Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said March 23 during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings that precedence, previously held legal opinions, has helped ensure that there is “predictability, stability, in the law.”
Her comments came in response to a line of questioning by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, about whether the Supreme Court should overrule precedent when, in his words, “it is clear to the justices that the precedent was wrongly decided.” Jackson went on to explain the concept of stare decisis, which states that principles announced in previously decided cases continue to be relevant in similar legal questions. With that in mind, Jackson argued, “the court has developed certain factors that it looks at before it actually undertakes to reverse a precedent. One of those factors is the view that the precedent it’s reconsidering is wrong, but that’s not the only factor.”
She said the court also determines, in addition to whether or not the the prior precedent was egregiously wrong, “whether the cases in the area of the president have shifted such that the precedent itself is no longer on a firm foundation. And whether there have been either new facts, or a new understanding of the facts that give rise to a need to revisit the precedent.”
Wednesday was the Senate committee’s final day to question Jackson, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in February to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the high court. On the final day of the hearings March 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from friends and colleagues of Jackson about her temperament and approach to the law.
Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app: https://to.pbs.org/2Jb8twG
Find more from PBS NewsHour at https://www.pbs.org/newshour
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2HfsCD6
PBS NewsHour podcasts: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/podcasts