Tag Archives: Reasoning

What Did the Supreme Court Hold in Heffernan v. City of Paterson?

Reasoned opinions count as much or more than outcomes, partly because “reasoned response to reasoned argument is an essential aspect of [the judicial] process,” and partly because “the opinion has as one if not its major office to show how like cases are properly to be decided in the future.” Scrutiny of the Supreme Court’s reasons is called for not only when the result seems doubtful, but also when the result is intuitively appealing. Weak reasons may in the long run undermine a holding that deserves a better foundation than the Court has built for it, or at least distort and delay the elaboration of doctrine. When the intuition behind the holding deserves broader application than the Court’s reasons can support, an effort to identify more convincing reasons is an especially worthwhile project.

Heffernan v. City of Paterson, illustrates the good result/weak reasons problem.

Read more