October 2012 Vol. 111 No. 1 THE REVIEW
ARTICLES

Stare Decisis and the Rule of Law: A Layered Approach

Jeremy Waldron

Stare decisis remains a controversial feature of the legal systems that recognize it. Some jurists argue that the doctrine is at odds with the rule of law; others argue that there are good rule-of-law arguments in favor of stare decisis. This Article considers one possible good rule-of-law argument. It suggests that we should approach stare decisis in a layered way, looking at what the rule of law requires of the various judges involved in the development of a precedent. One rule-of-law principle, the principle of constancy, counsels against lightly overturning such precedents as there are. But that is not in itself an argument for stare decisis since it presupposes that precedents have already been created. However, there is another principle, the principle of generality, which requires all judges to base their decisions on general norms and not just leave them as freestanding particulars. A third principle, the principle of institutional responsibility, requires subsequent judges not to give the lie to the use by precedent judges of certain general norms to determine their decisions. And finally, the fundamental principle of fidelity to law requires the precedent judge to approach her decision as far as she can by trying to figure out the implicit bearing of such existing law as there is on the case in front of her. Together, these principles make up a layered case-not an absolute case, but a strong and productive case-for stare decisis.

  READ MORE    //  VIEW PDF

A Financial Economic Theory of Punitive Damages

Robert J. Rhee
READ MORE    //  VIEW PDF
NOTES

Limits of the Federal Wiretap Act’s Ability to Protect Against Wi-Fi Sniffing

Mani Potnuru

Adoption of Wi-Fi wireless technology continues to see explosive growth. However, many users still operate their home Wi-Fi networks in unsecured mode or use publicly available unsecured Wi-Fi networks, thus exposing their communications to the dangers of "packet sniffing," a technique used for eavesdropping on a network. Some have argued that communications over unsecured Wi-Fi networks are "readily accessible to the general public" and that such communications are therefore excluded from the broad protections of the Federal Wiretap Act against intentional interception of electronic communications.

This Note examines the Federal Wiretap Act and argues that the current Act's treatment of Wi-Fi sniffing might protect unsecured Wi-Fi communications under some circumstances, but that any such protections are incidental, unsystematic, and uncertain. This Note further argues that the current statute's "readily accessible to the general public" language should be interpreted in a way that addresses concerns about Wi-Fi sniffing and users' expectations of privacy. Users' current expectations stem from their limited understanding of the underlying Wi-Fi technology and the accompanying security risks and, more importantly, from the fact that private communications cannot be intercepted without specialized tools and knowledge not readily available to the general public. Finally, this Note advocates for amending the Federal Wiretap Act to remove uncertainty regarding protections against Wi-Fi sniffing. Clear protections against Wi-Fi sniffing would avoid the private and social cost of data theft resulting from sniffing and could close the gap between users' theoretical ability to protect themselves by using security mechanisms and their reduced practical ability to take any such protective measures.

  READ MORE    //  VIEW PDF

The Law of Ponzi Payouts

Spencer A. Winters
READ MORE    //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Speedy Trial as a Viable Challenge to Chronic Underfunding in Indigent-Defense Systems

Across the country, underresourced indigent-defense systems create delays in taking cases to trial...

A Blended Approach to Reducing the Costs of Shareholder Litigation

Multiforum litigation and federal securities law class actions impose heavy costs on corporations and...

The Scope of Precedent

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales...

Reinventing Copyright and Patent

Intellectual property systems all over the world are modeled on a one-size-fits-all principle. However...

Protecting Whistleblower Protections in the Dodd-Frank Act

In 2008, the United States fell into its worst economic recession in over seventy years. In response,...
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List