Legislative Inaction and the Patterson Case

In its October 1988 issue,1 the Michigan Law Review published a symposium on Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, a case in which the Supreme Court has requested reargument on the question of whether Runyon v. McCrary should be overruled or modified. Each of the three distinguished contributors to the symposium concludes that the Court should not overrule Runyon. In reaching this conclusion, Professor William N. Eskridge and Professor Daniel A. Farber rely heavily on the view that because Congress has recognized the existence of the Runyon doctrine and has refused to overrule the decision, the doctrine of stare decisis should apply with particular force. Although their analyses significantly advance the debate on the role of precedent in statutory interpretation, in my view their conclusions are incorrect.