articles by William A. Edmundson

William A. Edmundson

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2008


Recent critics of the Roberts Court chide it for its lack of regard for precedent. Fred Schauer faults these critics for erroneously assuming that a rule of stare decisis formerly played a significant role in the Supreme Court's decision-making. In fact, it has long played only a rare and weak role in the Court's work. Nonetheless, according to Schauer, the critics are to be thanked for invigorating a needed debate about the importance of "stability, consistency, settlement, reliance, notice, and predictability" in the Court's decisions. This article argues that Schauer exaggerates the weakness of stare decisis in the Court's practices; and that his call for a public debate on the merits of the norm of stare decisis can only weaken it.

Keywords: Supreme Court, precedent, stare decisis, Planned Parenthood v. Casey

JEL Classification: K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Schauer on Precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court (2008). Georgia State University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

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