The chief justice, or the most senior justice in the majority if the chief justice is in the dissent, assigns a justice in the majority to write the opinion of the Court.

Suppose that the selected justice writes the opinion of the court which is joined by a majority of justices. However, another justice in the majority chooses to write a concurring opinion and it is also joined by a majority of justices. As a result, there are 2 opinions and both are joined (agreed to) by a majority of justices.

Would both opinions be considered majority opinions and binding precedents?

1 Answer 1


There is only one majority "opinion of the court", which is the one that is binding. Concurring opinions are not binding, but can be persuasive. However, the opinion of the court can be w.r.t. a section so there can be multiple non-overlapping opinions of the court, see McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. 93. At the tail end of the syllabus, there is statement of who delivered the opinion and who joined in that opinion (also a statement of "exceptions"). Those three opinions define "the law". Then there are concurring opinions, and dissenting opinions, and an opinion which is not "the opinion of the court" can concur in part and dissent in part.

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