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Binding Authority – Conflict in Precedential Case Law – U.S. Supreme Court

State v. Edward Terrell Jennings, 2002 WI 44, on certification
For Jennings: Margaret A. Maroney, SPD, Madison Appellate


¶3. We conclude that when confronted with a direct conflict between a decision of this court and a later decision of the United States Supreme Court on a matter of federal law, the court of appeals may, but is not required to, certify the case to us pursuant to Wis. Stat § 809.61. If it does not, or if this court declines to accept certification, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution compels adherence to United States Supreme Court precedent on matters of federal law, although it means deviating from a conflicting decision of this court.

(Grant of certification request, the court stresses, isn’t mandatory, because under Supremacy Clause all lower courts must defer to Supreme Court on questions of federal law. ¶¶16-19.)


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