One of the primary purposes of a judgeâ€™s opinion is to explain the courtâ€™s reasoning in a particular case. A judgeâ€™s opinion is not arbitrary, in the sense that a judge must give due consideration to relevant facts and rules of law for any legal issue. From a judgeâ€™s opinion, we are, therefore, able to know not only a judgeâ€™s conclusion but also why the judge ruled for one party over another. These opinions provide the courtâ€™s rationale in a particular case, which may later be used as precedent for subsequent cases that contain similar fact patterns. In Case 16-2, the judge provided several reasons to support the conclusion. The next two questions relate to the judgeâ€™s reasoning in Case 16-2.
1. What reasons did the judge provide for ruling in favor of the defendant? Clue: To ensure that you have found a reason, ask yourself whether what you have listed answers the question: â€œWhy did the court rule for the defendant?â€
2. What aspects of the courtâ€™s reasoning were particularly strong or weak? (Remember that just because reasons are given does not mean that these reasons are necessarily strong.) Clue: Reverse the roles in this case and assume that you are the plaintiffâ€™s lawyer. With which parts of the judgeâ€™s opinion would you still disagree based on the courtâ€™s reasoning? Would there be parts of the judgeâ€™s reasoning with which, even though you were the opposing party, you would agree?