Publication Date


Document Type

Special Contribution


The legal sage, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once observed that "[flacts do not often exactly repeat themselves in practice; but cases with comparatively small variations from each other do." Although Holmes employed the observation in a specific litigation context, his insight obviously possesses a broader relevance. At other junctures as well, that is to say, law's continuity bears emphasis as a fundamental feature of complete juridical synthesis. ...

The phenomenon periodically manifests itself to a degree deserving attention from those who appreciate case law's historical component. This brief account seeks to provide illustrative focus. It assembles a small assortment of modern instances in which Georgia's appellate courts retreat to the past to craft for the future. Thereby, the instances reconfirm the enduring nature of "pivotal" legal principles. Although by no means unfolding a "seamless web," the episodes do portray local government litigation's pulsating character of continuity.