The Court is asked once again to consider whether the race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause.
How to read a court decision The parts of a court decision In general, a court opinion in a reporter will contain the following parts, but take note that not all reporters include every section listed here. The most important thing to remember is that the opinion written by the court - the part which actually constitutes the law- does not begin until the section marked "Opinion.
These sections are not considered law and should not be quoted or cited as part of the decision. Below is a sample case with the parts of the heading labeled. BNA ; 85 Empl. CCH P41,; 17 Fla. S Dates argued and decided: Prior decisions delivered by other courts which heard the case, citations to those decisions.
From the sample case: The final determination of the matter by this court. For instance, if as in the example here, a higer court reviewing the decision of a lower court, the higher court will usually either affirm the lower court's decision or reverse and remand send it back it to the lower court.
Lower courts' dispositions might state that a motion was granted or denied or a judgment was made for the plaintiff or defendant. Case Summary and Headnotes: In general, these sections provide background information on the case and supply key legal concepts and terms covered in the decision.
Not all reporters contain these sections or present the information in exactly the same way. For an example, LexisNexis Academic has quick guide to understanding what the caselaw summaries and headnotes are that appear at the beginning of decisions found on LexisNexis Academic: Caselaw Summaries and Headnotes Decision: A short summary of the holding of the opinion.
A brief summary of the facts, history, and holding of the court in the case. Another summary of the decision in the opinion inserted by the reporter. A list of the attorneys representing the parties in the case. This is where the decision from the court which constitutes the law begins. Usually this will start by naming the judge who wrote the opinion.
Opinions usually begin with a history of the facts and legal issues of the case. The court will then look to relevant statutes or past decisions precedent for law that can be applied to the facts. The court then analyzes and applies the law to the facts and makes a ruling based on that analysis.
In higher courts, such as the United States Supreme Court, where a group of judges hears and decides a case, the opinion could be referred to as the majority opinion, meaning most of the judges agreed with the opinion written by one judge.
Often the majority opinion will also list the individual judges who joined in the decision. At the end of the majority opinion there might be a dissenting opinion written by one judge and joined by other judges who disagreed with majority opinion.
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If it contributes to the story-telling, she uses it, and it makes for a great complete picture of a crime situation.