Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Justices Roberts & Alito Give Stare Decisis the Smackdown

This warms the cockles of my heart.  In a separate concurrence with last week's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that cut the legs out from under the McCain-Feingold prohibitions on free speech, Justices Roberts and Alito made a point of rejecting the uncritical application of stare decisis (the legal principle whereby judges refuse to contradict past judicial precedent) to future cases that appear before the court.  Fr. Z gives the details.

This statement is particularly important to those of us who hope that the Court will one day overturn its hideous 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. You may remember that, during both Roberts' and Alito's confirmation hearings, Democrats zealously attempted to pressure both men into essentially swearing that they would uphold Roe v. Wade based on the principle of stare decisis.  Both future justices nimbly avoided painting themselves into any corners on that point, and this opinion from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission should give us great hope for their mindset and rulings going forward.

On the topic of stare decisis, I thought I'd share this cartoon, which I first came across back in 2005, during the time that Roberts was going through his confirmation hearings.

No comments:

Post a Comment