During Supreme Court arguments on the Exxon Valdez case, why did Justice Stephen Breyer keep referring to "sand"? He was using shorthand to refer to a decision he had written a mere six weeks earlier in John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. United States, where he wrote that the Court should be wary of tossing aside old precedents. That decision could play a significant role in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, where the parties are arguing over the precedential value of an 1818 Supreme Court decision.
At Issue in 'Exxon' Case: How Decisive Is Stare Decisis?
March 4, 2008