Partner James McManis prepared an article for China Law Connect, the bilingual quarterly journal of Stanford Law School’s China Guiding Cases Project. Jim discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services, L.L.C. v. Russo, which applied the doctrine of stare decisis, a Latin term meaning “to stand by things decided.”
Drawing on the several opinions in the June Medical Services opinion, Jim describes some of the shortcomings of stare decisis in the context of abortion litigation. In his concurring opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded that the doctrine of stare decisis compelled the result in June Medical Services, given the Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, even though he believed that case was wrongly decided. The various dissenting opinions in June Medical Services cast doubt however on the application of stare decisis, noting the Court has overruled previous poorly reasoned precedents.
Jim concludes that June Medical Services illustrates the challenges and pitfalls of adhering to precedent. He says, “Among these (challenges), as highlighted in several of the dissenting opinions in the case, is the difficulty of determining when cases are really alike.”
To read the full article, visit China Law Connect.