Application to the U.S. legal system
When the Court implies that the doctrine called Stare decisis rests solely on 'important policy considerations * * * in favor of continuity and predictability in the law,' it does not tell the whole story. Such considerations are present and, in a field as delicate as labor relations, extremely important. 'Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right.'
In the ordinary case, considerations of certainty and the equal treatment of similarly situated litigants will provide a strong incentive to adhere to precedent.
In the United States Supreme Court, the principle of stare decisis is most flexible in constitutional cases:
Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right.... But in cases involving the Federal Constitution, where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions.... This is strikingly true of cases under the due process clause.
[W]hen convinced of former error, this Court has never felt constrained to follow precedent. In constitutional questions, where correction depends upon amendment, and not upon legislative action, this Court throughout its history has freely exercised its power to reexamine the basis of its constitutional decisions
Stare decisis is not an "inexorable command," but the doctrine is "of fundamental importance to the rule of law," Even in constitutional cases, in which stare decisis concerns are less pronounced, we will not overrule a precedent absent a "special justification." We do not agree that the doctrine of stare decisis bars a re-examination of Sinclair in the circumstances of this case. We fully recognize that important policy considerations militate in favor of continuity and predictability in the law. Nevertheless, as Mr. Justice Frankfurter wrote for the Court, '(S)tare decisis is a principle of policy and not a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, however recent and questionable, when such adherence involves collision with a prior doctrine more embracing in its scope, intrinsically sounder, and verified by experience.' It is precisely because Sinclair stands as a significant departure from our otherwise consistent emphasis upon the congressional policy to promote the peaceful settlement of labor disputes through arbitration and our efforts to accommodate and harmonize this policy with those underlying the anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act that we believe Sinclair should be reconsidered. Furthermore, in light of developments subsequent to Sinclair, in particular our decision in Avco Corp. v. Aero Lodge  it has become clear that the Sinclair decision does not further but rather frustrates realization of an important goal of our national labor policy. Nor can we agree that conclusive weight should be accorded to the failure of Congress to respond to Sinclair on the theory that congressional silence should be interpreted as acceptance of the decision. The Court has cautioned that '(i)t is at best treacherous to find in congressional silence alone the adoption of a controlling rule of law.' Girouard v. United States, Therefore, in the absence of any persuasive circumstances evidencing a clear design that congressional inaction be taken as acceptance of Sinclair, the mere silence of Congress is not a sufficient reason for refusing to reconsider the decision.
“When Sinclair Refining Co. v. Atkinson, was decided in 1962, I subscribed to the opinion of the Court. Before six years had passed I had reached the conclusion that the Sinclair holding should be reconsidered, and said so in Avco Corp. v. Aero Lodge. Today I join the Court in concluding 'that Sinclair was erroneously decided and that subsequent events have undermined its continuing validity * * *.”
When the Court implies that the doctrine called Stare decisis rests solely on 'important policy considerations * * * in favor of continuity and predictability in the law,' it does not tell the whole story. Such considerations are present and, in a field as delicate as labor relations, extremely important.
'Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right. In the ordinary case, considerations of certainty and the equal treatment of similarly situated litigants will provide a strong incentive to adhere to precedent.
‘I do not believe that the principle of stare decisis forecloses all reconsiderations of earlier decisions. In the area of constitutional law, for example, where the only alternative to action by this Court is the laborious process of constitutional amendment and where the ultimate responsibility rests with this Court, I believe reconsideration is always proper. Even on statutory questions the appearance of new facts or changes in circumstances might warrant re-examination of past decisions in exceptional cases under exceptional circumstances. In the present situation there are no such circumstances. Congress has taken no action inconsistent with our decision in Sinclair. And, although bills have been introduced, Congress has declined the invitation to act
‘Other members of the Court have drawn the distinction between constitutional and statutory matters, and indicated that the correction of this Court's errors in statutory interpretation is best left to Congress. For example, Mr. Justice Douglas noted in dissent in Swift & Co. v. Wickham : 'An error in interpreting a federal statute may be easily remedied. If this Court has failed to perceive the intention of Congress, or has interpreted a statute in such a matter as to thwart the legislative purpose, Congress may change it. The lessons of experience are not learned by judges alone. No doubt stare decisis is not 'a universal, inexorable command' 'We recognize that stare decisis embodies an important social policy. It represents an element of continuity in law, and is rooted in the psychologic need to satisfy reasonable expectations.' And one of the most recent reliances on stare decisis for decision was expressed with such firmness as to manifest allegiance to principle, not utilization of an ad hoc argument. We are not dealing here with a ruling which cramps the power of Government; we are not dealing with a constitutional adjudication which time and experience have proved a parochial instead of a spacious view of the Constitution and which thus calls for self-correction by the Court without waiting for the leadenfooted process of constitutional amendment. We are dealing with an exercise of this Court's duty to construe what Congress has enacted with ample powers on its part quickly and completely to correct misconstruction.
