the power of precedence

Set a precedent, and people will link to it as validation.
We must portray a new situation as similar to the precedent by stripping away context for correspondence (alignment).
We appeal to the prior decision because we consider logical consistency valid, a bedrock of fairness and justice.
Yet, every situation is unique in its specifics, and similarity is merely a heuristic. In this regard, popularity is as valid an appeal as precedence.