Recently I was looking at a case in the Federal courts that was appealed, then reversed and remanded back to the District trial court that first heard the case.

I'm interested in a passage from the original (1998) opinion that appears to interpret a statute:

However, "visitor enjoyment" as used in the statute refers to visitor enjoyment of park scenery, wildlife, and natural and historic objects that are to be preserved. As used in this sense, visitor enjoyment does not refer to visitor enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities.

In the original opinion would this passage be considered legal holding? If so, did it survive the process of being remanded?


I'm taking this question to mean that you are asking: When a case is remanded back to a trial court for, say, a new trial, when a new holding is decided, does every holding from the original decision go away?

Whether the passage would be legal holding would depend on other things, such as what the rest of the case is about and whether or not comments about the visitor enjoyment and other sightseeing being disrupted was outside of the scope of the issues before the court.

Finally, it would depend what type of remand was issued. A full remand means a new trial. That eliminates the trial court's entire decision. If a remand comes "with instructions" to, for example, apply the correct legal standard to a decision (after presumably applying an incorrect one at trial), parts of the original decision may remain intact. Also, appeals courts can affirm a conviction but direct the district court to go through the sentencing process again... usually in cases where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines have been significantly deviated from.

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