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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Morrison v. Olson
Citation:487 U.S. 654 (1988)
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- 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:
After the Watergate scandal, Congress passed a law (the Ethics in Government Act) which allowed a panel of three federal judges (a “special division”) to appoint an Independent Counsel to investigate the crimes of high-ranking officials in the U.S. government (after the U.S. Attorney General decided there were grounds for a further investigation). The Independent Counsel could investigate and decide whether to prosecute certain officials. Additionally, the independent counsel could be fired by the Attorney General for good cause, physical disability, or mental incapacity.
This case resulted when subcommittees of the House of Representatives subpoenaed documents held by the Environmental Protection Agency, an Executive branch agency. The President at the time, Ronald Regan, asserted executive privilege and directed the EPA not to turn over the documents. The House of Representatives cited the director of the EPA for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over the documents. Subsequently, members of the House of Representatives launched an investigation into the controversy and issued a report which questioned the truthfulness of testimony on the matter given by Appellee Ted Olson, the Assistant Attorney General for White House Office of Legal Counsel. The House of Representatives requested that the Attorney General appoint an independent counsel to investigate Appellee Olson.
- 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.