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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Overvaluing Uniformity, Amanda Frost Nov 2008

Overvaluing Uniformity, Amanda Frost

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

"E NSURING the uniform interpretation of federal law has long been considered one of the federal courts' primary objectives, and uniformity is regularly cited in some of the most intractable debates about the structure and function of the federal court system. For example, specialized courts are lauded for their ability to ensure uniformity in the areas of law over which they have jurisdic- tion. Similarly, proponents of exclusive federal jurisdiction contend that the federal courts provide greater consistency in the interpre- tation of federal law than could fifty different state courts. Some commentators claim that Congress' power to create exceptions ...


Under-The-Table Overruling, Christopher J. Peters Oct 2008

Under-The-Table Overruling, Christopher J. Peters

All Faculty Scholarship

In this contribution to a Wayne Law Review symposium on the first three years of the Roberts Court, the author normatively assesses the Court's practice of "under-the-table overruling," or "underruling," in high-profile constitutional cases involving abortion, campaign-finance reform, and affirmative action. The Court "underrules" when it renders a decision that undercuts a recent precedent without admitting that it is doing so. The author contends that underruling either is not supported by, or is directly incompatible with, three common rationales for constitutional stare decisis: the noninstrumental rationale, the predictability rationale, and the legitimacy rationale. In particular, while the latter rationale ...