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Constitutional Law Keyed to Varat
Morrison v. Olson
Citation:487 U.S. 654, 108 S.Ct. 2597, 101 L.Ed.2d 569 (1988).
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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:
In response to Watergate, Congress enacted the Ethics in Government Act. The Act allowed for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate high ranking government officials. If the Attorney General suspected a high ranking government official of violating a federal criminal law, the Act required him to investigate. If he determined that further investigation or a potential prosecution was warranted, he would report to the court created by the Act (the Special Division) for the court to appoint independent counsel. The Act authorized the independent counsel to “exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions and powers of the Department of Justice [and] the Attorney General. . . .” The Act provided for congressional oversight, requiring the independent counsel to intermittently report his activities to Congress. The independent counsel was to be removed only by the Attorney General and “only for good cause.” Otherwise, the independent counsel’s tenure was to last until his investigation was complete. If the Special Division concluded that the investigation was complete, they too could terminate the office.
Olson, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, had given false and misleading testimony before Congress. Pursuant to the Act, the Attorney General initiated an investigation which led to the Special Division’s appointment of Morrison as independent counsel. Olson alleged that the appointment of independent counsel violated the Constitution.
- 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.