In the Court of Appeals, three judges sit together as a panel to decide an appeal. The parties do not know which three judges will sit on the panel until the court sets the case for oral argument, usually about a month prior to the argument.
After the oral argument, the judges discuss the case and vote on a decision. One judge is assigned to write up the decision of the judges and issue a formal opinion resolving the case. Writing up the opinion usually takes three to six months. When the opinion is finished, all three judges sign it.
The clerk notifies the parties of the decision and sends them copies of the opinion.
Occasionally, the judges do not agree on the decision. The judge who disagrees will then write a dissenting opinion explaining the disagreement.