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Constitutional Law Keyed to Chemerinsky
Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington
Citation:538 U.S. 216 (2003)
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- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The State of Washington used interest on lawyers’ trust accounts (IOLTA) to pay for legal services provided to needy clients. The program was established by the state supreme court. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that IOLTA funds were the private property of the owner of the principal account in Phillips v. Washington. The Court left open the question of whether the funds could be taken. Brown argued that this was an unconstitutional taking.
The takings clause does not prohibit taking private property; it prohibits taking private property without just compensation. Just compensation is determined by the property owner’s loss.
Here, Brown’s losses were net zero because it was only the interest on the accounts (as opposed to the principal).
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.