What is a “majority opinion”? What is a “plurality opinion”? What is a “dissenting opinion”?

What is a “majority opinion”? What is a “plurality opinion”? What is a “dissenting opinion”?

When an appellate decision is not unanimous, but a majority of the justices agree with one written opinion, that opinion is the “majority opinion.” When an appellate decision is not unanimous and a majority of the justices does not agree with one written opinion, but one written opinion does have more justices in agreement than any other written opinion, that opinion is the “plurality opinion.” If a written opinion has less judges in agreement than a majority opinion or a plurality opinion but reaches the same outcome as the majority or plurality opinion, that is a “concurring opinion” (also known as a “concurrence”). If a written opinion has less judges in agreement than a majority opinion or a plurality opinion and reaches a different outcome from that of the majority or plurality opinion, that is a “dissenting opinion” (also known as a “dissent”).

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