American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide
"What follows are some of the fundamental principles that comprise the American legal system. Each of these is discussed in greater detail in this and other chapters of this book. They are summarized below in order to give the reader an overview of some of the basics of American common law."
1. Impact of Precedent—The Principle of Stare Decisis
"The defining principle of common law is the requirement that courts follow decisions of higher level courts within the same jurisdiction. It is from this legacy of stare decisis that a somewhat predictable, consistent body of law has emerged. See Chapters I.F. and II.G."
Excerpt reproduced from American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide (Anderson Publishing, a member of the LexisNexis Group 1997) by Toni M. Fine