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Wake Forest University School of Law




Perhaps the principal shortcoming of constitutional adjudication in the Supreme Court of the United States is the Court's recurrent failure to set forth principles of decision that rise above the result reached in any particular case.' The other branches of the national government, the states, the bar, and ultimately the public at large require guidance concerning the pressing constitutional issues of the day. That guidance can come only from the Supreme Court, for, to be sure, "[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."2 To the extent the Court shrinks from its duty, declining to decide cases or leaving the doctrine underlying its decisions unclear or unstated, the nation is left adrift, without the fundamental understanding upon which the rule of law depends.



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