As he did so often with legal problems, Oliver Wendell Holmes put his finger on the key to the problem of precedent with a memorable assertion. Said he: "It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV." Notice that Holmes did not say it is a bad thing for a rule to have an ancient lineage. The question is whether the rule that may have made sense when Henry IV reigned, or when the Wagner Act was passed, has stood the test of time. The larger theme of this Institute is "Updating Outdated Policies and Procedures." That similarly suggests that the rules and practices requiring revision are those no longer serving their original purposes or not meeting today's quite different needs. The passage of time alone does not discredit a particular principle. What was wise and practical six centuries ago in England, or one century ago in this country, may still be so here today. My task and that of this Institute is to try to draw some of the necessary lines between change and continuity in various contexts. One must also determine whether the facts of a prior case are sufficiently like those of the case now to be decided that the former may properly serve as precedent.
St. Antoine, Theodore J. "The Use and Abuse of Precedent in Labor and Employment Arbitration." University of Louisville Law Review 52, no. 3 (2014): 431-441.