Precedents


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PRECEDENTS. the decision of courts of justice; when exactly in point with a case before the court, they are generally held to have a binding authority, as well to keep the scale of justice even and steady, as because the law in that case has been solemnly declared and determined. 9 M. R. 355.
     2. To render precedents valid, they must be founded in reason and justice; Hob. 270; must have been made upon argument, and be the solemn decision of the court; 4 Co. 94; and in order to give them binding effect, there must be a current of decisions. Cro. Car. 528; Cro. Jac. 386; 8 Co. 163.
     3. According to Lord Talbot, it is "much better to stick to the known general rules, than to follow any one particular precedent, which may be founded on reason, unknown to us." Cas. Temp. Talb. 26. Blackstone, 1 Com. 70, says, that a former decision is in general to be followed, unless "manifestly absurd or unjust,", and, in the latter case, ii is declared, when overruled, not that the former sentence was bad law, but that it was not law.
     4. Precedents can only be useful when they show that the case has been decided upon a certain principle, and ought not to be binding when contrary to such principle. If a precedent is to be followed because it is a precedent, even when decided against an established rule of law, there can be no possible correction of abuses, because the fact of, their existence renders them above the law. It is always safe to rely upon principles. See Principle; Rewon. de 16 Vin. Ab. 499; Wesk. on Inst. h.t.: 2 Swanst. 163; 2 Jac. & W. 31; 3 Ves. 527; 2 Atk. 559; 2 P. Wms. 258; 2 Bro. C. C. 86; 1 Ves. jr. 11; and 2 Evans Poth. 377, where the author argues against the policy of making precedents binding when contrary to reason. See also 1 Kent, Comm.475-77; Liv.Syst. 104-5; Gresl. Ev. 300; 16 Johns. R. 402; 20 Johns. R. 722; Cro. Jac. 527; 33 H. VII. 41; Jones, Bailment, 46; and the articles Reason and Stare decisis.

References in classic literature ?
For instance, in the case already mentioned; they never desire to know what claim or title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze her in be round or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; what diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which they consult precedents, adjourn the cause from time to time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come to an issue.
But Precedent and Precipitate were, under all circumstances, the well-matched pair of battle-horses of this able Circumlocutionist.
Before departing, he expressed, at some length, to the Clerk, my excellent but most unfortunate brother, his sincere regret that, in accordance with precedent and for the sake of secrecy, he must condemn him to perpetual imprisonment, but added his satisfaction that, unless some mention were made by him of that day's incident, his life would be spared.
If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them; for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority.
And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice.
Although there is dispute about which well-settled precedents depart from the original understanding, many claim that originalism cannot account for important precedents, including the New Deal expansion of federal power, the administrative state, and Brown v.
District court judges regularly assessed the relevance and scope of precedents from those higher courts and asserted their prerogative to disregard many of them.
This Article explores which legal precedents judges choose to support their decisions.
The Scope of Statutory and Common Law Precedents 1.
Through the public disclosure of a firm's strategies and the corresponding resources acquired (Chen, Hambrick, & Pollock, 2008; Teoh, Welch, & Wong, 1998), the relevance of precedents is reinforced through a feedback system (Alti, 2005), which facilitates firms comparing and adjusting their strategies relative to precedents (Greve, 2005; Strang & Macy, 2001).
Copy-paste precedent does have one dubious efficiency advantage over ordinary precedent: Because parties do not generally know that copy-paste precedent exists--and are certainly not compelled to cite it--they do not have to devote time to researching these potentially relevant precedents, thereby avoiding one of the inefficiencies sometimes attributed to a system of stare decisis.
Assuming, then, that an originalist Congress was one that accepted the legitimacy of constitutional precedent, would it have any obligations to follow the precedents laid down by past Congresses?