Chapter

The Golden Rule

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/9780195150506.003.0004
The Golden Rule

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This chapter examines the multiple factors (ignored by most social scientists and legal scholars) limiting the path dependency of precedent—or the extent to which precedent forecloses or mandates outcomes—in constitutional law. These factors help to explain an essential dynamic in constitutional law, the golden rule of precedent: justices and other constitutional actors must demonstrate respect for the precedent of others or risk having others not respect theirs. The golden rule of precedent explains why precedent generally may matter in constitutional law but particular precedents may not constrain constitutional decision making very much.

Keywords: precedent; constitutional law; Supreme Court; path dependency

Chapter.  12702 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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