The California Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term: Clearing away the underbrush

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High courts are appropriately reluctant to overrule their own precedents. Respect for prior decisions lies at the heart of stare decisis and is one of the distinguishing features of judicial reasoning. At the same time, courts have an obligation to review their prior work to determine whether it still serves the public interest. If the needs of today’s generation require improvements or changes to the law, the courts should not hesitate in making those improvements. Also, it sometimes happens that a court simply gets it wrong the first time around, and courts should not hesitate to correct their own mistakes. This year, the California Supreme Court had a number of important brush-clearing decisions.

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California Bar Journal