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In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. The general principle in common law legal systems is that similar cases should be decided so as to give similar and predictable outcomes, and the principle of precedent is the mechanism by which that goal is attained. Black's Law Dictionary defines "precedent" as a "rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases." Common law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law (statutes and codes enacted by legislative bodies), and regulatory law (regulations promulgated by executive branch agencies).
Stare decisis (Anglo-Latin pronunciation: /ˈstɛəri dɨˈsaɪsɨs/) is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions. The words originate from the phrasing of the principle in the Latin maxim Stare decisis et non quieta movere: "to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed." In a legal context, this is understood to mean that courts should generally abide by precedent and not disturb settled matters.
Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986), was a United States Supreme Court decision involving free speech and public schools. Matthew Fraser was suspended from school for making a speech full of sexual double entendres at a school assembly. The Supreme Court held that his suspension did not violate the First Amendment.
On April 26, 1983, Matthew Fraser, a Pierce County, Washington high school senior, gave a speech nominating classmate Jeff Kuhlman for Associated Student Body Vice President. The speech was filled with sexual innuendoes, but not obscenity, prompting disciplinary action from the administration.