Dissenting opinion

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Legal and judicial opinions

Judicial opinions & aggregates for official decisions (O.S-Federal)

Majority opinion
Dissenting opinion
Plurality opinion
Concurring opinion
Memorandum opinion
Per curiam opinion
Seriatim opinion

A dissenting opinion (or dissent) is an opinion in a legal case. It is written by one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court.[1] In some cases, they simply declare a disagreement with the majority opinion. In other cases they may be used to instruct, prod, or otherwise try to convince other justices of the point of view expressed by the minority.[2]

When not necessarily referring to a legal decision, this can also be referred to as a minority report.[3][4]

Dissenting opinions are normally written at the same time as the majority opinion and any concurring opinions. They are also delivered and published at the same time. A dissenting opinion does not create binding precedent nor does it become a part of case law. However, they can sometimes be cited as a form of persuasive authority in subsequent cases when arguing that the court's holding should be limited or overturned. In some cases, a previous dissent is used to spur a change in the law. A later case may result in a majority opinion adopting a particular rule of law formerly advocated in dissent. As with concurring opinions, the difference in opinion between dissents and majority opinions can often highlight the precise holding of the majority opinion. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated in 1936: "A dissent in a Court of last resort is an appeal".[1]

The dissent may disagree with the majority for any number of reasons: a different interpretation of the existing case law, the application of different principles, or a different interpretation of the facts.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Purpose of Dissenting Opinions". About.com. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  2. "Dissent". The Free Dictionary/Farlex. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  3. Definition of "minority report". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Retrieved Nov 2012.
  4. Definition of "minority report", Macmillan Dictionary Retrieved Nov 2012.