Legal Reasoning: Prochnow v. Prochnow
(25 points, 5% of course grade)
The first chapter of Carter & Burke, Reason in Law introduces a specific definition of “legal reasoning” and concludes with excerpts from a 1957 decision by the state supreme court of Wisconsin, Prochnow v. Prochnow. Please answer each of the following items about that decision (either using an essay format or providing five separate responses). The exercise is due in class on Thursday, January 26th. Unexcused late work will be penalized two points per day.
1. Briefly describe the state supreme court's decision in this case.
2. This was an appeal of a trial court decision. Did the Wisconsin Supreme Court uphold or overturn the trial court?
3. List and briefly discuss the elements of legal reasoning in the majority and the dissenting opinions.
4. Why was the law ambiguous in this case?
5. In your view, did the majority or the minority do a better job of legal reasoning? Why?
PSCI 3334 (Judicial Process)
Dr. Hult, Spring 2006
As will be emphasized throughout the semester, the convention is to underscore, italicize, boldface, capitalize, or otherwise distinguish the titles of court decisions. Please develop this habit if you haven’t already done so.