Author:Dennis J. Mahoney

Page 752

A decision is the final determination by a competent tribunal of matters of law and fact submitted to it in a CASE OR CONTROVERSY. The decision is ordinarily in writing and comprises the JUDGMENT or decree in the case. The decision is not itself law, but only evidence of the law; and the value of a case as precedent derives less from the decision than from the reasoning behind the decision. The term "decision" is one of popular usage and not a technical legal term.

The Supreme Court reaches its decisions in CONFERENCE following the ORAL ARGUMENT of a case. A vote is taken after each Justice has had a chance to state his or her views. The decision is announced by means of a memorandum order or as part of a formal opinion.

In casual usage, the decision is often confounded with the OPINION OF THE COURT, a usage sanctioned by certain law dictionaries and a number of court opinions. In precise...

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