AUTHORITIES, practice. By this word is understood the citations which are made of laws, acts of the legislature, and decided cases, and opinions of elementary writers. In its more confined sense, this word means, cases decided upon solemn argument which are said to 'be authorities for similar judgments iii like cases. 1 Lilly's Reg. 219. These latter are sometimes called precedents. (q. v.) Merlin, Repertoire, mot Autorites.
2. It has been remarked, that when we find an opinion in a text writer upon any particular point, we must consider it not merely as the opinion of the author, but as the supposed result of the authorities to which he refers; 3 Bos. & Pull. 361; but this is not always the case, and frequently the opinion is advanced with the reasons which support it, and it must stand or fall as these are or are not well founded. A distinction has been made between writers who have, and those who have not holden a judicial station; the former are considered authority, and the latter are not so considered unless their works have been judicially approved as such. Ram. on Judgments, 93. But this distinction appears not to be well founded; some writers who have occupied a judicial station do not possess the talents or the learning of others who have not been so elevated, and the works or writings of the latter are much more deserving the character of an authority than those of the former. See 3 T. R. 4, 241.