‘The policy of stare decisis is at its most powerful in statutory interpretation (which Congress is always free to supersede with new legislation), and §5 presents no exception to the rule that when statutory language is construed it should stay construed. But it is another thing entirely to ignore error in extending discredited reasoning to previously unspoiled statutory provisions.’
 Congressional Research Service,Supreme Court Decisions Overruled by Subsequent Decision (1992) [source of this write up is , wikipedia]
 Helvering v. Hallock,  USSC 19; 309 U.S. 106, 119 USSC 19; , 60 S.Ct. 444, 451 USSC 19; , 84 L.Ed. 604 (1940). See Swift & Co. v. Wickham, 382 U.S. 111, 116, 86 S.Ct. 258, 261, 15 L.Ed.2d 194 (1965).
See, e.g., United Steelworkers of America v. American Mfg. Co.,  USSC 107; 363 U.S. 564, 80 S.Ct. 1343, 4 L.Ed.2d 1403 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Nav. Co.,  USSC 109; 363 U.S. 574, 80 S.Ct. 1347, 4 L.Ed.2d 1409 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp.,  USSC 108; 363 U.S. 593, 80 S.Ct. 1358, 4 L.Ed.2d 1424 (1960); Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills,  USSC 5; 353 U.S. 448, 77 S.Ct. 912, 1 L.Ed.2d 972 (1957).
 See, e.g., Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Ind. R. Co.,  USSC 37; 353 U.S. 30, 77 S.Ct. 635, 1 L.Ed.2d 622 (1957); Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills, supra; cf. Graham v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen,  USSC 114; 338 U.S. 232, 70 S.Ct. 14, 94 L.Ed. 22 (1949). See also United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 61 S.Ct. 463, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941)
 Boys Markets, Inc v Retail Clerks  USSC 125; 398 U.S. 235; 90 S.Ct. 1583; 26 L.Ed.2d 199;No. 768 (1 June 1970)
 Boys Markets [supra] per JUSTICE STEWART ,he also quoted JUSTICE FRANKFERTER :” An aphorism of Mr. Justice Frankfurter provides me refuge: 'Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.' Henslee v. Union Planters Bank,  USSC 4; 335 U.S. 595, 600 USSC 4; , 69 S.Ct. 290, 293, 93 L.Ed. 259 (dissenting opinion).
 See also United Gas Improvement Co. v. Continental Oil Co.,  USSC 119; 381 U.S. 392, 406, 85 S.Ct. 1517, 1525, 14 L.Ed.2d 466 (1965) (Douglas, J., dissenting). Apparently, however, some members of the Court are willing to give greater weight to state decisis in constitutional than in statutory matters. See, e.g., Orozco v. Texas,  USSC 62; 394 U.S. 324, 327—328 USSC 62; , 89 S.Ct. 1095, 1097—1098 USSC 62; , 22 L.Ed.2d 311 (1969) (Harlan, J., concurring)
 See Screws v. United States,  USSC 89; 325 U.S. 91, 112, 113 USSC 89; , 65 S.Ct. 1031, 1040 USSC 89; , 89 L.Ed. 1495, 162 A.L.R. 1330. 'But beyond that is the problem of stare decisis. The construction given § 20 [now 18 U.S.C.A. § 242] in the Classic case [United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 61 S.Ct. 1031, 85 L.Ed. 1368] formulated a rule of law which has become the basis of federal enforcement in this important field. The rule adopted in that case was formulated after mature consideration. It should be good for more than one day only. We do not have here a situation comparable to Mahnich v. Southern S. S. Co.,  USSC 24; 321 U.S. 96, 64 S.Ct. 455, 88 L.Ed. 561, where we overruled a decision demonstrated to be a sport in the law and inconsistent with what preceded and what followed. The Classic case was not the product of hasty action or inadvertence. It was not out of line with the cases which preceded. It was designed to fashion the governing rule of law in this important field. We are not dealing with constitutional interpretations which throughout the history of the Court have wisely remained flexible and subject to frequent re-examination. The meaning which the Classic case gave to the phrase 'under color of any law' involved only a construction of the statute. Hence if it states a rule undesirable in its consequences, Congress can change it. We add only to the instability and uncertainty of the law if we revise the meaning of § 20 to meet the exigencies of each case coming before us.'