BRIEFING COURT CASES
Citation of the Case
This is the case address. That is, where the case can be found.
Provide a full citation to the case you are briefing, e.g., the volume number of the reporter, the abbreviation of the reporter, the page on which the case begins and the date. NOTE: If it is a brand new case, it will not have been published in a book yet, so there will only be a short Docket or Court number on it.
Provide a brief factual summary of the case. Include only material and key facts. State the facts that were very important or key to the holding and reasoning reached by the court.
State what questions of law are presented to the court. Provide a comprehensive statement of each issue by making specific reference to the language of the rule in controversy along with important facts that raise the controversy. (Presented in the form of a question.)
Answer the issue statements. If the issue statements are comprehensively stated, this should be a simple yes or no response.
Describe the reasoning of the court. Why did it decide and hold the way that it did? This section would include all concurring and dissenting opinions.
What was the order of the court, i.e. affirmed, reversed, remanded? What was the procedural outcome?
Sample Case Brief
Brown v. Board of Education
347 U.S. 483 (1954)
Facts: This case is the consolidation of four cases arising from allegations that children were denied the right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In each case, colored minor children were denied admission to public schools that were attended by only white children under state statutes permitting the segregation. Trial courts denied the admission based upon the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson.
Issue: Whether or not segregation of minor children in the public school system where facilities and other tangible factors are equal pursuant to state laws violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Holding: Yes. Segregation of minor children in public education despite equal facilities denies the children equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Reasoning: The court focused on the education system and recognized that it is the Amost important function of the state. In criticizing Plessy v. Ferguson, the court stated that Aseparate but equal has no place in the educational system. Segregation has detrimental effects and generates the feelings of inferiority. The court considered the intangible effects on school children rather than the physical and tangible facilities the colored children would be attending pursuant to state segregation laws and concluded that such segregation and effect denies the colored school children equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Disposition: Reversed and remanded for further oral arguments regarding other issues and discussion in formulating the judgment/decree.