Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Respectfully Dissent

As perhaps the most famous dissenter, Justice Scalia knows how to craft a barb.  And he’s not alone.  The Columbus Dispatch describes the “pointed language” of dissents written by justices of the Ohio Supreme Court.  The Dispatch reports, for example:  In June, [Justice] Pfeifer took issue with a majority opinion that relied on a statute containing a 307-word sentence by writing a one-sentence dissent: 300-plus words to lampoon the ‘24 lines of unrelenting abstruseness.’”
Vociferous dissents may be fun to read, but how useful are they?  Here are a few resources for exploring this type of judicial opinion:
Justice Ginsberg offers her views on The Role of Dissenting Opinions in a lecture published by the Minnesota Law Review.
PBS offers discussion of several “famous dissents,” including dissenting opinions in Korematsu and Dred Scott.