Do Judges Make Laws

Judge made law is the reported decisions of selected appellate and other courts (called courts of first impression) which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents in a process known as stare decisis. These interpretations are distinguished from statutory law which are the statutes and codes enacted by legislative bodies; regulatory law which are regulations established by governmental agencies based on statutes; and in some states, common law which are the generally accepted laws carried from England. The rulings resulting from trials and hearings which are not selected as 'courts of first impression In the common law tradition, courts decide the law applicable to a case by interpreting statutes and applying precedents which record how and why prior cases have been decided. Unlike most civil law systems, common law systems follow the doctrine of stare decisis, by which most courts are bound by their own previous decisions in similar cases, and all lower courts should make decisions consistent with previous decisions of higher courts. For example, in England, the High Court and the Court of Appeal are each bound by their own previous decisions, but neither the County Courts nor the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Generally speaking, higher courts do not have direct oversight over the lower courts of record, in that they cannot reach out on their own initiative (sua sponte) at any time to overrule judgments of the lower courts. Normally, the burden rests with litigants to appeal rulings (including those in clear violation of established case law) to the higher courts. If a judge acts against precedent and the case is not appealed, the decision will stand. This may occur more frequently than has been documented, as an appeal is usually quite expensive and difficult to make.
A lower court may not rule against a binding precedent, even if it feels that it is unjust; it may only express the hope that a higher court or the...