Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 1
"Not a good definition for number two. Dicta *can* arise in the case, and be *very* relevant - but not essential to the disposition of the case. This disqualifies both the case and the statement as precedent on that point.


Good point, and I agree, but it still might be "persuasive authority." Years ago, back in the '40's and '50's, Wyoming had a Supreme Court Justice by the name of Blume, who was convinced that the State needed a "body of law" and that too few cases had been presented to the Court for the purpose. He took on the task of providing the Bar with such a "body of law" by starting almost every opinion with a history (sometimes quite extensive) of whatever area of law might have been presented in the case before the Court, all dictum, of course. It's my understanding that, at one time, he was the most quoted State Supreme Court Justice in the various law student case books since his opinions were always such a nice introduction to the particular legal issues. Notwithstanding the "dictum" nature of his discourses, his opinions were oft cited (and still are, locally) for their general propositions, if not for their precedential value. As an aside, several years ago, I once remarked on this to one of our then sitting Supreme Court Justices during a conversation while we were having "toddy" at a State Bar Convention. I was decrying my inability to find a Wyoming case that stated simply "a contract requires an offer, an acceptance and consideration," for citation purposes and the necessity to fall back on the hornbooks and a citation chain in order to establish the point. So, a few months later, I was reading a new Wyoming Supreme Court opinion written by my drinking companion and what should appear but something like the following: "As we all know, an enforcable contract requires an offer, acceptance and consideration." Thank you, Mr. Justice; pure gratuitous dictum, and I've been citing it ever since.

Cheers for now,

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.