Two weeks ago, my legal analysis, research, and writing class learned about different kinds of judicial opinions: majority opinions, dissenting opinions, concurring opinions, plurality opinions, per curiam opinions, &c. When reading the decision(s) of a multi-judge court, the importance of these various sorts of opinions is not always readily understandable. Why would a judge concur? What’s the point of a dissent?
Well, Judge Kozinski just gave me something new to add to next year’s class. But before we get to that, here’s the opinion lineup from last week’s Garfias-Rodriguez v. Holder from the en banc Ninth Circuit:
Yikes. Six separate opinions. A “partial concurrence and partial dissent.” The Court describes Judge Kozinski’s opinion as a concurrence, but that’s not what he calls it:
Ah yes, the traditional “disagreeing with everyone” and yet still “concurring” opinion. It’s colorful language, but also a good example of how a concurrence doesn’t necessarily mean that the judge agrees with everything (or anything) the majority had to say in reaching the agreed-upon result.