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Monday, October 17, 2022

NJ Employment Lawyer, Overturning Roe, What is Stare Decisis’ and Precedent’s Effect on Employment Lawsuits

Recently, the US Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, decided June 24, 2022 overturned the long-established precedent of a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion, thereby returning the issue of abortion rights left to be decided by individual states. When important legal issues are left to individual states to decide, it gives rise to a vast discrepancy in the breadth of legal rights (or in some situations, no legal right) granted to an individual dependent on which state the person resides in, although the facts of two such individuals living in different states may otherwise be identical facts.

The Court in Dobbs overturned the 50-year-old legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113, which was decided a half a century ago. Civil rights advocates are concerned that by the US Supreme Court not adhering to precedent, it could be the forewarning of a practice of not adhering to precedents which established other legal rights including numerous civil rights and employment rights. For this reason, the decision sent shock waves through numerous civil rights groups.

 These concerns were exacerbated by language in the Dobbs Opinion itself, concerns that the legal  rationales within the Opinion will stimulate the Court’s self-encouragement for overturning other legal precedents, such as the Supreme Court precedents legalizing employee LGBTQ rights and other rights granted to employees.

The US Supreme Court establishes certain binding precedents in employment law cases that affect subsequent employment law cases. Both Federal Courts and State Courts are obligated to follow Supreme Court precedents because they are binding precedents.

The Doctrine of “Stare Decisis” and “Precedent” Are Closely Intertwined.

Stare Decisis

In American Law, the legal doctrine of “stare decisis” and legal concept of “precedent” are closely intertwined while not exactly the same. Both the legal doctrine of stare decisis and concept of legal precedent are applicable in State and Federal courts. Stare decisis is a Latin term that translates as “to stand by things decided”.

“Stare decisis” means that courts will adhere to a binding precedent in making their decisions. In New Jersey, a decision taken by a higher state court, such as the NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division is binding on the lower New Jersey Superior Courts beneath it. A New Jersey Supreme Court decision is binding precedent on both the lower NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division and the NJ Jersey Superior Courts beneath it. In applying stare decisis, a court should adhere to the ruling from its own previous court decisions when deciding similar cases.

If your employment case is in United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, a decision taken by the higher federal court for that jurisdiction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, (note: the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit serves the areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands) would be binding upon your case being heard in the lower federal Court, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Precedent

A court decision that is considered as legal authority for deciding subsequent cases involving similar legal issues or similar facts, is referred to as setting a precedent. Precedent ideally requires courts to apply the law in a similar analysis to cases that involve similar facts presented and issues to be decided. When a court must render a decision, if a previous court has ruled on the same issue, then the court will make their decision in keeping with the previous court’s decision on that issue. The goal is to remove the judiciary’s personal views from the decision- making process and so that persons may know of law they can rely upon in making legal arguments, to understand their rights, and to assess and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a case.                      

There is a difference in binding authority and the doctrine of stare decisis, and persuasive  authority. For a court’s decision to be binding on other courts, the previous court which decided  the same issue must have binding authority over the court. If it does not have binding authority,  the previous decision is merely persuasive authority and not stare decisis.

There Is Horizontal Stare Decisis and Vertical Stare Decisis.

Horizontal Stare Decisis

If a court adheres to its own precedent, it is horizontal stare decisis. By way of example, if the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit adheres to the ruling of a previous US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit case that decided the same issue, that is horizontal stare decisis.

Vertical Stare Decisis

If a lower court applies precedent from a higher court, it is vertical stare decisis. For example, if the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit adheres to a previous ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the same issue, that would be vertical stare decisis.

If the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey adheres to a previous ruling from its next higher court, i.e., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, involving similar issues and facts to be decided, that would be vertical stare decisis.

Whenever the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling deciding certain issues, it is binding on all of the the lower federal courts and also on all state courts. State courts are obligated to follow US Supreme Court precedents because Supreme Court precedents are binding presidents in the entire country.

However, the lower federal courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey are not considered to be binding precedent on NJ state courts.

NOTE: Jurisdiction of the courts, precedent, and stare decisis are extremely complex legal issues. This brief article does not encompass numerous issues regarding jurisdiction, precedent, and stare decisis This article is not to be construed as giving legal advice. If you have an employment matter, you should contact professional legal services.

Do Not Sit on Your Rights. If You Quit Your Job, You May Lose Right to Prevail in a Lawsuit.

In many instances of discrimination, if you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit unless you first take certain legally required measures to preserve your job while you are still employed. If you are thinking of quitting, or think you will be fired, you should contact this office immediately to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

Let me fight for you. I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing employees who were discriminated against by employers and was successful in recovering multiple six figure settlement moneys for them. If you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be terminated, or were terminated, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination, retaliation and whistleblower law.

If you think you may have been discriminated against, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept discrimination and whistleblower cases from all over New Jersey.

If you have been demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for complaining about, objecting to, refusing to participate in, or reporting what you believe is your employer’s illegal or improper conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible. I am successful in bringing whistleblower and discrimination lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for workers.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law represents workers throughout the entire state, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, Orange, East Orange, Trenton, Paterson, Montclair, Elizabeth, North Brunswick, Union, Plainfield, Lakewood, Edison and in every county including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law has convenient locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

 



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