Among the most prevalent justifications for deference to judicial precedent is the protection of reliance interests. The theory is that when judicial pronouncements have engendered significant reliance, there should be a meaningful presumption against adjudicative change. Yet there remains a fundamental question as to why reliance on precedent warrants judicial protection in the first place. American courts have made clear that deference to precedent is a flexible policy rather than an absolute rule. The defeasibility of precedent raises the possibility that stakeholders who fail to mediate their reliance on precedent forfeit any claim to judicial protection through the doctrine of stare decisis.
Randy J. Kozel,
Precedent and Reliance,
Emory L. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol62/iss6/1