Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor George Thomas

Reader 2

Professor Shanna Rose

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Rights Information

2020 Clare M Burgess


In this thesis, I analyze the reasons that Supreme Court overturns precedent, and how, if at all, does the doctrine of stare decisis impact those decisions. The Supreme Court’s decisions are often politicized and viewed as a result of the Supreme Court Justices’ ideological views. Simply, they abide by precedents they agree with and abandon ones they do not. While the impact of ideology on Supreme Court decisions is unclear, I find that the doctrine of stare decisis plays an important role in their jurisprudence. In fact, the doctrine of stare decisis has increasingly dominated cases that reverse a prior Supreme Court decision. Modern iterations of the Supreme Court discuss stare decisis in more detail than their predecessors. The Supreme Court’s treatment of precedent varies over time; however, its general reverence for stare decisis will likely persist in the future.