stare decisis


sta·​re de·​ci·​sis ˌster-ē-di-ˈsī-səs How to pronounce stare decisis (audio)
: a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice

Examples of stare decisis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Additionally, the Tax Court explained that its earlier reasoning in Hallmark was not just based on stare decisis (i.e., relying on past cases of the Tax Court), but rather also the prior-construction canon. Timothy M. Todd, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Despite this, the justices still declined to overturn the exemption on stare decisis grounds. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2023 There is no way to replace who sits on the courts quickly or change conservative disdain for stare decisis. Brynn Tannehill, The New Republic, 10 Apr. 2023 When that happens, stare decisis is not a straitjacket. Tim Dillon, USA Today, 31 Mar. 2023 This battle of the branches comes under scrutiny most often when the justices use the Constitution to expand or contract rights or deviate from stare decisis to overturn previous rulings. WSJ, 28 Feb. 2023 That's the stare decisis. Corrinne Hess, Journal Sentinel, 21 Mar. 2023 What is stare decisis? The Week Staff, The Week, 22 May 2022 That opinion, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, depended explicitly on stare decisis, the common-law doctrine of precedent that exercises such pull in the realm of US constitutional law. Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 2 July 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stare decisis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, to stand by decided matters

First Known Use

1754, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stare decisis was in 1754

Dictionary Entries Near stare decisis

Cite this Entry

“Stare decisis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

stare decisis

: the doctrine under which courts adhere to precedent on questions of law in order to insure certainty, consistency, and stability in the administration of justice with departure from precedent permitted for compelling reasons (as to prevent the perpetuation of injustice)

New Latin, to stand by things that have been settled

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