Justice Thomas rejects stare decisis

Here is a link to today’s Supreme Court decision in Gamble v. United States. In Gamble, the Court decided not to overturn the dual sovereignty doctrine. Pursuant to that doctrine, it does not violate the double jeopardy clause if a state prosecutes a defendant under state law even if the federal government has already prosecuted the defendant for the same conduct under a federal statute.

Justice Thomas wrote an intriguing concurring opinion in which he rejected the use of stare decisis to avoid overturning demonstrably erroneous precedents. As an example of such rulings, Thomas mentioned the Court’s substantive due process decisions, and explicitly cited the Court’s abortion decisions as an example of an area where the Court “has doggedly adhered to these erroneous substantive-due-process precedents again and again, often to disastrous ends.” Although no other Justice joined his concurrence, Thomas’s opinion will likely fuel speculation about the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.


Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.