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Old 08-03-2005, 11:28 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between pole and tropic
Posts: 7,544
Special concurrence (SCOTUS)

What is meant when a Supreme Court justice issues a "special concurrence" with the Court's decision?

I assume it means that the justice believes the majority's decision is appropriate, but for reasons different than those cited by them. How far off base am I?

And, while we're at it, what is meant when a Supreme Court justice invokes "jurisdictional dissent"?

I came across these, and other related terms, in this website about Stephen Breyer.

Thanks in advance!
Old 08-04-2005, 07:42 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Long Island
Posts: 2,173
A Justice who votes with the majority for the reasons that the majority opinion espouses generally does not write an opinion. A Justice who writes a concurrence (also known as a concurring opinion) does so because he or she agrees with the result of the majority but does so on different grounds. The terms 'special concurrence' and 'regular concurrence' received no special treatment in any of the classes I've taken, and have no particular legal effect or significance that I'm aware of.

A jurisdictional dissent is likewise not a term with any particular legal weight but merely means that the Justice disagrees that the Court should have exercised jurisdiction over the case.

- Ace, lowly 2L-to-be
Old 08-04-2005, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 7,931
I'm not sure of the distinction either, although I agree with Ace that I don't believe there is any legal distinction. The term "special concurrance" does not appear in my copy of the Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed, 2004).


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