how to write a court opinion...

how to write a court opinion... - explains, you will...

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Decision or Holding How has this court resolved the issue? What was the outcome? What action did the court take? Like the legal issue, the court’s decision or holding is probably clearly stated in the opinion (e.g., “We hold . . .”). This should be a brief summary of the court’s decision (see Ferdico’s examples in the various “Key Holdings” at the end of Chapters 3-14) and will, of course, resemble aspects of the legal issue statement. In this sense, the holding tells the answer to the question phrased as the legal issue. One could even claim the decision is a one-word or simple-sentence response to the legal question. For example, Ferdico (p. ix) uses this quote from Chief Justice Rehnquist: Obviously, your case brief needs to provide more information than “it did.” As Ferdico
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Unformatted text preview: explains, you will probably find a more complete statement of the courts holding further along in the opinion or at the end, after discussing its reasoning (p. ix). Reasoning Why did the court reach the decision it did? What arguments justify the holding? Because judges often write many pages when justifying and explaining their decisions, this can be a difficult section for students to write. The doctrine of stare decisis requires judges to align their decision with legal principles established in previously decided cases. As a result, court opinions take considerable space to show how the current decision is consistent with the established principles. Your job is to state, as succinctly as possible, the rationale provided by the courts majority in support of their decision....
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