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Q: Supreme Court dissenting opinion ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Supreme Court dissenting opinion
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: f_rob-ga
List Price: $3.50
Posted: 26 Sep 2005 10:10 PDT
Expires: 26 Oct 2005 10:10 PDT
Question ID: 572816
What is the purpose of the dissenting opinion given in Supreme Court
cases. Can this opinion be used in other cases in lower
courts or as a method of challenging the majority decision. I thought
that a Supreme Court decision was effectively final, if this is the
case then what legal purpose does the dissenting opinion have.
Subject: Re: Supreme Court dissenting opinion
Answered By: hammer-ga on 26 Sep 2005 13:21 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

A dissenting opinion explains and records the thinking of those
justices who did not agree with the majority.

According to Dr. Thomas R. O'Connor of Wesleyan College, a dissenting
opinion has the following purposes:
"A justice who disagrees with the majority can write or join in either
a dissenting or concurring opinion.  A dissenting opinion has the
purpose of trying to persuade colleagues to change their minds, and is
usually distributed in conference among all the justices before the
final opinion is written.  A dissenting opinion can also serve the
purpose of setting the stage for later Supreme Court decisions.  In
exceptional cases, a dissenting opinion can also urge Congress to
overturn the Supreme Court's interpretation of a law.  Often, there
are multiple dissenters, but if there is group dissent, one of the
dissenters must be recorded as the senior dissenter.  Dissents usually
lead to concurring opinions as a defensive tactic.  If there are as
many as four dissents, three concurring opinions are usually written."

Above is from the website of Dr. Thomas R. O Connor


For a brief definition of a dissenting opinion, see the Wikipedia:


Thank you for the opportunity to research your interesting question.

- Hammer

Search Strategy
"dissenting opinion" "supreme court"
"minority opinion" "supreme court"

Additional Information
United States Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court procedures
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