APA style essay regarding the Supreme Court Landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) – Firearms in the home for self defense3-5 pages with a cover page and site/resource pageModel Case Brie

APA style essay regarding the Supreme Court Landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) – Firearms in the home for self defense

3-5 pages with a cover page and site/resource page

Model Case Brief Template and Sample:


Name of the case,

(and year of the decision).



are the parties to the lawsuit, 


is their dispute, and 


did they get to the Supreme 


In your own words

, only include the few 


facts necessary to understand the case; e.g. the 

time of day a defendant was arrested is usually 


important, etc.


:  What is the basic legal 


regarding what specific provision of law that is to be decided in the 



What is the majority’s basic 


to the basic legal question in the case. Also include the vote 

count: majority/plurality—concurrence(s)—dissent(s)

***Majority Opinion Reasoning:

 What is the majority’s 

explanation why

it reached its holding?  You 

will want to create a summarized, condensed, paraphrased outline of the court’s reasoning.  The reasoning 

simply consists of two things: the RULE and the APPLICATION (of the rule to the facts of the case):




rule of law is announced in the case?  A court first must announce a specific 

controlling principle of law (e.g. the court’s interpretation of a constitutional provision, NOT the 

constitutional provision itself!) that applies to the issue in the case.  This is also the abstract, general legal 

principle that will be applied to all future cases involving this issue, using this case as a precedent, and it is 

important to understand under what factual circumstances the rule applies.  Often the court will usually 

explain why the rule is being created or applied, such as the origin of the rule, or the policy behind the rule 

existing, and also will often explain why any alternative rules proposed by the parties or the dissenting 

justices are being rejected.  Here the court usually looks at the words of a constitutional or statutory 

provision, the original intent behind that law, and public policy arguments. These are not the rule itself, but 

the explanation of, or justification for, the rule

.  You must quote precisely the actual rule itself

(but not the 

explanation for the rule) that the court finally adopts and decides to apply; the actual wording of the rule 

itself is known as the “black letter law.”  The rule itself 


be quoted because 


word matters: there is 


difference between “a” and “the” or between “may” and “must” etc. But the justification for the rule 

should be primarily in 

your own words





does the rule of law specifically apply given the specific facts of the case at 

issue?  In other words, given the rule of law that should apply, which party wins according to that rule 

given the facts of the case being heard? The reasoning of the court here should consider the facts of the case, 

and might analogize or distinguish the facts of the current case to the facts of earlier similar or related 

cases.  You should explain all this 

in your own words

, quoting only an occasional word or phrase.

Concurring Opinion(s) Reasoning

: What is the reasoning of each separate concurrence (justices who 

agreed with the majority’s holding but disagreed with the majority’s reasoning)?  How do they differ in 

their proposed rule or application (or both)?

Dissenting Opinion(s) Reasoning:

What is the reasoning of each separate dissent (justices who disagreed 

with both the majority’s holding and its reasoning)? How do they differ in their proposed rule or application 

(or both)?