In a dissent from a dismissal order in Chapman v. Doe, Justice Jackson questioned whether the Supreme Court had become too quick to vacate judgments, noting, inter alia, that “our common-law system assumes that judicial decisions are valuable and should not be cast aside lightly, especially because judicial precedents ‘are not merely the property of private litigants,’ but also belong to the public and ‘legal community as a whole.’” (reviewing United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U.S. 36 (1950)).

As she was the sole dissenter on this point, her views are apparently not shared by a majority of that court, but her analysis is still thought-provoking and deserves study, as it examines a part of the appellate process that often goes largely unnoticed. Thanks to Ben Taylor for drawing my attention to this one!

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