Obiter dicta and dissenting opinions


QUESTION #1: What are the binding effects of an obiter dictum and a dissenting opinion?
QUESTION #2: How can a decision of the Supreme Court be set aside?

ANSWER #1: Obiter dicta and dissenting opinions do not have any binding effect. They are not necessary in the resolution or determination of a case. Obiter dicta are merely side comments which do not resolve the actual issues presented in a particular case. On the other hand, dissenting opinions are merely persuasive because the majority opinion controls.

ANSWER #2: Supreme Court decisions may be set aside either by (1) a subsequent decision expressly or implicitly abandoning a previous decision; (2) a legislative act that makes the Court's interpretation legally inapplicable; or (3) a constitutional amendment or revision that makes the Court's interpretation of the constitutional inapplicable.

As to (1), the Constitution provides in Article VII: "No doctrine or principle of law laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc."

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