Remember, in the United States, appellate courts are comprised of a panel of at least three judges. Let’s say a panel of three judges must decide whether to affirm or reverse a trial court’s decision. All three of the judges might agree that the trial court’s decision should be reversed. However, the judges might have different reasons why the trial court should be reversed. When a judge decides to write why he agrees with the conclusion that another judge reached but for different or additional reasons, he writes a concurring opinion.
Attorneys in the United States must be careful to distinguish a majority opinion from a concurring opinion.