A dissenting opinion (or dissent) is an opinion in a legal case written by one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court which gives rise to its judgment. When not necessarily referring to a legal decision, this can also be referred to as a minority report.
A dissenting opinion does not create binding precedent nor does it become a part of case law. However, they are cited from time to time as a persuasive authority 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, and a later case will write a majority opinion for the same rule of law formerly cited by the dissent.
The dissent may disagree with the majority for any number of reasons: a different interpretation of the case law, use of different principles, or a different interpretation of the facts. They are written at the same time as the majority opinion, and are often used to dispute the reasoning behind the majority opinion.
A dissent in part is a dissenting opinion that disagrees selectively—specifically, with one part of the majority holding. In decisions that require holdings with multiple parts due to multiple legal claims or consolidated cases, judges may write an opinion "concurring in part and dissenting in part". In some courts, such as the Supreme Court of the United States, the majority opinion may be broken down into numbered or lettered parts, which allows those judges "dissenting in part" to easily identify which parts they join with the majority, and which sections they do not.
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Famous quotes containing the words opinion and/or dissenting:
“The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real. That is the way I would explain reality.”
—Charles Sanders Peirce (18391914)
“We must continually remind students in the classroom that expression of different opinions and dissenting ideas affirms the intellectual process. We should forcefully explain that our role is not to teach them to think as we do but rather to teach them, by example, the importance of taking a stance that is rooted in rigorous engagement with the full range of ideas about a topic.”
—bell hooks (b. 1955)