Appellate Practice

supreme court justices

How You Know When Your Supreme Court Argument Is Going Poorly

Here’s one way: a justice asks you whether you have considered “just confessing error in this case.” Another piece of advice: once the number of justices who have told you to drop a particular argument reaches five, you might as…


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TIP: Courts Frown on Lawyer “Gibberish”

As we have seen, one of the more important legal skills is the ability to get other people to understand what the hell you are talking about. See Order Denying Motion for Incomprehensibility, In re King (Bankr. W.D. Tex. Feb. 21, 2006)…


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A New Contender for Worst Legal Brief

In considering whether something could be the "worst legal brief" ever filed, we have to recognize that there are different kinds of badness. Many briefs are filed every year by people who are, evidently, insane. If it is fair to…



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A Farewell to Pants

In the least surprising development of the week, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has affirmed the order dismissing the case of Pants Judge v. District of Columbia, meaning that Roy L. Pearson, Jr., has lost again. This…


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Internet Proves Pigs Can Fly, Judge Says

He was being just a tad sarcastic, but he did say it. On April 6, the California Court of Appeal vacated a lower court's ruling that Steven Martinez should be granted a "compassionate release" from prison because he is a quadriplegic….


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Washington Honking Case Taken Up by State Supreme Court

The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to hear Helen Immelt's claim that the city of Everett violated her First Amendment rights when it convicted her of excessive honking.  As I noted this summer, the state court of appeal ruled against Immelt in…


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Nevada Supreme Court to Pretend to Consider Bail for O.J.

Nevada's highest court (and its only appellate court) will hear oral argument on August 3 as to whether O.J. Simpson should be allowed to go free on bond while he appeals his conviction for that gun-waving memorabilia negotiation he conducted…


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California Supreme Court Appears on Jumbotron

Reasonable people can disagree as to whether cameras should be allowed in the courtroom.  I personally think they should not, because cameras tend to make people do stupid things like wear Star Trek uniforms to court.  But I am willing…


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Supreme Court Debates ‘F-Bomb’

Though no one ever actually dropped it, the "F-Bomb" was the main topic of conversation during Supreme Court arguments Tuesday in FCC v. Fox Television Stations. The case is on appeal from a Second Circuit decision that the FCC acted…