A Constitution for Judicial Lawmaking

Adam N. Steinman

Abstract


When courts decide cases, their decisions make law because they become precedent that binds future courts under the doctrine of stare decisis. This article argues that judicial lawmaking, like legislative lawmaking, is subject to constitutional principles that govern the extent to which a particular attempt at judicial lawmaking is valid. Because even poorly reasoned judicial decisions can still be effective lawmaking acts, it is important to distinguish between constitutional and non-constitutional principles and arguments. While a non-constitutional principle can be a basis for examining the wisdom or merits of a particular lawmaking act, only constitutional principles can assess whether the lawmaking act is valid.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/lawreview.2004.13

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