Meet Bob. Bob has a legal theory which seems intuitively correct, but various types of personalities in the world, perhaps even the majority of people, including many judges, find this deeply objectionable and wish it weren't. Bob posts on law.StackExchange(“LSE”) framing his theory as a question, and the majority of real answers say "yes that's correct."

Many just say "eww you Nazi why would you even ask that etc" in vacuous non answers.

Then someone comes along and days no that's not correct and gives a perhaps somewhat contrived legal theory as justification for why what most would want to be so actually maybe is.

Many read this and think "well, that's a little contrived, and I doubt it would be upheld, but there's a chance it is and I would have never thought of that way of looking at it. Anyway that's probably the best argument that could be made against this objectionable outcome if there was any that could possibly work."

Bob theft brings forth an action on his theory to court and the respondent's counsel is at a loss for how to defend this claim. They go and research as this obscure issue has never been judicially tested before so there's no precedent to go on and there's also a complete death of literature on the subject. However he comes across Bob's LSE post and the lone dissenting response gives him his only idea of how to ever possibly go about defending this case. He doubts it will work but is anyway grateful for the new (only) idea for strategy.

He puts forth this defensive argument and the judge also really doesn't want Bob's claim to be upheld due to personal ideological bents but he is expecting to have to bite the bullet and rule on Bob's favour until he hears this argument and it gives him a precious way out of the conundrum.

Has LSE decisively affected case law?

Honestly don't even know what to tag this with please feel free to add further tags.

2 Answers 2


The future prospects are negligible, and the present status of such influence is non-existent. In a few cases, you may find an appellate decision citing some statement from a reputable law review. Here is an article that addresses such influences on SCOTUS (which, the authors note, have decreased over time). However, you are describing a wingnut legal theory, and courts do not rely on wingnut legal theories, they rely on what the actual law is.

  • Sometimes courts rely on politically warped legal reasoning such as very arguably in the case of Julian Assam although admittedly it is hard to see how LSE could influence such a high profile case in any way at all. Oct 12, 2022 at 16:47

No. Law.SE may be informative or may influence a lawyer's thinking, but because it is not binding law, it cannot be the decisive influence on a decision.

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