This lecture is the second installment of the Harvard Law School Lecture Series: The Supreme Court in a Constitutional Democracy.
The doctrine of stare decisis is deeply contested in the Roberts Court. Although all of the Justices profess to respect stare decisis, some commentators describe the actual force of the doctrine as vanishingly weak in the Supreme Court. Others believe that the doctrine abets rather than constrains judicial discretion by allowing the Justices to adhere even to mistaken precedents that they like while leaving them free to jettison precedents, such as Roe v. Wade, of which they disapprove. This diverse and distinguished panel will address both positive questions involving the role that stare decisis plays in the Supreme Court today and normative questions concerning the constraining force, if any, that the doctrine ought to exert.
Richard Fallon (Moderator)
Story Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Partner, O’Melveny, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
James L. Gibson
Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government, Washington University in St. Louis
Vinson & Elkins Chair in Law, University Of Texas at Austin School of Law
Professor of Law and John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice; Director of Community and Inclusion; Chief Diversity Officer
Supreme Court Reporter, Bloomberg Law