The New York Times

By Peter Coy

A dissent can seem cranky. Look, you lost. Don’t waste everyone’s time relitigating the case.

On the other hand, a well-argued dissent can sustain the losing side, creating a foundation of logic and evidence on which to build a comeback. A dissent by Justice John Marshall Harlan in the Supreme Court’s notorious Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” decision in 1896 influenced Thurgood Marshall, who argued for the winning side in the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, which struck down segregated schooling.

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