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June 24, 2022

With Roe overturned, updated ABA Legal Fact Check explores doctrine of legal precedent

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2022 — With the decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion decision of Roe v. Wade  the posted ABA Legal Fact Check has been revised to reflect the developments to assist reporters and the public to better understand the legal principle of stare decisis, or legal precedent, and how it came to be.

The majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization reverses the Roe decision of 1973 that struck down state laws banning abortion as well as a decision two decades later. The 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 ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.