Q 2. WHY is it important to know what specific content is different when reading edited judicial opinions rather than the original unedited versions of those same opinions?

Having a proper understanding as to what specific type(s) of materials are included in unedited judicial opinions (as well as how those opinions may actually differ from edited versions of the same opinion) provides much greater insight as you read the opinion in an effort to critically analyze what the court has said. Depending upon the specific purpose of the writer who EDITS the opinion (i.e., to teach students about a particular legal rule or doctrine versus to intentionally indoctrinate students in regard a particular legal philosophy or viewpoint), studying the law by always reading only edited judicial opinions can sometimes create significant misunderstandings (and even erroneous) conclusions about the case at issue. For example, a carefully “edited” judicial opinion can be made to stand for many legal propositions that may be quite different from those which the court actually intended. Therefore, students should never lose sight of this important fact. And, once again, this is WHY law students are trained to engage in CRITICAL LEGAL ANALYSIS!

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