Plurality Opinion

views updated


In some cases the majority of Justices of the Supreme Court, although agreeing on the decision, do not agree on the reasoning behind the decision. In such cases, there is no opinion of the court; instead there are two or more opinions purporting to explain the decision. If one opinion is signed by more Justices than any other, it is called the "plurality opinion." A plurality opinion may be cited as precedent in later cases, but, unlike a majority opinion, it is not an authoritative statement of the Court's position on the legal or constitutional issues involved.

Dennis J. Mahoney