Freeing Criminal Defendants from the Shackles of Stare Decisis: How Creating a Constitutional Court Could Resolve the Injustices of Supreme Court Doctrine

American courts have adhered to the policy of stare decisis for over 200 years to encourage popular reliance and administrative efficiency. This has led to complex Supreme Court doctrine in many areas of the law including constitutional criminal trial rights. This paper addresses the history of criminal trial rights and notes some areas where adherence to stare decisis has severely hindered criminal defendants’ rights to due process and a fair trial. To remedy this problem, I propose the introduction of a constitutional court that is not bound by stare decisis. Rather, the court applies abstract constitutional principles to the facts of each individual case, with help from legal and philosophical commentary on the issues. Essentially the court will operate as a modified international civil law tribunal. This solution will resolve many of the injustices that Supreme Court doctrine has created over the past 200 years and hopefully will aid in curtailing the systematic mass incarceration of minorities in this country.