By Lawrence S. Ebner, founder of Capital Appellate Advocacy PLLC, a boutique law firm that provides independent advocacy for businesses and industries in the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts.

Late last term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued several decisions that reveal, in a variety of contexts, the justices’ current thinking on the role and application of stare decisis. That “let the decision stand” doctrine is a fundamental precept of American jurisprudence. The Court has explained that stare decisis “promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.” Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 827 (1991). But does it? Or in reality, has stare decisis become an expedient for justices and litigants who, for whatever reason, want the Court to hang onto deeply flawed precedents?