Chapter

Theories of Precedent

Michael J. Gerhardt

in The Power of Precedent

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195150506
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871131 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150506.003.0003
Theories of Precedent

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This chapter critically examines the most prominent theories which social scientists and legal scholars have developed to explain the role of precedent in constitutional law. It shows that legal variables matter more to the outcomes of cases than social scientists typically acknowledge, but less than many legal scholars claim. Nor, for that matter, have legal scholars been able to dismiss altogether the relevance of external factors to constitutional decision making, including the justices' personal attitudes about constitutional law and policy preferences.

Keywords: Precedent; supreme court; stare decisis; constitutional law; attitudinalism; rational choice theory

Chapter.  12126 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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