Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?
"Great cases like hard cases make bad law" declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in his dissenting opinion in the Northern Securities antitrust case of 1904. His maxim argues that those cases which ascend to the Supreme Court of the United States by virtue of their national importance, interest, or other extreme circumstance, make for poor bases upon which to construct a general law. Frequently, such cases catch the public's attention because they raise important legal issues, and they become landmark decisions from a doctrinal standpoint. Yet from a practical perspective, great cases could create laws poorly suited for far less publicly tantalizing but far more common situations."
LACKLAND H. BLOOM, JR., DO GREAT CASES MAKE BAD LAW? (2014)