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Stare decisis, the rule that judicial precedents should be followed, has been considered by American courts to be more a rule of thumb than an ironfisted command. While stare decisis emphasizes the continuity of law as a means to preserve public respect for judicial decisionmaking and to protect the reliance interests of persons and institutions, these values must sometimes yield to growth and change. Thus, an American court does not consider itself "inexorably bound by its own precedents, but, in the interest of uniformity of treatment to litigants, and of stability and certainty in the law... will follow the rule of law which it has established in earlier cases unless clearly convinced that the rule was originally erroneous or is no longer sound because of changed conditions and that more good than harm would come by departing from precedent."

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