Administrative Law:Case Briefing

Order instructions

Jones v. Smith (2009)
● Facts:

This is essentially two to three sentences about the case. Do not attempt to rewrite the entire history of the case, we all read it and know the background. The facts are simply to provide
some quick context for the issue and refresh our memories. Remember that this is a 1pg assignment, so if you write more than a few sentences it will be challenging to stay within a one page limit.
● Issue:

Whether the president can influence the EPA’s decision to selectively regulate. [The issue is the most challenging section of the assignment. If you go to the internet and try to find the issue of the case you will be misled with the legal aspects of the case and miss what is at the heart of the case. Every court case typically has several issues that are being resolved, but in our case briefs we want to focus on the one issue that is pertinent to the chapter. For example, the legal briefs will have issue summaries such as: The plaintiff sought to reverse the Environmental
Protection Agencies policy to enforce HR 1234, which limited the ability of the plaintiff’s company to exercise, blah, blah, blah. For our case briefs, the issue will be short and to the point.]
● Decision: 54
in favor of … Justices names if available. [The decision of the case is also a simple statement. Leave the rational for the next point, but for the decisions, simply state who the court decided with and count. In other words: In a unanimous 90
decision, the court found in favor the plaintiff. Not all decisions are this simple; some may be a 54 decision to revert to the circuit
(lower) court for further review. In this case, there is still a winner/loser. You may also note the names of the majority justices for your own reference, but it is not required for the case brief.]
● Reasoning:

The reasoning of why the “majority” justices decided the way they did, is not always easy. But here is where you have to take the overall context of the issue and the facts of the case
and identify the reasoning. Typically the justices in their majority opinion will outline their reasoning, but sometimes as you will note from reading their decisions – they go the long and weird path to get to their conclusion – making it difficult to understand their rationale.
● Dissenting:

If the decision was split, 54,
63, etc. then you want to include a sentence or two of
the rational for the dissenting opinion. In Unanimous decisions you can ignore this bullet point.
● Analysis: Finally, you are required to provide a concluding analysis. You already included the reasoning and facts so do not repeat that here. What you want to provide is Your Opinion. Did
you agree with majority? Did you agree with dissenting? Why? It is OK to agree with the dissenting opinion. Remember that even if you disagree with the majority, you are still in agreement with Supreme Court justices which dissented.


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