Appellate Advocacy Blog

Unpopular opinion–Lawyers should not use (cleaned up) citations in their briefs.

Two years ago Charles Oldfield blogged on this very blog about (cleaned up) citations. As Charlie explained it, in legal writing we often “alter or omit inconsequential parts of the quotation to make the quotation more readable.”  All of those alterations and omissions can make a quote difficult to read between the ellipses, the [sic], and the brackets.  The solution, as proposed by Jack Metzler of @SCOTUSPlaces, is to omit these changes and use a parenthetical (cleaned up) to signal to our readers that we have not indicated those
Continue Reading (Clean[] up) your house, your life … not your citations

Thursday’s Rhaw Bar: A Little Bite of All Things Rhetoric and Law—exploring ideas, theories, strategies, techniques, and critiques at the intersection of rhetoric and legal communication. Just yesterday, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued…
Continue Reading Communicating with Clients, Cultural Competency, and Rhetorical Listening

This week, the Supreme Court will return to a crowded docket filled with high-profile cases on abortion rightsreligious school instruction, and criminal procedure. The Court will also be returning to in-person arguments sure to generate high drama for court watchers. But with the new term starting, it may have gone unnoticed that public opinion about the Court has fallen precipitously over the past year.
    A Gallup poll released last week showed that American’s opinions of the Court have dropped to an all-time low of only 40 percent approving of its job performance, with another study by
Continue Reading If the public’s opinion of the Supreme Court falls in the woods, does anyone hear it?

The United States Supreme Court is struggling to maintain its institutional legitimacy. A recent poll showed that only 40% of Americans approved of the Court.[1] Three factors arguably explain the reasons underlying the public’s negative perception of the Court. 1….
Continue Reading A Six-Vote Supermajority Requirement is the Solution to De-Politicizing the United States Supreme Court

In the late 1980s, I was invited to participate in a project designed to help the Supreme Court of India address a backlog of cases that stretched back a decade. One obvious problem, it seemed to me, was that oral argument for a single case could span days or, in important matters, more than a week, as argument seemed to give rise to lengthy flights of oratory. On my second day in New Delhi, I met with members of their Supreme Court bar. Soon after the meeting began, one practitioner sought to confirm that the U.S. Supreme Court limited oral
Continue Reading New Supreme Court procedures likely to change argument dynamics