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The refusal by a judge to sustain an objection set forth by an attorney during a trial, such as an objection to a particular question posed to a witness. To make void, annul, supersede, or reject through a subsequent decision or action.

A judicial decision is overruled when a later decision, made by the same tribunal or a higher court in the same system, hands down a decision concerning the identical Question of Law, which is in direct opposition to the earlier decision. The earlier decision is thereby overruled and deprived of its authority as precedent.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question of a witness or admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the trial judge allows the question or evidence in court. If the judge agrees with the objection he/she "sustains" the objection and does not allow the question or evidence. 2) to decide (by a court of appeals) that a prior appeals decision on a legal issue was not correct, and is therefore no longer a valid precedent on that legal question. (See: objection, sustain)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


to set aside the rule of a lower court. When achieved by a superior court in the Anglo-American system, the effect is retrospective. The term can be used of a statute that changes the legal effect of a decision. This is done from the date the statute comes into force.

Parliament can, of course, make the statute come into effect retrospectively, but this is something that is generally thought to be a dangerous form of legislation that may go against the rule of law.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TO OVERRULE. To annul, to make void. This word is frequently used to signify that a case has been decided directly opposite to a former case; when this takes place, the first decided case is said to be overruled as a precedent, and cannot any longer be considered as of binding authority.
     2. Mr. Greenleaf has made a very valuable collection of overruled cases, of great service to the practitioner.
     3. The term overrule also signifies that a majority of the judges have decided against the opinion of the minority, in which case the latter are said to be overruled.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
* Even if the Board modifies or overrules Staunton Fuel, under Casale Industries contract language alone would continue to be sufficient to establish 9(a) status whenever that status goes unchallenged for six months after 9(a) recognition is granted.
Today, the formal legal standard governing the decision to overrule is embodied in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v.
Conclusion Trans Sonic is more likely to relish a protracted battle than Overrule so is worth siding with.
(The court proceeded to cite numerous cases in support of its ability and willingness to overrule its own precedents, sua sponte, or otherwise).
Selcuk who commented on the ECHR decision condemning Turkey to pay 15 million Euro to Greek Cypriots at a weekly press briefing Wednesday in Ankara, said the latest decision did not overrule the earlier decision dated March 5.
(1) How willing the Court has been to overrule would appear to depend in part on the setting in which it has been asked to do so.
Just as there are limits on the government's ability to legislate morality (as the experiment of Prohibition taught us) without at least some degree of public support, so too is it the case that the Supreme Court will not overrule incorrect or immoral decisions when the public clearly opposes its doing so.
The Thirteenth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment "overrule," respectively, each of Dred Scott's two main atrocious holdings: first, that the Fifth Amendment protection against deprivation of liberty or property without "due process of law" includes a substantive constitutional right to own slaves, as against federal government interference; and second, that black men and women, including free blacks, cannot be "citizens" of the United States or of any state within the meaning of Article III and Article IV's clauses that concern certain legal consequences incident to state citizenship.
(Edit: Needless to say, moral questions are not just personal convictions; and the pluralistic society may not overrule the natural moral law.)
The new edition also of course features many changes in the rules governing grammar and usage, including some that overrule Chicago's earlier rules.
Mittal Steel is hoping to either sway Arecelor CEO Guy Dolle, who has reacted negatively to the deal, or to persuade the board and shareholders to overrule Dolle.
Nor are the courts likely to overrule allocations made by the DOE under NCLB rules.