Doing a little research into a complex issue as we head into the weekend, as is our wont. And we came across this impassioned defense of stare decisis and precedent and it bears repeating here:
Stare decisis “promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.” Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 827, 111 S.Ct. 2597, 115 L.Ed.2d 720 (1991). Of course, it is also important to be right, especially on constitutional matters, where Congress cannot override our errors by ordinary legislation. But even in constitutional cases, a departure from precedent “demands special justification.” Arizona v. Rumsey, 467 U.S. 203, 212, 104 S.Ct. 2305, 81 L.Ed.2d 164 (1984). This means that something more than “ambiguous historical evidence” is required before we will “flatly overrule a number of major decisions of this Court.” Welch v. Texas Dept. of Highways and Public Transp., 483 U.S. 468, 479, 107 S.Ct. 2941, 97 L.Ed.2d 389 (1987). And the strength of the case for adhering to such decisions grows in proportion to their “antiquity.” Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778, 792, 129 S.Ct. 2079, 173 L.Ed.2d 955 (2009). Here, as noted, Gamble's historical arguments must overcome numerous “major decisions of this Court” spanning 170 years. In light of these factors, Gamble's historical evidence must, at a minimum, be better than middling.