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From left, standing: Judges Michael Garcia, Eugene Fahey, Rowan Wilson and Paul Feinman. Sitting: Judge Jenny Garcia, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Judge Leslie Stein.

The bursts of discussion in the N Y Law Journal recently about the value of dissenting opinions and any appellate jurist’s right or passion to issue them seems to miss an essential consideration – institutional purpose. Their common theme and tenor concentrate on and elevate the tail to the greater importance of the dog. By that metaphor, I mean that the focus is skewed away from the tribunal’s majority ruling itself and the objective to chart and settle the law through a guiding precedent of the court, not through diffusion of multiple individual voices. None of the recent expressions pay sufficient heed and respect to that key contextual foundation stone, to wit, the raison d’etre of the particular appellate tribunal.

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