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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.
Citation:418 U.S. 323 (1974)
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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.
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- 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:
A policeman in Chicago named Nuccio was prosecuted and convicted for shooting and killing a young person named Nelson. Nelson’s family hired Petitioner Elmer Gertz, an attorney, to represent them in a civil lawsuit against the policeman. The Respondent, a right wing publication called American Opinion, published an article claiming that testimony against Nuccio at his criminal trial was false and his prosecution was part of a pro-Communist campaign against the police. The article stated that Petitioner (Attorney) Gertz was sympathetic to the Communist party, and claimed that the National Lawyer Guild, which Gertz had been a member of, probably had a part in planning a “Communist attack on the Chicago police during the 1968 Democratic Convention.” The Court concluded that these statements were false.
- 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.