The Multiple Functions 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:
The Multiple Functions of Precedent

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In this chapter Professor Gerhardt demonstrates that precedents end up influencing and contributing to constitutional law in many ways other than constraint, which is the predominant concern of social scientists who study courts. These multiple functions include educating the public about constitutional law, shaping constitutional discourse in and outside of courts, implementing constitutional values, clarifying constitutional structure and history, resolving particular cases or controversies, and democratizing constitutional law.

Keywords: precedent; constitutional law; Supreme Court; implementing the Constitution; constitutional discourse

Chapter.  11615 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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