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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Five kinds of precedent

  1. There are precedents
  2. There are super precedents
  3. There are super duper precedents
  4. There are precedents on precedents
  5. And, then, there are precedents that shouldn't be classified

Ref: Starry decisis.

This will be the extent of my live-blogging the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings. Probably. Unless I set a new precedent.

Posted by Marie at January 10, 2006 8:49 AM


Interesting the emphasis that precedent is getting, isn't it? So many of the onlookers/analysts/critics have one case and its progeny in mind: Roe v. Wade. The issues raised there aside -- and they're very important issues -- it seems so short-sighted to try to nail anyone to one case and say, "Would you abide by that?" Sometimes the precedents in question simply represent bad law: Take Dred Scott for instance (holding, among other things, that blacks had no rights a white man was bound to respect). Or a case more pertinent to today: Plessy v. Ferguson (which solidified the foundation for Jim Crow laws by finding the separate but equal accommodations met the Constitution's equal protection requirements). I'm just saying what if Earl Warren's confirmation had rested on a promise to uphold Plessy?

Posted by: Dan at January 10, 2006 2:17 PM