Are Some Words Better Left Unpublished?: Precedent and the Role of Unpublished Decisions
The practice of unpublished decisions and their precedential value causes much controversy. The practice of unpublished opinions creates a solution for how to deal effectively with heavy caseloads. Electronic databases make unpublished decisions readily available, which removes any secrecy that critics fear. Unpublished opinions are treated in one of three ways by the courts. In addition, three pragmatic issues are created by allowing opinions to go unpublished: 1) the availability of these decisions, 2) the quality of the reasoning in unpublished decisions, and 3) the treatment of unpublished opinions as precedent.