Robin Vander Wall
What appears on pages 87, 100, and 101 (and throughout most opinions of every court) are what we call “dicta.” It’s part of the analysis of the case as the law is interpreted in view of the facts. Dicta is not holding. And while it’s very important to understand how the Court arrived at its holding, the dicta that is expressed along the way is NOT legally binding. As you read these pages, you see the majority is obviously parsing out how the then Alaska registration scheme didn’t require a registered person to do this or that, and therefore, in its conclusion of the matter (the holding), the Court finds that the essential requirements are not onerous or burdensome….and consequently not unconstitutional. You are RIGHT to see these important tidbits of understanding as incredibly useful in presuming how the Court might regard a registration scheme that DID require all the onerous and burdensome things it did not find in the Alaska registration requirements. So, it’s certainly probative language. But it IS NOT binding language. Only the holding of the Court is law. Not the words that were used to arrive at it. I hope this is helpful.