Author Topic: Hyatt is latest example of textualist-originalist justices’ willingness to overturn precedent  (Read 1103 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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SCOTUSblog by Anita Krishnakumar 5/24/2019

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt has received significant attention for its overruling of Nevada v. Hall, a 40-year-old precedent that held that states lack sovereign immunity in each other’s courts. Observers have been quick to quote the penultimate sentence of Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent (“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next”) and point to Hyatt as a harbinger that Roe v. Wade and other similar high-stakes constitutional precedents may be next in line for abrogation.

Overruling prior judicial decisions is a big deal; the doctrine of stare decisis directs judges, including Supreme Court justices, to follow prior decisions even when they think those prior decisions are wrong. The Supreme Court is not supposed to overrule a prior ruling unless at least one of several conditions is met: The decision is unworkable and lower courts have found it difficult to administer; it rests on outdated facts; or it is inconsistent with later legal developments, such as other judicial decisions or new laws passed by the legislature. The court is also not supposed to overrule precedent that parties have relied on in structuring their lives.

Despite all of the above, the Supreme Court’s decision in Hyatt should not have been surprising — because it continues a jurisprudential trend that extends beyond the court’s constitutional cases and that began more than a decade ago. Indeed, in a recent article titled “Textualism and Statutory Precedents,” I note that the court’s textualist justices have proved remarkably willing to abandon stare decisis and argue in favor of overruling established statutory interpretation precedents — even though such a practice is difficult to reconcile with textualism’s core aims of promoting clarity and stability in the law. The article suggests that textualist justices’ proclivity to overrule may be connected to two related features of modern textualism: (1) the oft-unspoken predicate assumption that there is a singular “correct answer” to every interpretive question; and (2) the political reality that some textualist jurists see themselves as “revolutionaries,” whose function is to overthrow the old, corrupt jurisprudential order — including outmoded precedents reached through the use of illegitimate, atextual interpretive resources. Both of these observations apply equally to constitutional interpretation; in fact, they may apply even more powerfully in the constitutional context, where the stakes are higher and Congress cannot step in to correct an incorrect interpretation.

More: https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/05/academic-highlight-hyatt-is-latest-example-of-textualist-originalist-justices-willingness-to-overturn-precedent/#more-286284

Offline IsailedawayfromFR

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Overruling prior judicial decisions is a big deal; the doctrine of stare decisis directs judges, including Supreme Court justices, to follow prior decisions even when they think those prior decisions are wrong.

There in a nutshell is why stare decisis is completely the wrong thing to do.  Upholding precedents has a life of itself.
No punishment, in my opinion, is too great, for the man who can build his greatness upon his country's ruin~  George Washington

Offline jmyrlefuller

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Overruling prior judicial decisions is a big deal; the doctrine of stare decisis directs judges, including Supreme Court justices, to follow prior decisions even when they think those prior decisions are wrong.

There in a nutshell is why stare decisis is completely the wrong thing to do.  Upholding precedents has a life of itself.
Then you have courts like the Warren Court who have no respect for precedent, make a lot of bad and erroneous decisions, and then the courts act like they have to honor a precedent their predecessors never bothered to.

Offline roamer_1

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Quote
Overruling prior judicial decisions is a big deal; the doctrine of stare decisis directs judges, including Supreme Court justices, to follow prior decisions even when they think those prior decisions are wrong.

There in a nutshell is why stare decisis is completely the wrong thing to do.  Upholding precedents has a life of itself.

It is an appeal to tradition - Something that always leads Man astray.
As a Conservative, of course I have a deep and abiding respect for traditions - But tradition, like every other thing, must be anchored in truth and in merit.

Stare decisis is no different.

Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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If you proceed from and adhere to the starting point of originalism, then there shouldn't be anything wrong with stare decisis.  The meaning of the Constitution isn't supposed to change over time.

The problem is that leftists don't believe in originalism but want to adhere to stare decisis.  Essentially, they're in favor of an ever-changing meaning of the Constitution until they get a decision they favor, at which point they want to freeze it in time so that they can change society through the courts.

Offline Sanguine

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Overruling prior judicial decisions is a big deal; the doctrine of stare decisis directs judges, including Supreme Court justices, to follow prior decisions even when they think those prior decisions are wrong.

There in a nutshell is why stare decisis is completely the wrong thing to do.  Upholding precedents has a life of itself.

And, the Court should always have to justify its decisions based on the founding document.

Offline Free Vulcan

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Then you have courts like the Warren Court who have no respect for precedent, make a lot of bad and erroneous decisions, and then the courts act like they have to honor a precedent their predecessors never bothered to.

An excellent point. Liberals love precedent as long as it goes no farther back than the Warren court, who itself never respected precedent.
We are two countries now.