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June 10, 2022

New ABA Legal Fact Check explores legal history, current attention regarding stare decisis

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2022 — With the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court will soon overturn the landmark abortion decision of Roe v. Wade, a new ABA Legal Fact Check released today examines the legal principle of stare decisis, or legal precedent, and how it came to be.

In a rare breach of court security, a 5-4 draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was leaked last month that would effectively reverse the Roe decision of 1973 that struck down state laws banning abortion. The new fact check describes how stare decisis has become ingrained in the U.S. judicial system and stands out as a bedrock of the rule of law, even though it was not created by statute or found in the U.S. Constitution.

The fact check also notes that overturning precedent is neither commonplace nor rare. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s first reversal of its own decision in 1851, the justices have overturned prior high court rulings more than 140 times.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public through case and statutory law to find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The web portal for ABA Legal Fact Check includes a search button for its content, which is grouped by legal topics in 10 different categories, including COVID-19 legal issues, presidential authority, election law, and police and security. Most recently, ABA Legal Fact Check explored whether Russian oligarchs have the legal right to due process in the face of U.S. sanctions as well as the law of genocide.

The URL for the site is

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