U.S. Supreme Court or the California Supreme Court
Case Brief Project (1-2 Pages, see examples here: student case brief examples.pdfPreview the document).
Complete the following course project, which consists of researching a case and writing a critical case brief after reading and analyzing the judicial opinion associated with the case. Upload the 1-2 page case brief as a Word or PDF document before the deadline.
Research one case that the U.S. Supreme Court or the California Supreme Court (not a trial court or an intermediate court of appeal or a court in another state/country) has written a decision on (preferably within the last 5 years, although older cases may be selected if of a particular interest, which must be explained in the case brief)
For more information on writing a student case brief, please review this website: https://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/how-to/brief-a-caseLinks to an external site..
The case brief should have a case citation (parties involved and year of decision), brief facts (only the most important facts that the court relied on), issue(s) (the question(s) to be resolved by the court), holding/rule of law (the precedent established by the case, which is the court’s answer(s) to the issue(s)), reasoning/rationale (why the court ruled as it did), other opinions (e.g., dissent and/or concurring opinions, if any), and your own brief analysis (e.g., why you agree with the court or not).
Thus, answer the following questions while preparing a case brief:
Case: What was the name of the case? Please include the year of the case as well.
Parties: Who were the parties?
Facts: Briefly discuss the type of case it is (e.g., civil, criminal) and what the facts of the case were that were relied upon in the decision made by the Court (the dispositive facts only). This should not be the bulk of a case brief, and there will be plenty of unimportant facts left out. Make sure that the facts included are important to understanding why the court held as it did, which will help complete this case to other cases (an important skill in our common law system of precedence under the doctrine of stare decisis).
Issue: What was the issue to be decided by the court? This is best phrased as a question or questions that the Court answered.
Holding/Reasoning & Rationale: What was the holding (the decision of the court that answered the issue(s)) and what was the court’s rationale or reasoning for the holding? What rules of law were mentioned?
Other Opinions: Were there any dissenting or concurring opinions of note? If so, summarize.
Analysis: Do you agree with the majority opinion or any dissenting or concurring opinion? Why or why not?
Discussion: Why did you select this case? Why do you think the Court chose to hear this particular case that you chose, given the large number of writs of certiorari the Court receives each term? Every year the court has a large number of writs of certiorari received each term. Remember, neither the California nor the U.S. Supreme Court has to hear every case brought before it. Having a case decided by these courts is a privilege, not a right.
Your response should be 1-2 pages, double-spaced, and uploaded in Word or PDF format.
Use headings to designate the applicable areas of the case brief (e.g., (e.g., “Facts,” “Issue,” “Holding,” “Reasoning/Rationale,” “Analysis,” “Discussion”). See how the sample here breaks up some of the sections so a reader can quickly see the section of interest: http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/adminlaw/casebrief.htmlLinks to an external site..
Additionally, here is a video walking you through how to write a case brief (the case brief discussed in this case uses slightly different headings but the same basic principles apply with regard to reading a case with writing a case brief in mind):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Njye-NBtf8Links to an external site.
The video relates to a 9th Circuit opinion available at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/01/19/08-17360.pdfLinks to an external site..
For additional information on case briefing, see http://www.lawnerds.com/guide/briefing.html#WhyBriefaCase?Links to an external site..
Also, for help finding judicial opinions to analyze for the case brief, the following websites provide free access to court decisions:
Google Scholar, http://scholar.google.com/Links to an external site. (choose “case law”, select court(s), and search by citation, case name, or keyword)
Public Library of Law, http://www.plol.org/Pages/Search.aspxLinks to an external site. (free; registration required)
Findlaw, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/Links to an external site.
Justia, http://law.justia.com/cases/Links to an external site.
Leagle, http://www.leagle.com/Links to an external site.
Cornell Legal Information Institute (Cornell University Law School):
Law Library of Congress Guide to Law Online:
Federal cases: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/federal/usjudic.phpLinks to an external site.
State cases: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/states.phpLinks to an external site.
The Supreme Court of the United States places recent decisions, as well as bound volumes of the United States Reports back to volume 502 (October 1991 term), on its website, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspxLinks to an external site..
All written assignments will be evaluated for completeness, accuracy, clarity, compliance with assignment requirements, and integration of course material. You are responsible for maintaining copies of all of their work in case of the need for resubmission.
Late assignments and assignments not in Word or PDF format may not be accepted and may result in a “0.”
example given in materials