The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


We are standing in a defining moment for the Supreme Court. Against the backdrop of the Court’s Dobbs decision, it is now clearer than ever that if the Court fails to modernize its stare decisis approach, the civil liberties we enjoy are vulnerable to be undermined beyond recognition. Scholars have previously opined that the modern Court’s application of stare decisis to overturn precedent is not a significant departure from the Court’s historical application of this doctrine and thus, the Court’s stare decisis trend is not alarming. This argument fails to appreciate that overturning precedent under selective application stare decisis factors presents a larger danger in eroding already-fragile public confidence in the Court’s independence.

This Comment argues that the Court must take action to eliminate this trend by moderating its approach to stare decisis analysis. Failure to take corrective action—choosing the path of indifference—could come at the cost of our civil liberties.

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March 11, 2024

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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Caitlyn A. Collins