plurality


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Plurality

The opinion of an appellate court in which more justices join than in any concurring opinion.

The excess of votes cast for one candidate over those votes cast for any other candidate.

Appellate panels are made up of three or more justices. In some cases the justices disagree over the outcome of the case to such an extent that a majority opinion cannot be achieved. (A majority opinion is one in which the number of justices who join is larger than the number of justices who do not.) To resolve such disagreements and reach a final decision, two or more justices publish opinions called concurring opinions, and the other justices decide which of these concurring opinions they will join. The concurring opinion in which more justices join than any other is called a plurality opinion. Plurality decisions can reflect a disagreement among the justices over a legal issue in a case or can reveal deeper ideological differences among the members of the court.

The term plurality is also used to describe the outcome of an election that involves more than two candidates. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes is said to have received a plurality of the votes. In contrast, the term majority is used to describe the outcome of an election involving only two candidates; the winner is said to have received a majority of the votes.

A candidate who has a plurality of the votes can also have a majority of the votes, but only if she receives a number of votes greater than that cast for all the other candidates combined. Mathematically, a candidate with a plurality has a majority if she receives more than one-half of the total number of votes cast. If candidate John Doe has a plurality, he has earned more votes than any other candidate, but whether he has a majority depends on how many votes he won.

Cross-references

Court Opinion.

plurality

noun advantage in votes cast, bulk, great number, host, large amount, large number, large quantity, lead, main part, majority, multitude, multitudo, preponderancy, shoal, superiority in number, weight of numbers
Associated concepts: majority, quorum
See also: majority, mass, multiplicity, preponderance

PLURALITY, government. The greater number of votes given at an election; it is distinguished from a majority, (q.v.) which is a plurality of all the votes which might have been given; though in common parlance majority is used in the sense here given to plurality.

References in periodicals archive ?
For example, a slight majority of Americans are confident Arab Americans could carry out their responsibilities as government employees without their ethnicity influencing their decision-making, but a plurality of Republicans disagrees.
The Case for the Shared Agreement Approach to Plurality Precedent
That this happens even when a candidate gets few votes demonstrates just how vulnerable plurality voting is to the vote-splitting effect.
rationale behind the plurality and concurring opinions.
Gladman notes that the amount of disclosure that companies provide about director elections is higher at companies with plurality plus resignation or majority vote standards.
I think it's good for our democracy to have plurality in the market.
The elimination of a staggered board, in combination with the change from plurality voting to majority voting, creates an important new dynamic in shareholder elections.
Our postmodern and fragmented world lays bare the question of how religious discourse and practice are to be pursued in the context of religious plurality.
In the wake of findings from media regulator Ofcom, Mr Hunt said the proposed takeover might be against the public interest in media plurality, and he was minded to refer it to the Competition Commission.
In the wake of findings from media regulator Ofcom, Hunt said the proposed takeover might be against the public interest in media plurality and he was minded to refer it to the Competition Commission.
The effects on media plurality are a matter for the UK authorities,' explained the commissioner.