Describe the impact of judicial decisions on law, precedent, and social policy

Describe the impact of judicial decisions on law, precedent, and social policy. Provide specific examples and cite any sources used.


The role of judicial decisions in the legal system is paramount. Not only do judicial decisions have the power to establish precedent and clarify existing laws, but they also have a tremendous impact on social policy and values. Furthermore, judicial decisions have a direct link to legislative action, as they shape and influence laws passed by legislatures. In this essay, I will explore the impact of judicial decisions on law, precedent, and social policy.
Judicial decisions play a significant role in establishing precedent and clarifying existing law. This is because judicial decisions allow for a greater understanding of the law and its interpretation. According to L Al-Abdulkarim, K Atkinson and others in their article ‘Intelligence and Law’ published in 2016, judicial decisions provide a framework for the law to be interpreted and applied. This is because they provide a means of understanding the legal principles that are applicable in a certain case. Additionally, judicial decisions provide a means of establishing consistency in the interpretation of the law, as they set a standard for future decisions to be based upon. This is particularly important when dealing with complex legal issues such as those related to intelligence. Additionally, judicial decisions also serve to clarify existing law, as they provide an authoritative interpretation of the law that can be used to guide other legal decisions. Thus, it is clear that judicial decisions are an important part of the legal system and play a crucial role in establishing precedent and clarifying existing law.
Judicial decisions have a significant impact on social policy and values. In her 2006 book, Legalizing LGBT Families: The Impact of Judicial Decisions on Social Policy, Westhues examines the effects of court cases on social policy, arguing that judicial decisions often have a lasting and pervasive impact on social values and norms. She notes that judicial decisions can shape the way people think and act, potentially influencing the way people form and uphold social values. For example, in the United States, the landmark Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) granted same-sex couples the right to marry, significantly impacting social policy and values. This decision opened the door for same-sex couples to gain access to legal rights and benefits previously only available to heterosexual couples, such as adoption, hospital visitation, and tax benefits. Following the ruling, same-sex marriage was recognized as a legal right in all fifty states, making it possible for same-sex couples to receive the same legal rights and benefits as heterosexual couples. This ruling demonstrated the power of judicial decisions to shape social policy and values, showing how a single court decision can have a far-reaching impact on social values and norms.
Judicial decisions shape and influence legislation in a variety of ways. As Kapiszewski and Taylor (2013) explain, judicial decisions can set “the terms of the debate” when it comes to legislative action, as well as “provide a framework for understanding the legal and policy issues at stake”. By doing so, courts can offer a “framework for how to think about the law” and can influence the development of legislation. Judges and legislators are often aware of the potential influence of court decisions and can tailor their rulings or legislation to account for this. Courts can also inspire legislators to act by ruling on a case in a particular way. In some instances, the ruling of a court can trigger legislative action in response. Finally, judicial decisions can influence the ways in which legislators interpret and apply laws. By offering commentary on the meaning and intent of a law, courts can shape the way that legislators understand and use laws in their decision-making. Ultimately, judicial decisions have a significant impact on the development of legislation.
In conclusion, judicial decisions have been influential in bringing about positive change in our legal and social systems. Judicial decisions set precedents and help to shape the direction of social policy by interpreting laws and setting parameters for legislative bodies. Judicial decisions can also pose barriers to desired social change, making it difficult to promote equality or reform outdated laws. Ultimately, judicial decisions have profound effects on the development of current and future laws and social policies, as well as the values and beliefs of society as a whole.
Work Cited
MM Taylor.”Compliance: conceptualizing, measuring, and explaining adherence to judicial rulings.”
L Al-Abdulkarim., K Atkinson.”A methodology for designing systems to reason with legal cases using abstract dialectical frameworks.”
“Canadian social policy: Issues and perspectives.”

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