Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date

1919

Abstract

Courts are charged with the duty of declaring the law. They are also required to decide cases. Either one of those functions might be performed with comparative ease if it were divorced from the other, but when the court is simultaneously obliged to do both, the difficulties are very apparent. To decide a case and at the same time to declare the law means that the court is required to generalize every legal proposition upon which it acts in making its decision. But judges are not omniscient. Who can so fully understand the logical implications and the latent possibilities of any rule of law that he can safely announce it as a perpetual guide for the future? This the judges are nevertheless expected to do, for if the law is to be available and certain, its rules must not only be fully formulated but consistently adhered to. The rule of stare decisis is a necessary judicial protection extended to the people.


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