February 21, 2021
February 21, 2021


“Precedent: A court decision that guides future cases with similar questions.”

“Stare Decisis: A legal term from Latin that means ‘to stand by things decided'” In other words, to apply a precedent when making a decision.

The Supreme Court considers the issue of precedent with almost every case. With each case, justices understand that they are establishing precedent for future situations or must apply precedents established by previous cases. Questions typically concern “when precedents should be honored and when they should be overturned.”

As you work through the materials and view the video clips with this lesson, keep in mind these guiding questions:

  • What is the meaning of the word “precedent”?
  • What is the meaning of the term “stare decisis”?
  • Why are precedent and stare decisis important?
  • In what circumstances would they be overturned?
  • How did the Supreme Court apply the precedent of Miranda to the case of Dickerson?
  • How did the Supreme Court apply the precedent of Miranda to the case of Alvarado?
  • What are three things you learned in this lesson?

Step 1: Download the handout “The Supreme Court” and save to your computer as directed. You will record all your answers here to submit when finished.

Step 2: Open and print or bookmark the materials at the following links. You will be directed when to use them on “The Supreme Court” handout.

Resource #1: “What the Justices Think About Precedent and Stare Decisis

Background #1: “The Fifth and Sixth Amendments To the United States Constitution.”

Background #2: “Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and Related Precedent Cases.”

Cases: “Applying Miranda to Dickerson v. United States (2000).” & “Classifying Arguments in the Dickerson Case.”

Click on the title to begin each video

Nixon’s Election Rehnquist’s Views on the Miranda Decision The Dickerson Case
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