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#20 - Legal rules are expressed in general terms.

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True. The correct answer choice is (E)

The stimulus observes that legal rules involve general classifications and consequences. The stimulus then explains that applying a rule to a case involves deciding whether the case falls into the appropriate categories. The stimulus finalizes the explanation by stating that decisions establish legal effects rather than matters of fact.

The stimulus can be very confusing, because it involves disassociating fact from legal decisions. The best solution in a situation such as this is to reference the question, which asks you what must be true. That means that it is more important that you can match the choices against the stimulus than that you grasp every concept in the stimulus, so you should just go to the choices.

Answer choice (A): Since the stimulus draws a distinction between legal rules and matters of fact, you should not choose a response that concerns a similarity between those. This choice is wrong.

Answer choice (B): Once again, the stimulus draws a distinction rather than a similarity between legal rules and matters of fact, so this choice is wrong. Remember, the stimulus does not offer any rules about “matters of fact.”

Answer choice (C): This attractive choice is nevertheless incorrect. Making a legal decision does involve matters of fact, because it involves judging whether the facts of the case fall in the appropriate categories to invoke a legal rule. The decision itself does not establish fact, but the decision utilizes fact.

Answer choice (D): This choice is wrong, because you should not assume that the rule can decide for itself whether it applies. A judge or some other person must decide, even if the rule provides the relevant instructions.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. When the facts of the case fall into a category, they invoke a rule, but using a rule is equivalent to a legal effect rather than a matter of fact. That means that invoking a rule is not a matter of fact. That does not have to make sense, because a must be true question is about whether the stimulus forces the response, not whether the response makes sense in reality.
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I keep choosing A for this question, but it's more due to a sense of confusion caused by the terminology, I think. I'm not really sure why I always end up with A, despite having tackled this multiple times.

Matter of fact doesn't appear in the entire stimulus except at the end, and I think it throws me off? Not sure. Need a more comprehensive explanation and I'm uncertain how to better explain my own problem - I just don't even know what my problem is! Help! :cry:
Robert Carroll
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Because the question is Must Be True, and the last sentence is claiming there is a difference between establishing the legal effect of what happened and matters of fact, answer choice (A) should be suspicious at the outset. It says what matters of fact are, but we know only a little bit about what they're not, because the stimulus is distinguishing them from something else.

If the issue of whether the facts of a case fall into a relevant category were a matter of fact, then the stimulus would contradict itself by saying that this is not establishing a matter of fact. So it must be true that it's not a matter of fact.

Robert Carroll
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Hi. I am just making sure, from you guys' official answer of why E is correct, " but using a rule is equivalent to a legal effect rather than a matter of fact. That means that invoking a rule is not a matter of fact. "

So two, legal effecgt and matter of a fact are mutually exclusive in this question stem.
Adam Tyson
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I don't know that I would use the term "mutually exclusive", lathlee - it is possible that a legal effect might also be a matter of fact, though I cannot at the moment think of an example. I would instead just say that they are not the same thing as each other. Two things can differ without being mutually exclusive (meaning they cannot overlap at all). Try to avoid coming up with broad, extreme rules - the LSAT will always find a way to frustrate you when you do that!
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