Stare decisis — “to stand by things decided” is a Latin legal term, used in common law systems expressing the notion that, according to case law, prior court decisions must be recognized as precedent. It is the judicial equivalent of “let sleeping dogs lie.”
Judges on the Supreme Court and the federal courts often rule not based on what the Constitution says but based on what previous judges wrote in their decisions. Judges are supposed to give great deference to judicial tradition. In fact, “stare decisis” is often used as an argument to keep Roe V. Wade as the law of the land. Pro-choicers know they can’t argue the merits of the landmark abortion case on Constitutional grounds so they simply say “stare decisis” as a legal way of saying “SHUT UP!!!!”
Well, in light of this and recent rulings (namely gay marriage) I have to ask a question which has been on my mind since: What about our “Stare decisis?
Shouldn’t judges give just a wee bit of deference to traditions outside the courtroom as well. The tradition of marriage is not something we invented 30 years ago like the right to tear a baby apart in the womb. This is thousands of years old. That’s even before Helen Thomas was a pre-teen. Marriage is the fundamental basis of our society. So where, I ask you, is the deference to tradition?
I think a big part of being a conservative is humility. We are hesitant to radically alter civilization because we know that we can’t foresee every possible consequence. So we tend to study things and ruminate. And we give a wide berth to the traditions of our ancestors. Liberals seem to believe nobody with an IQ above 65 existed before they came onto the planet and every tradition should be discarded and every rule broken as they see fit in their mission to remake the world.
I know. I know. They’ll say “Well slavery was a tradition as well!” But their argument falls short when you see that the Civil War over slavery was essentially a clash of traditions. Are human beings and their lives sacred as Christianity dictated? Or can people be property and disposed of at will? That was the question. Christianity won that argument. And it wasn’t exactly without precedent. Let’s remember God sent Moses to free the slaves in the Old Testament? (I seem to remember the Old Testament had a thing or two to say about sodomy but never mind.)
It just seems to me there is a ridiculous deference to these boobs in black robes who make it up as they go along while thousands and thousands of years of the traditions of regular old folks gets thrown out the window a little too easily. Maybe if we all wore black robes they’d take us more seriously. I’ll take an XL.