What Does Override Mean with Respect to Making Laws

What Does Override Mean with Respect to Making Laws

(of the U.S. Congress) to pass a bill after the president vetoed it. The term can also be used for other jurisdictions, although it is most often associated with the U.S. Congress. In my previous work, I argue that relying on overridden precedents in such situations can undermine interests that usually follow precedents, such as fairness, efficiency, and predictability. Such trust can also thwart the intentions of Congress. In the causation cases discussed above, the Supreme Court proposed that if Congress had amended Title VII in 1991 to replace the Court`s previous interpretation of Title VII, it wished its preferred causation standard to be more general, it should at the same time have amended all other antidiscrimination laws with wording similar to that of Title VII. The Court then characterized the failure of Congress to do so as a positive «decision» by Congress that a different standard should apply.33 I have argued that this presumption does not adequately reflect the institutional realities in which Congress operates. As an alternative, I proposed interpretative conventions that I believe would eliminate confusion about the scope of waivers and better align with the likely intent of Congress.

In particular, I submit that the adoption of a derogation should create rebuttable presumptions that (1) both the reasoning and the result of the previous interpretation are outdated; and (2) similar language in other statutes should be interpreted in accordance with the repeal, provided that such application is a reasonable interpretation of pre-existing legal language.34 Deborah A. Widiss is Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, and Ira C. Batman Faculty Fellow at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She thanks Brian Broughman, Charlie Geyh, Abbe Gluck and Justice David Hamilton for their comments on early drafts of this article, and Rachel Pawlak for her research assistance. This article summarizes the research conducted by Widiss over the past decade, and it thanks the many colleagues, anonymous reviewers, editors, and students who helped with the research and made suggestions for improving these earlier projects. The complexity of interpretation sometimes arises when implementing derogations. I also looked at situations where judges might reasonably disagree on whether the repealed legislation or the precedent already in place should apply. A common question is whether legal language completely rejects both the reasoning and the outcome of a previous decision. For example, in 1978, Congress overturned a Supreme Court decision that discrimination based on pregnancy was not a form of sex discrimination.24 Since then, lower courts have not agreed on how to resolve cases involving similar issues, such as breastfeeding discrimination or access to contraception. Some courts have found that Congress implicitly adopted the dissenting judges` reasoning in the original case, while other courts suggest that majority reasoning continues to control the resolution of these related issues.25 Moreover, the ADAAA was an unusually direct waiver that attracted much attention in the popular media and legal press.

In absolute terms, citations on precedents overturned by ADAAA have declined rapidly and dramatically.23 The prevalence of errors, even in this high-profile context, suggests that errors likely account for a large portion of ongoing citations on overturned precedents in general, as most waivers are not as clear or important as ADAAA. Error in the application of a new legal language. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) explicitly overturned previous Supreme Court decisions that had interpreted the meaning of the term «disability» very strictly in the Americans with Disabilities Act.16 ADAAA`s stated purpose was to restore «broad scope of protection» under the ADA.17 It was passed with high bipartisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush. A few years after its adoption, I assessed the extent to which the courts were adequately following the new legal standards.18 I found that the courts continued to apply with some regularity the repealed decisions to theses that were undoubtedly superseded by the new legislation.19 My empirical study with Professor Broughman shows that citations from overturned precedents are rapidly decreasing. But quotes about overwritten precedents don`t, on average. This suggests that derogations do not have as much impact as they should. This is likely due in part to the Westlaw and Lexis coding protocols described above. But even if they know that a repeal has been pronounced, lower courts must assess the extent to which the new legal language replaces the previous judicial interpretation. It is often easy; It simply requires the courts to carefully apply the standard of the revised legislation. In some cases, however, it may be difficult to determine the scope of the derogation.

I have conducted case studies on exceptions to discrimination in the workplace that illustrate some of the problems that can arise. As an additional robustness test, for a subset of randomly selected cases from both groups, we manually coded individual top scores to distinguish between top scores that identified which parts of the previous decision had been replaced and which had not. Because Lexis` Shepard service tracks citations on each title of a case, we were able to judge in a finer manner which theses were referenced in each case as subsequent decisions highlighted previous precedents. For both groups of cases, we found a remarkable decrease in net quotes in keywords associated with specific sentences in the replaced cases, but again, this decrease was much more pronounced for the minority cases than for the overwritten cases. In addition, we assessed the extent to which ideological preferences could explain the continued citation of overwritten precedents, but our data did not suggest that a judge`s ideology was the determining factor.9 My research in this area boils down to one simple point: waivers often can`t really be overturned. By taking steps to ensure that legislated research properly assesses the significance of legislative changes and recognizing that there may be significant delays before legal research services flag past decisions as outdated, courts and lawyers can play a key role in making the repeal more effective. This will protect and promote the fundamental principles of democratic accountability embedded in our government structure. Court annulments can be more effective than legislative overrides, in part because the coding protocols used by major legal research services, such as Westlaw`s KeyCite system and Lexis` Shepard system, can identify the former much better than the latter.

Service coding protocols rely almost entirely on judicial signals rather than legislative signals.11 This approach reflects the common law roots of U.S. law; Coding protocols are based on the assumption that only a subsequent court decision affects the precedent of a previous court decision. Under these protocols, if the Supreme Court strikes down an earlier precedent, programmers will usually immediately add a «red flag» or «warning signal» to the previous precedent. On the other hand, coders are generally not expected to judge whether the legislation affects the precedent of court decisions; A set precedent is generally not flagged unless a court states in a decision that a new legal formulation has replaced a previous judicial interpretation. Once a court has made such a statement, programmers must add a warning or warning signal to the previous decision. However, Westlaw will only reject a decision if a court at the same or higher level in the judicial hierarchy indicates a change in the precedential value of the case.